ERIC Number: ED444778
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May-25
Reference Count: N/A
Holding a Mirror to "Eyes Wide Shut": The Role of Native Cultures and Languages in the Education of American Indian Students.
This paper discusses the role that culture and language can play in American Indian education, as well as some challenges of incorporating culture in education. The movement toward incorporation of language and culture in school curricula emerges out of a tattered educational history. This history shows how the use of Native languages and cultures in school has fallen on a continuum from English-only instruction to language and culture used only to achieve an ultimate goal of assimilation. Since the federal government funds most reform efforts in Indian education, it also determines the purpose and judges the success of such efforts. In contrast to assimilationist models of education, a bicultural education model expects that both the community and school will decide the purpose of education. In moving toward authentic incorporation of Native languages and cultures through a bicultural model, Indian educators must address challenges involving the diversity of understandings of language and culture, the diversity of understandings of culturally appropriate education, and the diversity of experience and tribal affiliation. The first step in overcoming unequal positioning of Native languages and cultures is to identify the power structures determining the purpose of education. Native efforts to reform education require guidance from educational research that seeks to preserve Native languages and cultures and to create opportunities where Native people can succeed in education. A research agenda should consider theoretical models, historical research on Indian education, practical studies on classroom teaching and learning, and related research on other minority groups. (Contains 29 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A