ERIC Number: ED459026
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Early Childhood Education as a Contact Zone--Emergent Indigenous Leadership in Australia and Canada.
Power, Kerith; Roberts, Dianne
Contact zones are social spaces where different cultures meet, often in highly asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination. The field of early childhood education is one such contact zone. This paper discusses how one Aboriginal principal of an Aboriginal preschool and primary school in Australia, has to deal with various constructions from the dominant culture concerning children, families, and the care-giving and educational roles of women, as well as the power relations of racial politics. This principal walks in and out of the mainstream in ways that give the school principal the maximum power. One option is to avoid the common Aboriginal attitude of "They're up there and we're down here," and concentrate on what skills are needed to function. For example, the principal can code-switch between standard English and Aboriginal English depending on the environment he or she is in. This strategy goes beyond language to a concept known as double vision, where an individual takes from the dominant culture things that open doors, yet still feels comfortable with oneself. Parallel situations were observed in the Wahkowotin (Good Relations) Schools cluster in Alberta, where Canada Natives were given the opportunity to design a school. Nevertheless, although a Cree language and culture associate teacher was present in each classroom with the certified teacher, there was not one Canadian Aboriginal person were not in charge. The paper concludes that the power imbalance of colonial times continues today, but some Indigenous leaders manage to exert positive power. (Contains 13 references.) (TD)
Descriptors: Aboriginal Australians, Biculturalism, Canada Natives, Colonialism, Culturally Relevant Education, Culture Conflict, Early Childhood Education, Foreign Countries, Indigenous Personnel
For full text: http://www.aare.edu.au/00pap/pow00484.htm.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A