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ERIC Number: ED476011
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Feb
Pages: 29
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Our "First Education."
Meyer, Jon'a F.; Bogdan, Gloria
Native American education did not begin with European-style schools; it began at home with traditional storytelling. Traditional stories aimed to share wisdom, not to force it. Children can only understand certain things when they are mature enough to do so. Each time a story was told, the listener could learn new morals and life instructions. Because they were always being educated, Native people were true lifetime learners. American Indian elders play an important role in a child's education because of their life's wisdom. Native American storytellers hold an important position because of their oratorical skills and their ability to convey cultural knowledge in a way that can be easily assimilated and remembered. Storytelling is remarkably effective. Unlike some contemporary classroom education, storytelling engages youngsters so much that they look forward to hearing and learning their lessons. Stories contained many lessons about tribal culture--they taught important taboos and social mores and taught listeners how proper people acted under circumstances both adverse and advantageous. Important social rules, life lessons, ceremonial knowledge, and historical events are included in stories. Stories have powerful potential as social control for children. They were used to reinforce and explain positive behavior and to punish negative behavior. Traditional stories are an important source of tribal common law and are used and cited in Navajo courts. (Contains 32 references) (TD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A