Is the Native American Learning Bundle?
the Indigenous world a "bundle" is made by the bringing
together of spiritual and material objects, elements, allies and
energies that will be needed to sustain the spiritual life and secular
outcomes of a ceremony or gathering that is being undertaken.
is known about Native American learning. It is a mystery and a frontier
that has had tragic consequences. In the 500+ year history of the
United States, Native Americans have never been allowed to learn
within their own languages, cultural traditions and protocols. The
western educational system was imposed initially through residential
schools in the first of successive
attempts to force cultural assimilation. Since that time Native
students confined to learn in a Eurocentric system, which does not
reflect their learning processes or worldview, have produced very
poor success rates.
experience can be described as "looking into a mirror and having
the mirror look away." Through all the attempts of residential
schools, public schools, and tribal schools, few attempts have been
made to understand Native American learning. While some work has
been done in learning styles since the 1970s, this has not significantly
increased the success of Native American students. They still speak
of being "split headed", meaning having to learn and integrate
two distinct worlds. (G. Cajete)
has always been integral to humanity's quest to understand reality
and generate a better life. At the leading edges of the humanly
knowable are diverse ways of knowing, weighing, measuring and numbering.
Native American learning is one form of understanding the natural
world and the artificial paradigms and context of conventional knowledge.
American languages and knowledge contain a vast body of wisdom and
intimate understandings of interdependence and interrelationships.
In the past, educational systems have ignored Native American knowledge
and learning. Anthropology and linguistics have attempted to comprehend
this knowledge, but only through the framework of English and European
knowledge systems rather than from Native American knowledge systems.
This lens has contaminated and distorted Native American ways of
knowing and learning. Over the last decade university and secondary
educational institutions have begun to recognize and value this
inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge within the educational and scientific
communities is a fragile and momentous event. Many new collaborations
are required, and there is great potential benefit in such collaborations.
But for such possibilities to be realized, mainstream perspectives
must open themselves to Native knowledge its study and learning
processes, just as Native cultures have opened themselves to the
study and benefits of mainstream strategies.
aim of the Native American Academy is to empower a collaborative
effort linking Native and non-Native scientists, scholars, educators
and traditional knowledge holders in communities and at institutions
across the continent to investigate Native American ways of learning
and knowing.The role of partnering institutions in the development of a Native American Learning Lodge can nurture the emerging network of native and non-native scholars
and transfer or apply the research results from the Center towards
further enhancing teaching and learning at all levels and in many