The title of this blog is learning new worldviews. My worldview is both a product of my life experiences and education; and the interaction of past and present experiences and education. I am not sure that I can purposely set out to learn a new worldview, but I can set out to be open to learning and seeing things in a new way. I can purposely choose to think about the views I hold and why I hold them or should change them. This conference is a part of a journey to learn to think about how I think about teaching and education in American Indian Country. The National Indian Education Association summit has been an experience that has exposed me to new ways of thinking and seeing what I previously thought I knew. Presented as I remember them are some examples from the conference:
Indian Country has many different dimensions to both culture and language. This is was compared by Dr. Verlie Ann Maline-Wright to the many names for snow that Alaska indigenous people use or the many names for wind or rain that the indigenous peoples of Hawaii use.
Congressman Patrick Kennedy noted the vitality of the Native American Indian culture.
Many may view Indian culture from a historic perspective but it is alive now has a history but is not something that happened only in the past.
Students should not have to choose between their culture and education. Education should include learning about and immersion in native culture and language. This creates a positive learning environment and increases success.
Indian students often move between schools, sometimes from a BIA or tribal school to a public school. Each school has distinct funding streams and ways of accessing funding. In this situation, counting students and their achievement can be challenging.
Congresswoman Heather Wilson stated that, ‚ÄúThe link between language and culture is undeniable.‚Ä?
Congressman Dale Kildee read from the United States Constitution Article One where it refers to Indian tribes on an equal level with foreign Nations. Indian tribes have three citizenships, United States, their home state and their tribe. Congressman Kildee when he was in the Michigan state legislature introduced a bill that is law today providing Michigan tribal members access to higher education at no cost. The Congressman believes that this is part of the treaty obligation that the United States entered into with the tribes.
Both Congressman Kildee and Congressman Dan Born of Oklahoma caused me to think about the meaning of a sovereign nation.
Senator Akaka from Hawaii explained the meaning of Aloha as a binding together of what is separated in a spirit of love. He also talked of a paper he wrote as part of his thesis work in education about prescriptive education, where each student would receive a prescription for education. He also noted that not all knowledge is gained from one source.
Dr. Verlie Ann Malina-Wright, Native Hawaiian and the President of the NIEA closed with a story and thought, ‚ÄúLearning is the interaction of the brain and heart.‚Ä?