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Best Practices For Working With Native American Students Anna EagleBear Idella King Spokane Public Schools Indian Education What is Historical Trauma? Historical trauma is cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma. Historical unresolved grief is the grief that accompanies the trauma. The historical trauma response is a constellation of features in reaction to massive group trauma. This response is observed among Lakota and other Native populations, Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants, Japanese American internment camp survivors and descendants. (Brave Heart, 1998, 1999, 2000) Education: The Past “Kill the Indian, and Save the Child”: Capt. Richard C. Pratt 1892 Boarding School University of Washington Photo Children are Torn in Half Boarding School Traditional Education Education •Formal –Sacred •All Education Formal Knowledge •Age-based •Informal – Life skills •Economic-$$ Material •Ability & Strength-based Accumulation •Economic-Seasonal- •Self Survival-Individualistic Survival •Told •Incentive Based •Fear-based: Failure •Multi-Generational •Farming- One Place •Allowed to Succeed & Fail •Adult to Child •Travel with the seasons •Not Allowed to Fail: •Non-Verbal – Shame Listen/Observe •Auditory-Verbal-Abstract •Visual – Oral - Stories/Legends University of Washington Photo Educational Paradigms: Values in Conflict Indigenous Educational Goals Current Educational Goals • Self-knowledge • A global workforce that is more • Seeking life through the process of competitive in an international global living market • Sensitivity to the natural environment • Knowledge of one’s individual role and • “…to provide students with the role within the community opportunity to become responsible • Learn to be a “good relative” citizens, to contribute to their own economic well-being and to that of their families and communities, and to enjoy productive and satisfying lives.” Goal of Washington State Basic Education • Good grades = good jobs = good things • The bridge between both goals may be to encourage culturally relevant social John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Down emotional support. Language Acquisition • Destroy Native Tongue • Learning of a new language presented with limitations • Coded Messages-Language within a language • Code Switching • Modern Literacy struggles Internalized Cultural Oppression Cultural self-hate can be defined as the feeling that, “No matter what I do, I cannot change the reality that who I am in the core of my being is unacceptable in my world.” This feeling of intense shame and unworthiness is carried by thousands of indigenous populations in our world. The effects of oppression on communities is expressed through apathy, learned helplessness, depression, substance abuse, repetitive trauma, despise of own culture, and lateral violence. Four Generations • Traditionalists: Those born before 1940 • Bi-Cultural Boomers: Those born between the years of 1940- 1960. • Transitional Generation: Those born between the years of 1960-1980. • Millennial: Those born between the years of 1980-2009. Some belong distinctly to one generation, some on the cusp, and some to more than two generations. There is a notion that the healing process is different for each generation. One generation might inadvertently impose their view and process of healing on the other generations. Theda New Breast, M.P.H. “Four Generations Healing, Four Generations of Solutions” Traditionalists Bi-Cultural Boomers • Did not grow up eating • Bridge between Native and sugar, white bread or Non-Native cultures potatoes • Built resiliency in both • Normal rites of passage cultures • Spoke the language • Different foods were • Braided hair, clans, socieites consumed in gov. rations. still intact • First to experience • Government policies, Urban/City living organized religion, boarding • Witnessed the era of schools, residential schools alcoholism out of control to (shame began) sobriety movement • Seasons were based on • Identity Crisis hunting and gathering • Vietnam • American Indian Movement Transitional Generation Millennials • First G not speaking the language • Drink water from a bottle • First G to “go to treatment” • Enjoy Fast Food and • Education became very important Microwave cooking • Tribal Colleges and Scholarships • TV time is important more accessible • Computer is important • Seasons became based on Pow- • Electronic Games Wow circuit & sports • Recognition of traditional • Sense of Pride being Indian & ways. “Wannabees” • Begins to ask more of “what • They need a book or movie to was” visualize “ceremony” • Indian names are requested • Gangs • Rarely looks at the stars. • Cell phones There are some characteristics that many tribal groups seem to share. These characteristics include: • a disdain for being stared at; • a “soft” handshake; • an avoidance of direct (stare) eye contact; • a quiet reserved expression of feelings; • non-assertiveness; • and a soft manner of speaking However, Herring (1985) cautioned that, as there are so many tribes in the United States, any generalizations that we make regarding American Indian non-verbal communication have to be accepted with qualification. Elizabeth A. Wynia “Teach the Way the Student Learns….” Traditional Practices continue today… Holistic Processing The Native learner tends to process from whole to parts, holistically. • They learn best by starting with the answer. • They see the big picture first, not the details. • Native students may have difficulty following a lecture unless they are given the big picture first. • If an instructor doesn't consistently give an overview before he or she begins a lecture, the student may need to ask at the end of class what the next lecture will be and how s/he can prepare for it. • Native learners may also have trouble outlining (they’ve probably written many papers first then outlined). • Native learners need to know why they are doing something. Non-Verbal Processing • Most non –Native students have little trouble expressing themselves in words. • Native students need to back up everything visually. If it's not written down, they probably won't remember it. And it would be even better for Native students to illustrate it. • The habit of making a mental video of things as they hear or read them is helpful. • Native students need to know that it may take them longer to write a paper and the paper may need more revision before it says what they want it to say. This means allowing extra time when a writing assignment is due. European American Values Native American Values Acquire, save possessions, bring status, Wealth and Share. Honor in giving. Suspicious of those with too security sought after. much. Compete. Excel. Be the best. Cooperate. Help each other. Work together. Assertive, do-er. Dominate Passive. Let others dominate. Time is extremely important. Get things done. Watch Time is here. Be patient. Enjoy life. the clock, schedules, priorities. Prepare. Live for future. Enjoy today; it is all we have. Live now. Keep busy. Idleness is undesirable. Produce to acquire Enjoy leisure. Depend on nature and use what is and build reserves. available. Give instant answers. Allow time for thought. Emphasis on youth. Respect for wisdom of elderly. Work is virtue. Work for survival. Light humor. Jokes. Deep sense of humor. See humor in life. Few strong ties beyond the single family unit. Close ties to entire extended family including many relatives. Analyze and control nature. Live in harmony with nature. Group Activity Get into groups of five Everyone participates Read the slide “What would you do?” As a group come up with an detailed Action Plan to resolve the situation Be prepared to share out your groups Action Plan What would you do? Danny is new to Big City High School. He is sent to the counselor’s office because of his tendency to be tardy to first period and his lack of being prepared for math. The teacher reports that he does not bring a required calculator, note book, or something to write with. Danny sits quietly and listens to the Counselor and only responds when asked questions. After a few days the counselor and teacher notice no difference in Danny and he is assigned a week of lunch detentions. Mom comes to the school asking where she might go get information about the next community powwow so she might sell some beadwork. She says the school on her reservation served as a community hub point and being new to the city, the school was the first place she looked. Where to start… • Many tribes or Urban Indian communities have an operating TANF organization. (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) • Indian Health Service Clinics • American Indian Community Centers that help with adult education, food banks, job training, some counseling and other services. • Title VII or Johnson O’Malley programs in some school districts. • Some school districts are located close to Indian Reservations and services are often made available. • Keep in mind that often times they do not have to be a member of the tribe offering services to get benefits.
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