The Journal of Educational Controversy – Interview with author Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa

[MUSIC PLAYING] I’d like to welcome our
viewers to our conversations with the authors of the Journal
of Educational Controversy. Our journal is published at the
Woodring College of Education at Western Washington
University. My name is Lorraine
Kasprisin, and I’m the editor of the journal. My co-interviewer today
is Dr. Kristen French, who is an associate
professor at the University, as well as the director of the
college’s center for education equity and diversity. And my guest today is
Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa, who is an associate professor
of education at Montana State University in Bozeman. She holds a PhD in
multicultural, social, and bilingual
foundations of education from the University of
Colorado at Boulder. In 2013, she received the G.
Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award
from the National Association for Multicultural Education
for her scholarly commitment to teaching for
multicultural perspectives. Dr. Carjuzaa’s research
focuses on culturally responsive pedagogy, and
she has been instrumental in the implementation
of the Indian Education for All initiative in Montana. The initiative is actually
a constitutional mandate that aims to ensure that
every student in Montana learn about the distinct and
unique heritage and history of American Indians. In the summer of
2010, the Journal of Educational Controversy
published an article by Dr. Carjuzaa that was
titled The Give Away Spirit– Reaching a Shared Vision of
Ethical Indigenous Research Relationships. The article was also co-authored
with Kay Fenimore-Smith from Whitman College. Her talk at Western Washington
University on April 8th 2014 will be on the Montana
initiative Indian Education for All, where she
will discuss the seven essential understandings
framework that was developed. I’d like to welcome
you to our program. Thank you. And also welcome my
co-interviewer to our program. I thought we might
start with your article that we published
in the journal, and then move on to your current
work on Indian education. The issue that you published in
was exploring the way in which scholarly communities and
research communities influence the way in which the public
comes to understand issues, the questions it
allows them to ask, as well as the questions that
they cannot ask as a result. And in that issue,
many of the authors actually took the opportunity to
critique the dominant research paradigms in their area. And I think your paper does do
a very interesting challenge to the dominant Western
paradigm that anthropologists and social scientists
have used in researching native communities. And as you argue, that
paradigm has often dismissed or ignored indigenous voices
and indigenous ways of knowing. So I thought perhaps
we might want to start by trying to help
our viewers understand the history of the research
that has been conducted in native communities. As you mentioned in your
paper, indigenous communities have been the most researched
communities in the world. So let’s explore
a little bit first about the history of the
research that was conducted in these native
communities and what you mean by indigenous
research paradigm as opposed to a Western dominant
paradigm, and what kinds of ethical issues that conflict
between the two paradigms poses. Sure. Well, this whole issue of
how best to conduct research in Indian country
is something we’ve been exploring in Montana. We have 12 Plains
Indian tribes that would call Montana home
on seven reservations. And there is money in research
in Indian communities. And unfortunately, a
lot of that research has been done in a
fairly unethical way. And there are many cases
that we can read about on a daily basis. The Havasupai tribe
and what happened with the ASU researcher is
something that everybody talked about in recent times. So being somebody
that cares first about the communities I
work in and the people that I have
relationships with, I’ve had some difficult
choices to make, because in order to promote
the kinds of research projects that most universities would
like us to be involved in, you have to also think
about how grant-writing and how the IRB process
at the universities really is not compatible
with an indigenous worldview and indigenous ways of being. And so starting to
look at different ways that we could be more
ethical in our research, it seems to me that if
we look at the research that Kirkness and Barnhart
did in the early ’90s, it’s really important
that we look at respect relevance,
reciprocity, responsibility, and above all, relationality. And so instead of conducting
helicopter or drive-by research, I like to think that
we build relationships first. And from those relationships
out of those connections and partnerships, we
see how we can best serve native communities. And so it’s a
different approach. And so there are a lot of
incredible indigenous scholars worldwide doing research on
indigenous methodologies. And it’s very different than
regular research that focuses on indigenous communities. And so things like the
participatory action research and community-based
participatory research, although a lot
of Western researchers are comfortable
with those models and they’re better than some of
the research that was conducted before, because they do
employ research participants in the communities, it still
isn’t necessarily generated from the needs of
the communities. And so we’ve been looking
at other alternatives. We have several tribes in
Montana writing their own IRBs. And even doing
that, they’re still framed within a
Western paradigm. And so we– Can I ask you a question? Yes. What do you mean by IRB, first? Because our audience may not
be familiar with the acronym. Oh, sure. Well, the internal review
boards at most institutions make sure that ethical research
is going to be carried out. And for vulnerable
populations in particular, we want to make sure
that they’re protected. And so we don’t have a
lot of, what do we say, guidelines in place that
really would guarantee that. We’ve worked on that and
we’ve tweaked our IRB. And actually, most of the
reservations in Montana actually require that you
obtain their IRB permission before you do research. I’m working on a project with
one of my McNair Scholars who’s Blackfeet. And we have been looking at
revitalization and maintenance efforts for the languages
that are endangered. And yeah, we had to go to
every single individual tribe and get permission to do that,
in addition to the MSU’s IRB process. And I think that’s really
important that they have say in what
data is collected, what projects are done,
and how that data is used, and how that wisdom and
resources are shared. I think it’s up to the tribes
to make those decisions, not the IRB and research
people at the universities. What’s the difference
between an indigenous model and a Western model? What would be the different
approach to the research? Well, looking at Sandy Grande’s
work, Shawn Wilson’s work, Maggie Kovach’s work,
Lori Lambert’s work, there’s tons of
indigenous researchers that could explain
it better than me. But just looking at it
that it is more holistic and it does focus
on the relationships with individuals, with
the land, with humanity. It’s very different than– there’s a very
personal side to it. And very often in research,
we tell our students that we want them to
be totally objective and take themselves out of it. And that doesn’t happen in
indigenous researching methods. You’re very much part
of the process and part of the research project. What were some of the
recommendations that you made? I know what you’re
trying to do is to find a way of bringing
these two paradigms together in collaborative research. And perhaps you can explain
that a little bit more. Talk a little bit
about that, sure. Well, it’s interesting. We just have been working
on a project talking about how it is that
Indian Education for All can thrive in Montana in this
anti-ethnic studies climate. And I’ve talked with
Kristen a lot about that. And so much of Indian
Education for all is about that
collaborative piece. And that’s why we’re successful. So in research as
well, I mean, I would never pretend
to have the answers or to be the person
that would take the lead on indigenous
research, but I can collaborate and partner
with my indigenous counterparts so that we can be
supportive of each other. And I think that’s really key
with indigenous research being carried out. Still, the majority
of researchers are not indigenous
themselves, and we need people to start thinking
about how to actually conduct research in a more
ethical manner. I was thinking about some
of the research that’s been done on Native American
students’ learning styles. And as you mentioned,
an indigenous model tends to look more
holistically at issues. And yet, when I look
at this research, it seems to be taken out
of context so that people are defined as,
well, this student is either field-dependent
or field-independent. It breaks down the learning
into very discrete little parts. And I’m wondering, when teachers
go to this kind of research in order to find practices
for their classrooms, what do you see as the
possible danger of that? Well, that whole
idea of one size fits all, whatever
population you’re looking at is problematic. And the idea–
well, interesting– working with the school
leaders that I work with and the I-LEAD program
principals and superintendents that are indigenous that are
going to most likely work in schools on or
near reservations with large populations
of Indian students still have the majority
of their faculty being non-Indian in Montana. And so we looked at
a bunch of resources in how they could help
prepare their faculty. Many of them are
from out of state, and even if they have
graduated from teacher prep programs in Montana
might not have that sense of culturally
responsive pedagogy in how they’re going to actually
meet the needs of students and help them achieve their
academic and social potential. So we looked at a bunch
of different resources. And of all the books on how
to teach Indian children, they really liked
Klug and Whitfield’s Widening the Circle. And I think what they
really have attempted to do is provide a foundation
in historical facts or at least a
different perspective on American history, and
then talk about successes and different ways to
integrate culture and language into the standard curriculum. But they don’t focus so much on
this is this kind of student, and labeling them, and this is
how you have to address them. And so it ends up being best
practices for all students, and I think that’s a
much more realistic way to think about it. So every teacher, whatever
their experiences and background that they’re bringing
to the teaching and learning
relationship, they can look at how they can empower
students to be successful. I think that’s important. In Washington state, we’ve
also passed legislation trying to promote an
understanding of native culture and native history
in the curriculum. I think it’s called
In Time’s Immemorial. Since Time Immemorial. Since– Since Time Immemorial. Since Time Immemorial. Tribal sovereignty
in Washington state. Perhaps it would be interesting
to take a look at how our two states are trying to find
innovative approaches to meet these issues. Kristen, do you want to explore
some of those issues with us, I guess? Yeah. So in 2005, I know you know that
Washington passed House Bill 1495, which originally, the
legislation that we wanted was a requirement of all
teachers in the state of Washington to include tribal
sovereignty in K12 curriculum. And it passed,
although the language was a bit different in that
it didn’t require teachers, but encouraged teachers. And I know in Montana with
Indian Education for All, there is a similar legislation,
but it was a bit different. Could you talk a
little bit about that? Yeah, sure. The Northwest Regional
Educational Laboratory, which you’re part of
that consortium as well– and I know they
changed their name. I can’t remember
the current acronym. But they actually did a
study over a 20-year period and looked at all
the states with 16% of the American Indian
students across the US participating in their schools. They really wanted to see
what we have in place. And Montana was the only state
that had all 13 criteria met. And the only state
to date that still has, as part of their
state’s constitution– you amended this
bill or article, but it’s different
than what Montana has. And so in 1972– it’s a pretty remarkable story– but two students from
the Fort Peck Reservation went to the legislative
session in Helena to meet with the 100 delegates,
none of which were Indian, and said, we’d really
like to learn something about our language and culture. We’re OK studying Roman
history and Greek civilization, but why can’t we learn
something about us and how we happen to be here? And people listened. And so it was really
pretty remarkable that they added to the
Constitution in 1972 the language which Lorraine
shared at the beginning. And we’ve modified that with
Indian Education for All in 1999, and we’re talking
more about the different Indian tribes, and their
histories, and cultures, and making sure we include
contemporary issues as well. And it’s across
the curriculum P20 initiative for all Montanans,
native and non-native. And this idea that we worked
on it for a long time and there are some incredible
individuals that have been so dedicated to these
efforts from the beginning. Carol Juneau, Stan Juneau,
Denise Juneau, Everall Fox, Mike Jetty, Joyce Silverthorne– I mean, the list
goes on and on– Julie Cajune. The most incredible individuals
fighting the good fight. And Mike Jetty likes
to talk about this idea that we had much thunder,
little rain for many years. So a lot of talk, but
nothing was really happening. And it took really– 1997 was an important
year, because we finally had American Indian Heritage
Day put on the books. But that’s one day
a year, but teachers were required to at
least do something and we thought that was a start. And then 1999 MCA 20-1-501, the
amendment to the legislation in 1972 came about. And then from
there, it was 2005, and it took a
lawsuit where we had to define quality education. Indian education for all
was under that explanation. And so finally, funding was
put towards operationalizing the article. So it was very important
that we had funding. And so from there, the
essential understandings were put together in 1999. The Office of Public
Instruction brought together tribal leaders,
educators, participants from all across the
state to talk about what are we going to teach now. You’ve never taught
about Indian education. What are we going to teach? And so they came up with the
seven essential understandings. They thought they would be
applicable to all tribes, all reservations. And again, whether we’re
talking about indigenous peoples in Montana, across the
US, in North America, around the world,
we can still look at the kinds of things
that are laid out in the essential understanding. So it’s our framework,
not really standards, but it helps teachers
to understand what the expectations are. And a lot of people will say,
well, we have the mandate– the constitutional mandate– so
we’ve got the law on our side. But we do what we do because
of the ethical commitment and instructional
responsibilities. And I think that
that’s really key. And so working with
pre-service teachers, with in-service teachers,
and school administrators, and people in higher ed,
what is it we needed? And so OPI really
talked to teachers and found out that giving
materials was one thing. And people needed to build
their background information and have these
materials to teach from, but they really need a
professional development, because most educators in
Montana and across the US have a very similar journey. Maybe in second grade,
you do something with paper feather hats. [LAUGHS] You’re laughing, but you know
the story too well, right? So between Halloween
and Thanksgiving, and maybe you talk about
pilgrims and Indians, and it’s a totally unrealistic
one-sided perspective, maybe you talk about
Columbus and something like that in third grade. And again, we’re not
looking at perspective. So is it really
discovery or encounter? Is it Westward expansion
or Eastward invasion? All those kinds of
things we never address. In fourth grade, a lot of our
students played Oregon Trail, and looked at Lewis
and Clark’s journey from the Western perspective. And then maybe, I don’t
know here in Washington, but if we’re looking
at Montana history and students are
going to take a class, then they might study the
Battle of Little Bighorn. And again, very one-sided. And that’s it, but it’s local,
so they’ll learn a little bit. But it’s world
history, and they’ll talk about Aztecs,
and Incas, and Mayans, and never learn anything
about Montana Indians. And my good friend
Ellen Swaney, who was the director of the American
Indian and Minority Student Achievement at the Office
of the Commissioner Higher Ed for 20 years– she’s been retired
about five years now– and she shared with
me when she started, so 25 years ago, there
was not a map of Montana that showed the seven
sovereign nations. So a lot of things have changed. And we work real hard at it. And the Office of Public
Instruction is incredible. They’ve produced
tons of materials. They’re willing to share things
with everybody worldwide. And we even have
the National Museum of the American Indian
looking at the seven essential understandings to
adapt those for National Indian education standards. So I’d like to just thank you. And also, I know there
are several folks like Denny Hurtado, who worked
very hard on the legislation, who was our previous
director of Indian Education in the state of Washington. And now our current director,
Robin Butterfield, Montana has been wonderful in
terms of sharing resources for the sovereignty curriculum
that we use in Washington. And Montana has been such
a wonderful foundation for other states, as well,
to hopefully move forward in this way. So I’m curious what
your and Montana’s hopes are for the future of
Indian Education for All. Well, we have so many exciting
things going on in the state. And I think what’s different
is I went to Maine to visit with [INAUDIBLE],,
and Paul Frost, and others that are involved in
their Indian education efforts. And I’m not sure what
really is going on, because implementation
is different from what we’re saying we want to do. And we really want
this to be the norm. We want it to be
totally infused, integrated across
the curriculum in all of our professional development
and all of our assessments everywhere. We don’t want it to be a
standalone course, or just in certain classrooms,
or certain times of year, or in certain units. And so that’s the
goal, that we wouldn’t be having to talk about
Indian Education for All because it would be the norm. And I think that’s what
makes our model so unique, because so many
others have developed a specific curriculum. It’s usually connected to social
studies or history classes. It’s often an elective. And so it really
isn’t totally infused. And that’s what we’re trying
really hard to do in Montana. You referred to the seven
essential understandings. Maybe you could share
that with our viewers. Yeah, sure. So starting with essential
understanding number one, just having a basic
understanding of who’s in Montana. And again, I do teach a
multicultural foundations course. So they’re pre-service
teachers, and elementary ed, and a couple of the K12
certification areas, and then the 17 secondary areas
across the campus, as well as early childhood. So it’s everybody
who’s in education. And 60% of our students at
Montana State University are probably from Montana. And five years ago,
when I’d ask them to name the seven
reservations or the 12 tribes, hardly anyone could. And so that’s changed. And some of them actually
had Indian Education for All in their K12 education
if they’ve graduated recently. Some of them are
nontraditional students and they never had the exposure. But still, a lot
of them have lived in Montana their whole
lives and didn’t know that. So essential
understanding number one looks at who are the
different tribes, who are the reservations. We talk about the
fact that we have seven tribal colleges in Montana
for each of the reservations. We look at things like why are
the Assiniboine on both Fort Peck and Fort
Belknap Reservation, why do we say Blackfeet in
Montana, Blackfoot in Canada? The Little Shell Chippewa tribe. How is it that they
are not recognized by the federal government? They’re landless, but
they are recognized by the state of Montana. So we talk about those issues
with essential understanding number one. Essential understanding
number two really gets at addressing this
idea of Pan-Indianism. And we even see the
changes in our language with the legislation, that
there’s not one Indian. And when we’re talking about
Western paradigm and indigenous paradigms, we’re
comparing two things. But in general, the
idea that there’s not just one Indian
or Pan-Indian. And it’s so funny because I
always ask my students, like, who in here would be the
model American, or whatever? And I just did a
presentation in West Hartford at Uconn last week, and I
asked that same question, and somebody raised their hand. It’s the first time
it’s happened to me. [LAUGHS] I’m a model American. So I thought that
was really cute. But this idea that
we can look at– assimilated. I don’t like that
term necessarily, but people that are more
comfortable in mainstream society and people that
maybe are more traditional, hold more traditional
beliefs, and that they’re on a continuum. And we do an exercise
often where we ask students to draw an American Indian. And they still will
draw people in buckskin, and head dresses
and stuff, and even if it were regalia or
whatever, if that’s not what they’re thinking,
they’re thinking of Indians from John Wayne movies. And so we have to make
sure people understand that there’s Indians today. The Office of Public Instruction
did a wonderful Honor Yourself poster series, where they had
all these incredible students. And I’ll share some of
that in the presentation this afternoon. We have some remarkable young
people at our university, and our state, everywhere. And we want to
highlight that these are successful Indian
students and Indian people. And that’s important that
our students know that. And then essential
understanding number three really talks about
this idea of spirituality, and oral histories,
and that this is something that
persists today, and that it’s as unique and
different among all the tribes that there’s, again,
not one creation story and everybody
believes it, or whatever, but that that’s important. And it’s interesting. We’ve had some pushback because
of the separation of church and state sharing
creation stories and stuff as part of literature
units in Indian Ed for All. But in general, looking at
those different aspects. And then essential
understanding number four addresses this whole
idea of reservations and what they mean. In our American
Indians 101 fact sheet that the Office of Public
Instruction puts together, it’s set up as a
question-answer kind of format so that people can get
the answers to the most basic questions. And I hear everyday,
the reservations are land that the federal
government gave to Indians. And so really in a state like
Montana with the Dawes Act, and allotment,
and what happened, people need to understand that. And so that’s what essential
understanding number four addresses. And essential
understanding number five looks at all the
different time periods, and the different treaties, and
statutes, and executive orders, and how the government made
decisions that affected Indians in the past, and
that they persist today, the kinds of impact. And so very often, like
we said in the journey, students might know a little bit
about the colonization period. Because I work with
educators, we really look at the boarding school era. And so many students never
heard of it or they think boarding school and they’re
thinking of those elitist prep schools on the East Coast, like
you see in Dead Poets Society. They have no idea
what really happened. And so we talk about
that, and the impact, and generational trauma, and
why students and their families might not feel welcomed
or like they want to be part of the education system. And of course,
self-determination is a big part of that. And with Indian
Education for All, how can we partner with Indian
leaders and community members to help them achieve
their goals and dreams. And then six is this
whole idea of history, and that it is just a
perspective, and that there are multiple perspectives. And we want to be
more inclusive. And so we look at
alternative histories– Howard Zinn, James
Loewen, Ronald Takaki, for sure Vine Deloria
Jr., Daniel Wildcat– this idea that we
need to learn– I don’t know, the truth is
so ambiguous in anybody’s perspective– but having
multiple perspectives shared, and honored, and having people
come to their own conclusions, instead of just the status
quo of what’s normally taught. And then essential
understanding number seven deals with this whole
concept of sovereignty. And I would think most
students aren’t even really clear what it means
that the United States is a sovereign nation. But the kind of
relationship that the tribes and the sovereign nations have
with the federal government, and that within that,
this whole idea of how tribal members
identify and how they are different than any
other minority group– minority– we don’t like that
term either, but minority group in the United States
because of their unique status, that they’re citizens
of the United States, citizens if they live in
Montana, the state of Montana, and citizens of
their tribal nations if they’re enrolled members,
or where they identify, or feel they belong. So those are the seven
essential understandings that help frame our
instruction, and research, and everything we do. That sounds very helpful. I’m actually just
really excited to have you and [INAUDIBLE] today. And I’m really
hoping that educators and our pre-service
teachers have an opportunity to learn from Indian Education
for All and from you. And Jionna is going
to be speaking also about higher education,
how to support American Indian students
in higher education, and the kinds of
models that they use. And actually, I am curious about
what are some of the things that you’ll share
with our students today around the
family education model? Oh, the family
education model, sure. Well, Richard [INAUDIBLE] and
Iris Pretty Paint Heavy-Runner have done incredible
research on resiliency, and looking at what it
is we can do in higher ed to support students to
persist, and to graduate, and to move on and have
choice in their lives. And so we have incredible
support systems in place at Montana
State University, and we partner with families
and tribal communities. And then we have internally
support systems for students so that they aren’t
isolated so that they can feel part of
the MSU culture, and that they can share
their cultures as well. And so it’s something
we’ve worked on and continue to work on. And we have very successful
discipline-specific programs, and then we have more general
support services with American Indian Council, and Native
American Studies program staff and faculty,
and then of course, many others across campus. Yeah. Exciting. Thank you. We’re so happy that you’re here. Well, I’m so happy to be here. I’m really excited to
learn more about Bill 1495, yes, because I don’t
know a lot about it. And I’d really love to
see what you are doing and I’d love to see
your curriculum. Well, the nice thing about
the Since Time Immemorial curriculum is that
it’s all online. And so it’s accessible to
everyone, which was really a forward-thinking move for
the folks that organized it and the tribal communities. And also, one wonderful
aspect, which I’m not sure how I feel about
Common Core standards across the board, but the
sovereignty curriculum was the first curriculum
in the state of Washington that was directly connected
to the Common Core standards. Well, that’s fantastic. So again, our native community
is so forward-thinking. That’s great. That’s great. Is it a curriculum geared
towards high school students? Is it for everybody? Is it at all grade levels? Yes. So the developers–
and it was a team of folks that worked in the
Office of Indian Education, which is now called ONE. I believe ONE stands for the
Office of Native Education. I like that. Yeah, I do too. And it’s really K through 12. And I’m sure we could
do P through 12, just working with it. So they wanted the curriculum to
be accessible to all teachers. So they made sure
that if there’s different tiers of
the curriculum– so if a teacher wanted
to just have one lesson that they wanted to
incorporate, they could do that. Another tier would be for
teachers to maybe do a unit or to integrate it
throughout their curriculum would be the third tier. And that’s for K-12, so
for all subject areas. It’s wonderful. They have a conceptual
framework and an indigenous
conceptual framework that they modeled the
curriculum through. So it’s really exciting. Has there been professional
development for K12 teachers? Yes. And that is– I see now Robin Butterfield is
traveling all over the state and doing professional
development for communities. So this is for
native faculty staff, but also for our teachers
all over the state. So she’s busy. That’s great. Well, I love the Journal
of Educational Controversy. And so I was really honored
that you published the piece. And I think we need to
do a collaborative piece. Me too! I would love to do the parallels
and contrast between what’s happening in Washington and
what’s going on in Montana. Yes. And I’m hoping that Washington
will learn from Montana. And vice versa. And I’m hoping
that at some point, we make it a requirement for
all of our teachers in the state of Washington to include
indigenous history and sovereignty. That’s wonderful. A current issue
of the journal is the theme redefines the
public and public education. And it really was sparked
by the incident that occurred in Arizona when the
multicultural program there, the Mexican-American studies was
banned by the state of Arizona. And one of the
teachers, [INAUDIBLE],, came to our
university, published an article in that issue, and
he talked about that censorship. And it seems to me that it’s
very easy for administrators, legislators,
policymakers to promote alternative perspectives
in the curriculum as long as they are safe. Once they begin to
question, once they begin to express their
own authenticity, once they begin to voice their
own voices, then suddenly, there’s this
political opposition that starts to emerge. And I notice a number of areas
that you mentioned in the seven essential learnings when you
talked about how traditionally, we talk about Columbus
discovering America instead of invading America. When you talked about the
notion of reservations being given to Indians. Well, they were never given
to– once you begin to critique that kind of
multiculturalism, very often, you have this backlash. And I’m wondering, was there
any political opposition or backlash in Montana
over this curriculum? [LAUGHTER] Is there still? Is it ongoing? Of course, yes. Yes. And we have looked a lot at
that, because of course, I’m surrounded by the choir. And there’s no question. Even the resistance that you
get with pre-service teachers. I wrote a chapter for
Innovative Voices, which was a wonderful
collection of educators around the world
trying to implement culturally responsive pedagogy. And I went through and I had
been collecting, of course, from my students’
cultural autobiographies, and different surveys, and
interview opportunities and stuff, different
things that they had said, and there’s no question
there is a lot of resistance, and there is a lot
of questioning. But the more educated
people are, in some ways, it makes them more skeptical. And yes, we
definitely have people that think it’s divisive, that
think it’s not appropriate, that don’t want– why are we focusing
on Indians anyway? I did learn the truth and I
learned it from the victors, so I know it’s the truth. So there’s no question
we face a lot of that. What we try to do is say that– I know with Tucson Unified
Public school district and we’ve talked about
it– there’s no question. You use Paulo Freire,
and people automatically think you’re anti-American. But we try to focus on this
whole idea of being educated is something that we
want our students to be, and that they have
to make choices. And there’s nothing neutral
about education, I guess, at all. And so we at least
try to focus on that, that we’re trying to be honest
about what the status quo is, and what the purpose
of education has been, and that Indian education
has existed time immemorial, and only the intersection
with the colonized societies has it become
problematic in some ways. But I understand
what you’re saying. And this is an
interesting aside, but one of my godchildren
teaches in El Paso, Texas. And I taught at CU Boulder, was
in Colorado for a long time. And every year on
Columbus Day, there were huge controversial
petitions and all kinds of things going on. There was always
some kind of protest on the Capitol building. And that’s what I grew up with. And that’s what
we do in Montana. I always have one of
my Indian Education for All events as an
alternative for celebration for Columbus Day. And so the criticism
is something that I’ve heard for a long time. Anyway, my godchild sent
me articles and stuff. They were actually trying to
dismantle a statue of Columbus in El Paso. And people were furious. They were like, I’m
proud and whatever. I’m whatever I am– Spanish, Italian,
Portuguese, whatever– and I want this statue of Columbus. He’s a hero and stuff. But again, I think
looking at the truth, really looking at the
Declaration of Independence and how Indian
peoples are portrayed, and reading Loewen’s history,
and seeing how these things are done intentionally. And so I think if we want
people to be educated, then we are going to uncover
some of those untruths. We just had a celebration
on Thanksgiving, and I had [INAUDIBLE],, who’s
a Wabanaki elder, come out and share a totally
different view. And it came about
because of, what can we say, controversy on
campus about the OPI materials, which we all support. So, yeah. Let’s take Columbus
for a moment. Some of the opposition
that emerges, especially if we change the
term discovery to invasion, begins to see this as a– how should I put it– well, as a form
of indoctrination. How do we approach Columbus in
a more sophisticated and complex understanding that doesn’t
go to either extreme, but tries to show the
complexity of life, the ambiguities involved
in history, the ambivalence as they go on, and
in other words, a rich history that
students need to be able to make choices about? Well, I think it has to
be students’ decisions. I think it’s our duty
to make sure that they learn critical literacy skills. And when you talk
about indoctrination, I think we do that from
day one in schools, but it’s the mainstream
messages that we are supporting all along. So there is indoctrination. I mean, if we think
of the promise that education is the great
equalizer, Horace Mann’s declaration, that that’s what
we’re trying to promote here, then I think that we owe
it to everyone to look at what has really happened. And I think we need an
honest look at that. And I think we don’t do that
at all in public education in this country. And it’s challenging. And there’s no question. Maybe you remember
a couple years ago when it was– what would it
have been– the 50th year anniversary of the bombs
being dropped on Hiroshima. There was a presenter at one
of the elementary schools in Bozeman. I didn’t even know about it,
but I had emails from everywhere in the world because of
the principal’s response, because a few
parents were furious. We have a lot of
people participating in the military in
Montana, and it was not meant to be disrespectful
to them or whatever. But maybe they
didn’t really know what this individual
was going to share, but she was a survivor and
had horrible stories to sell– to tell. To sell. Oh my gosh. What kind of slip was that? [LAUGHTER] But anyway, that’s what people
thought it was, propaganda. People were furious. And again, it started all kinds
of anti-American sentiment and stuff. And it was handled very poorly. I often found it
ironic that so many of the attacks on alternative
curriculums like the one in Arizona are often
defined as indoctrination, but we never look
at the curriculum that exist as indoctrination. Of course it is. And so what you end up with is
this dichotomy of positions. And the dialogue is one
which each side, in a sense, just accuses the other
side of indoctrinating, and we never seem to
be able to find a way to communicate
about these issues, to talk about what education is
and what it’s supposed to do, as you’re pointing out. I think one of the things
the journal is trying to do is to discuss the
complexity of these issues, to look at the multiple
dimensions of the issues and try to educate
the public about it. The term culturally responsive
pedagogy has been used a lot. And I noticed in your essential
understandings framework, a lot of that has to
do with understanding a more truthful, more
authentic background, especially a factual background. What else goes into a
culturally responsive pedagogy? I think we’ve
thought for too long that education is
really neutral, and I think it’s
important to understand that our life experiences
need to be validated and our cultural
heritage is valued. We need to see ourselves in
that collective description of the United States if we
want to feel part of that. And how to explain
it, I don’t know. We really make sure that
people understand that teachers bring their culture
and their life experiences to the classroom. We’ve talked for years
about the mismatch about who the teachers are and the
1,200 teacher prep programs across the United States. The majority of people are still
white middle class females. We describe them
as monocultural. We lump them all together as if
they’re clones of each other. But the truth is, we
don’t have a lot of people of color, people that grow
up in other situations socioeconomically. And so again, it’s
a way to perpetuate the status quo because we
have like-thinkers together. And so I think it’s
really important that we understand that if
you’re not somebody that’s grown up in poverty, if
you’re not somebody that’s struggled in school
or not seen yourself reflected in the
curriculum that it’s really hard to buy into it. And so I think it’s
really important that we, in a culturally
responsive manner– that’s the terminology we use in
our legislative commitment –is that we really understand
that students are people, and that we need to make
sure that we address their individual needs,
and desires, and everything else in the classroom as well. So I think this idea of
a constructivist view where you’re creating
with your class, and that you’re all teachers
and learners at one point, I think is really important. Can I ask along
those lines, too, we had a wonderful
conversation yesterday where we were talking
about the difference between cultural competence and
other ways of knowing and being in the classroom, and as
teachers and educators. And you had mentioned that with
the Indian Educational for All, you used the term
cultural humility. Right. And Sweeney Windchief
uses that all the time. I think it’s a much
better approach. This idea of
cultural competence, especially, makes it
seem like a journey and you arrive at a point. And I think that’s problematic. We want to think of the idea
that we all have different life experiences, and that we
all are always learning. And so I think it’s
really important that we value all
cultures equally and everybody’s experiences. And so I like the idea
of cultural humility. I was wondering,
is there anything you would like to
share with our viewers here in Washington
about the work that you’re trying
to do in Montana? Well, people ask me all
the time why I do it. It’s the right thing to do. But I’m also hooked on hope. I mean, that’s the only way I
can continue doing what I do. And I have wonderful
support systems. There are people that I really
enjoy so much working with. And the struggles. We keep widening the circle
each time, or casting the net a little further,
whatever you want to say. So that’s always exciting. The Indian Ed for All
professional development workshops, which I’ve offered
over the past eight years, we’ve had 15. I’ve been able to bring in Julie
Cajune, Henrietta Mann, James Loewen, [INAUDIBLE],, all
the poets from birthright to poetry. I mean, we’ve had just
unbelievable opportunities. It’s been just amazing. And I’m so humbled and honored
to know these individuals, to have the chance to work with
them, to invite them to campus. And within the state, I mean,
everybody is accessible. We truly are a community. And that makes
such a difference. And we have all these
incredible successes. Look at Denise Juneau. I mean, it’s incredible as our
superintendent of education. She’s the first
American Indian woman to ever be elected at a state
office in the United States. And she’s Blackfeet
Mandan Hidatsa. And again, the
legacy of her family. And I think it’s
such important work. And so all the people that
I have a chance to work with make the difference. And I’m happy and honored
to be part of that. I want to take this
opportunity to thank you so much for joining us. Well, thank you. And thank you, Kristen,
for being here. Yes. It’s an honor. Yeah, thank you. And remind our viewers
that the article that you published– here
is in the summer 2010 issue of our journal. So until next time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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