Sample Coursework Paper on Indigenous Studies

Assignment 5

  1. Discuss elements critical to the “naturalizing” of Indigenous knowledge as introduced by McLeod, Little Bear and Taiaiake.


Little Bear (2009) defines Indigenous Knowledge (IK) as the reflection of the accumulated experience and information regarding individuals, groups, cultures, communities, societies, and the sundry settings representing humanity all over the globe. This knowledge covers over 5000 cultures and languages spoken by diverse people all over the world (Little, 2009). McLeod (2007) on the other hand says aboriginal as the cultures and people who have been inhabitants of a certain region indigenously. These people occupied the purported land even before the arrival of colonialist or even the era of migration; this means they are rightfully inhabitants of the place. Therefore, naturalizing indigenous knowledge in education curricula is important as it restores and maintains the integrity of Aboriginal people and their culture.

Little (2009) believes that naturalizing of indigenous knowledge can only be achieved through understanding what culture is.An individual should have an idea of what culture in regards to knowledge, learning and education. Culture is defined as collective acts of a society comprising of language, beliefs, morals, and their respond to nature of reality (Little, 2009). Therefore, indigenous knowledge can be naturalized by understanding cultures of various groups in the community. Some other ways to naturalize indigenous knowledge have been introduced into the education system. Capon (2008) argues that the outcomes of learning among aboriginals have been ignored in spite of their paramount importance. According to Little (2009), learning is the process of obtaining knowledge or skills through a teaching session, training programs, reflecting on what has been observed, or acquiring awareness regarding something.

Learning from place or place-based education is one of the critical aspects for naturalizing indigenous knowledge. Demographic realities make the focus on Aboriginal learning all the more pressing at the same time as they underline the enormous opportunities that await successful Aboriginal learners (Capon, 2008).McLeod (2007) argued that the surrounding environment provides a rich environment for Aboriginal students to learn about the interconnected factors that impact their living standards and make significant contributions toward the improvement of well-being of their community. Little (2009) argued that place-based education enables students to understand their surrounding environment through rituals and visitations.

Little (2009) further asserted that communityinvolvement is alsoa keyelement for naturalizing indigenous knowledge. McLeod (2007) explained that Aboriginal people understand the world based on relationships; hence, the involvement of community in the learning process for Aboriginal learners is important.  This aspect promotes the exchange of perceptions between the communitymembers and children. Communities, indigenous professionals have turned to Aboriginal elders to re-establish the control over indigenous development using community development.  It is known that communities are developed on interpersonal relationships and educational changes; therefore, involving communities is effective in building such relationships. McLeod (2007) argued that through community involvement, educational success among Aboriginal students is improved. Adult Aboriginal education can also be part of community development, and this assists in minimizing poverty that is strongly associated with poor educational outcomes.

Social conditions have been witnessed as a determinant in naturalizing indigenous knowledge. The conditions include economic status, education, gender based issues, and social status among others. For example, Cappon (2008) asserts that in 2001 they were more than 4 in every 10 Aboriginal children below the age of 15 who dwelled in low-income families, as reported by Statistics Canada. He continues to say that nearly one-quarter of on-reserve First Nations people lived in substandard housing, compared with 2.5 percent of the general Canadian population. This simply shows that the aboriginal are denied the chance of equal opportunities with the rest of the community. This denies them the most basic foundation of naturalizing indigenous knowledge which is learning or education system. Lastly, (Little, 2009) cites the issue of an unfair curriculum in school that does not delve deep into aboriginal studies. Addressing the issue of social conditions and the curriculum would help in shaping indigenous knowledge of the aboriginals.


  1. Based on the online project “Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom,” identify issues that may have arisen for you as a student while taking this course. Share your understanding of the issues and discuss strategies you employed towards resolving any issues that may have arisen for you as a learner.


Diversity is one of the major impacts of globalization that has hit every corner of the world by storm. Classrooms have not been left behind due to different cultures, and maximum attention is needed for effective discussions among the cross-cultural students in class. Higher education attracts learners and facilitators from the wide scope of the globe. This means a simple classroom contains a mixture of cultures, languages, ideologies, and even perceptions. During this course, I realized that themajority of students from Aboriginal communities feel anger and alienation in the classroom discussions. The main reason lies with their social position that guides their school of thought. To begin with, the cultural background defines the social positions of an individual especially in a general discussion. This shapes people’s argument regarding politics, certain behaviours, religions, and a way of living. It is therefore important to understand a person’s social position before countering or rebuking his/her argument.

Second, repulsive behaviours such anger contributes to poor class performance among the aboriginal students. Besides, their participation in class work may be low as they feel marginalized and inferior to other groups. There were traumatic and troubling discussions in class due to cultural issues. Sometimes, the attitudes of teachers and staff were dismissive of Aboriginal sensitivity issues and do not consider the outcome of their remarks. As such, the students do not engage in Aboriginal issues as part of the school activities. In some incidences, the issue of stereotyping may emerge unknowingly where aboriginals may be viewed as political. On the other hand, aboriginals may view other students as intruders who do not have rights in the community. This reflected the development of an alienating school environment and the relationship among students and faculty staff. Tutors in high education institutions have an upper hand in the classroom as they dictate the direction of the topics of discussion. When it comes to cultural issues, this inflicts more pain among the aboriginal which may create a rift with their lecturers. As a matter of fact, this issue is problematic and requires proactive measures to address it.

In light of this, effective strategies are important for resolving such issues. First, valuing cultural diversity in classroom should be a priority. During curriculum development course for teachers, it is important to focus on implementing cultural activities as part of the education curriculum. This will assist in providing an improved learning environment for Aboriginal students to understand whattheyare learning in terms of culture and school science. Second, there should be awareness about aboriginals to avoid ill-informed questions and assumptions. A general awareness and education can reduce the issue of stereotyping and commenting on sensitive matters. The third recommendation should be instituting degree programs on aboriginal studies. This would intertwine with creating awareness and it would deprive the issue of stereotype and questions with far-fetchedfacts. Similarly, an incident can be addressed immediately when it occurs to avoid conflicts. An incident of alienation or aggression based on aboriginal issue should be addressed at the spot to avoid a rift among leaners and faculty staff.




Alfred, T. (2005).Wasáse: Indigenous pathways of action and freedom. Peterborough: Broadview Press. Excerpt: pp.

Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE).(2010). Accord on Indigenous education.

Cappon, P. (2008, May). Measuring success in First Nations, Inuit and Métis learning.Policy Options, 60-66.

Crey, K., & Perreault, A. (n.d.) What I learned in class today: Aboriginal issues in the classroom. First Nations Studies Program.

Little, B. L., (2009).Naturalizing indigenous knowledge: Synthesis paper. Saskatoon, Sask:

McLeod, N. (2007). Cree narrative memory: From treaties to contemporary times. Saskatoon:

Purich Publishing.