Giving Compass' Take:

• Culture-based education rooted in contextual values of Native Americans can help support Native youth to further understand their cultural heritage.

• How can educators pioneer a movement toward culture-based education that validates all children's identities? Why is identity and culture development significant for young students to engage with early on? 

• Read about other schools working on culturally responsive curricula. 

The National Indian Education Association (a current client of Bellwether Education Partners) organized the Journey to Discovery and Wellness summer camp, which took place at Riverside Indian School in Oklahoma, to provide an opportunity for Native students to learn about physical, social and emotional wellness through the lens of cultural identity.

An abundance of research indicates that culture-based education, an approach at the heart of the camp, positively affects Native students’ college aspirations, sense of belonging in school and connection to community.

Culture-based education not only has the potential to support students’ academic success, but also to foster the development of traits that transcend academic contexts, like resilience and confidence.

In general, Native students in K-12 public schools in the United States experience higher-than-average rates of suspension, expulsion and school-related arrests.

Culture-based education provides a path to healing. While Native American cultural values and ways of knowing vary widely from tribe to tribe, there are shared values among indigenous groups, including a focus on community, a sense of relationality, a sense of responsibility to self and others, a rootedness in place and the responsible use of power.

Culture-based education also creates space to reframe learning objectives and outcomes in the geographical, historical and local context of indigenous groups. Most importantly, it provides a path to Native cultural vitality and sustainability, a path that helps Native students understand their positioning between the cultural knowledge, language and beliefs of the past and the application of that culture today and in the future.

Read the full article about culture-based education by Katrina Boone at The Hechinger Report.