7 Reasons to Integrate Indigenous Knowledge into Science Curriculum

August 11, 2012

education iconby Guest Contributor Deborah McCallum

According to the ‘Seven Grandfather Teachings’ what we teach our children now, will have an effect for the next 7 generations. What can Educators teach this generation of students right now, that will help our planet and environment for the next seven generations?

The Science Curriculum is an excellent place to integrate Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and teachings. There are many places to learn about IK, including Cultural Centers and Band Offices, and Ministry of Education Documents. However, Educators also must understand that any IK knowledge to be used in Education, must be approved of by any of the following: the Ministry of Education, Elder, Senator, Traditional Teacher, or prominent Aboriginal community representative! Once we have a firm understanding of the knowledge that we can impart on our students, Educators can begin to infuse this knowledge into our Science Curriculum and create rich learning experiences for our students.

The following are reasons why students and future generations will benefit from incorporating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) into the Science Curriculum:

  1. Indigenous Knowledge is inextricably linked to global sustainability. Our planet is facing ecological crises as a result of globalization. IK has valuable insights to implementing efficient uses of our land and spiritual relationships with nature. Educators can implement many of these insights into teaching practice.
  2. Students can be taught to sustain life and protect our planet, not exploit it.Conservation of energy and resources, and learning about sustainability is essential to teach our children now, so that they can pass along to future generations.
  3. Indigenous Knowledge can help foster equitable management of resources. Teaching our students to be responsible and economical with our natural resources, and to care to minimize our ecological footprint.
  4. We need to be aware of the human rights of Aboriginal peoples, traditional rights, & intellectual property rights. IK can help us understand how to protect those rights, land, water, and natural resources.
  5. Indigenous Knowledge and Western Knowledge can be taught together. Aboriginal and Western philosophies, beliefs, and spirituality do not need to be taught in opposition, or in isolation. It is only when we can teach our students to understand themselves and the world around them, that we can create true empathy, understanding, and hope for the future of our planet.
  6. Educators can strengthen the capacity of Aboriginal communities and other Canadian counterparts to participate in the conservation management of resources.
  7. Indigenous Knowledge is an important factor in the preservation of the earth’s diversity and in fostering positive attitudes toward human rights and resource biodiversity.

Integrating IK into Science Curriculum right now, is a great place to start to help improve our planet and environment for the next seven generations.

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