Goulet & Goulet (2014). What to Build Upon: Sociocultural Strengths. (Teaching Each Other: Nehinuw Concepts and Indigenous Pedagogies.)

Goulet, L. M., & Goulet, K. N. (2014). What to Build Upon: Sociocultural Strengths. In Teaching Each Other: Nehinuw Concepts and Indigenous Pedagogies (pp. 47–76). University of British Columbia Press.

“Culture is important in Indigenous education. Language and other cultural signs and symbols organize children’s thought processes and establish how they view and interpret the world (Vygotsky 1986).” (p 47)

“Cognitive mediators are the tools used to assist and extend thinking, to make sense of the world, and to support memory.” (p 47)

[How does one influence one’s own “being?” Behaviour (active) is different from existence (passive). –oki …]

“… ways of being and doing. … Nehinuw concepts of social relationships, particularly _weechiseechigemitowin_ (alliances for collaborative action) …” (p 48)

“Lily’s story illustrates how teachers can work together with others (_weetutoskemitowin_) and draw on aspects of modern culture and technology [page break] to create culturally meaningful curricula, curricula that are in the language of the community and reflective of its history, world view, and thinking.” (p 48-49)

[“Decolonizing ‘Cree-atively’ through Elders’ Stories — Lily McKay-Carriere” (p 49) …]

“As the forces of modern culture and technology diminish the use of Indigenous languages, with many languages already becoming extinct, language rejuvenation and retention are critical issues for most Indigenous communities in Canada.” (p 50)

“As part of a second-language acquisition method, the sequences incorporate activities that appeal to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (1993).” (p 51)

“Because the stories are not translations from English to Cree, they have embedded within them the thought structure, values, and world views of the Nehinuw.” (p 55)

[“Indigenous Language, Knowledge, and Understanding” (p 55) …]

[Concern for translation rather than simply explaining the terms? –oki (p 56) …]

“… translate …” (p 56)

“The concept is further complicated because, in addition to living beings, it includes life force entities such as toboggans, spears, cars, record players, and so on. These latter entities are considered forms of life, not inanimate objects or things.” (p 56)

[“Nehinuw Knowledge and Understanding” (p 57) …]

“We ask the reader to remember that, although it is not always a ‘perfect fit’ because of the unique challenges to translation, the underlying structure of Nehinuw thought and experience can indeed be conveyed and articulated through the integration of the meaning of key Nehinuw words and concepts.” (p 57)

[“Stories of (Mis)understanding and Language” (p 57) …]

“In the process of learning to speak English, Crees use their language and cognitive structures, transferring the Nehinuw way of thinking into the new language structural demands of English. This example shows that a greater degree of emphasis must be placed on the centrality of Indigenous languages and the cultural-linguistic context in Indigenous education.” (p 58)

[“Translation of Words versus Translation of Ideas” (p 58) …]

[“The Life Force System” (p 59) …]

“The life force is the spark and energy source that gives people and other entities and beings the creative and imaginative impulse for action, as well as the generation of the various multidimensional systems of continuous change in the universe.” (p 60)

[“Self-Determined Action and Collective Thought” (p 60) …]

“It needs to be emphasized that the individual and the collective are both important in Nehinuw thought.” (p 60)

“Self-determined action (by the individual and the self-group) that includes independence, responsibility, autonomy, and authority over oneself is integral to Nehinuw thought.” (p 62)

[“Oral Narratives” (p 62) …]

“Masse et al. (2007, 25) maintain that ‘myth presents us with the surprising opportunity to extract from the historical cultural record of many regions an unprecedented view of the impact of geological and solar system process and events during the past several thousand years.'” (p 63)

“Certain story forms such as legends and historical narratives demand a greater level of formality, accuracy, and truth. Other story forms have a greater degree of flexibility and creativity, such as the creation of narratives to share experiences and events of self and others told by adults and children in daily interactions.” (p 64)

“Because the history is oral, it is given a certain narrative structure to assist in the memory of that oral history (Barber and Barber 2004).” (p 65)

[“Nehinuw Concepts of Teaching and Learning” (p 65) …]

“In Cree, there are three main forms of education, or the teaching-learning process: _kiskinaumagehin_ (teaching another), _kiskinaumasowin_ (teaching oneself), and _kiskinaumatowin_ (teaching each other). The Nehinuw word for education, teaching, and instruction is _kiskinaumagehin_.” (p 65)

[“Nehinuw Social Relations” (p 69) …]

[“The Determination Framework” (p 71) …]

“Co-determination requires well-developed, strong, self-determining Indigenous governments, institutions, organizations, and peoples in order to move beyond token involvement and unequal partnerships. Co-determination is the formation of strong alliances and partnerships in which parties recognize the unique resources of the other.” (p 75)

[“Concluding Comments” (p 76) …]

“We introduced one of the central concepts in Nehinuw thought, _pimachihowin_ (the life force of intentional action), to introduce the epistemology. … These forms of teaching and learning flow from Nehinuw social relationships: helping and supporting each other (_weechihitowin_), relatives (_wagootowin_), partnerships (_weechiyauguneetowin_), and alliances (_weechiseechigemitowin_).” (p 76)

Selected References

  • Barber, Elizabeth W., and Paul T. Barber. 2004. When they severed earth from sky: How the human mind shapes myth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Gardner, Howard. 1993. Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.
  • Masse, W. Bruce, Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Luigi Piccardi, and Paul Barber. 2007. ‘Exploring the nature of myth and its role in science.’ In Myth and geology, ed. L. Piccardi and W.B. Masse, 9–28. London: Geological Society Publishing House.
  • Vygotsky, Lev. 1986. Thought and language. Trans. Alex Kozulin. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
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