“Indigenizing curricula is not about adding content related to Indigenous history or culture; it’s about shifting to an approach that incorporates Indigenous worldviews, including Indigenous pedagogies and approaches to knowledge” (Antoine et al., 2018).
The diversity of the Indigenous population and knowledge contributes to the complexity of incorporating indigenous resources in the curriculum for educators. But it should not be “a reason to exclude Indigenous content” (Antoine et al., 2018). Considering the challenges and opportunities, I would like to mention a few points.
People tend to stereotype others from other cultures without even realizing it. Even there are different Indigenous communities, like First Nations, Urban Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit people (each of them is different), all of them are often called Indigenous people. Susan Dion says, “Whose perspective are you accessing… is important” (Professional Learning Supports, 2015, 3:14). Before including Indigenous resources in the curriculum, educators need to admit its diversified culture and knowledge, instead of concluding them with one general phrase.
Another challenge could be that limited opportunities are given to educators to interact with the local Indigenous culture and people. It can directly lead to insufficient intercultural competence regarding teaching Indigenous knowledge and culture for people who are not from the Indigenous community. According to Deardorff (2006), there are four stages for a person to gain intercultural competence. Most people have attitudes which refer to valuing and respecting other culture, and then the next level is to have the knowledge and skills to gain a profound understanding. As Indigenous culture is excluded from the category of popular culture, it would be challenging for most people to move to the next “interaction” level.
Thanks to the development of social media, the way people get information has changed significantly. For instance, there are 50 million daily active U.S users on TikTok (Sherman, 2020). Many people see this opportunity and are trying to save the endangered Indigenous culture and languages via online social media. For example, James Jones, an Indigenous creator, shares his traditional Indigenous healing dance on TikTok and now has millions of followers. In this way, more people would have the opportunity to know the Indigenous culture and possess the skill to identify authentic Indigenous resources.
James Jones (NotoriousCree) Compilation | Native Tiktok
Darla K Deardorff: (2009) Exploring interculturally competent teaching in social sciences classrooms. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences 2(1), DOI: 10.11120/elss.2009.02010002
Antoine, A., Mason, R., Mason, R., Palahicky, S. & Rodriguez de France, C. (2018, September 5). Section 4: Incorporating diverse sources of Indigenous knowledge In, Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers. BCcampus. https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationcurriculumdevelopers/
Professional Learning Supports. (2015). Indigenous learning is complex [Video]. Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/154614647
Sherman, A. (2020, August 24). TikTok reveals detailed user numbers for the first time. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/24/tiktok-reveals-us-global-user-growth-numbers-for-first-time.html
Native Sounds. (2020). James Jones (NotoriousCree) Compilation | Native Tiktok [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnHOwsDciDU