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Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Children's Literature, K-12: Home

Introduction

This guide is created in collaboration with the Office of Indian Education from the Arizona Department of Education.  A Professional Learning Symposium on Indigenous Knowledge System was held in effort to increase Indigenous-serving educators the capacity to:

  • Teach with Indigenous literature using culturally sustaining-revitalizing methodologies.
  • Elevate and affirm Indigenous Knowledge Systems to promote literacy development.

The resources provided within the guide also provides assistance for K-12 educators on how to be culturally responsive towards Indigenous students within their classrooms.  The guide also provides resource assistance for K-12 tribal educators in applying Indigenous Knowledge Systems strategies within the community classroom. 

This guide will be updated as new published information is release, including book titles. 

ASU Land Acknowledgement Statement

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.

Labriola Center Information

Labriola Center Homepage http://lib.asu.edu/labriola

Labriola Center Hours Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm & Friday 9am-5pm

Contact the Center at  Ask-An-Archivist or Book an Appointment

Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Indigenous Knowledge Systems refers to the correlative and holistic approaches Indigenous people and communities respectively engage to acquire knowledge and skills. Indigenous Knowledge Systems make up the following:

  • Storytelling
  • Oral Literacy
  • Oral History
  • Traditional Knowledge
  • Community Engagement
  • Environment Engagement

Indigenous Children's Literature Book Selection

The following are tips in selecting appropriate Indigenous/Native American Literature for the Classroom. 

  1. Choose an Indigenous Author:  A recognized enrolled and serving member of their Tribal affiliated community.
  2. Analyze the literary Text: Text accurately denotes a specific Tribal culture, language, history, and lifeways.
  3. Accurate Narration: A balance of accurate Tribal specific historical and modern accounts, events, oral history, landmarks or geographical locations.
  4. Illustrations/Pictorials: Illustrations should portray a specific Tribal nation in clothing, housing, landscape, language, and culture.
  5. Kinship: The Indigenous family structure should be presented, such as grandparents and relationship ties through tribal specific language.
  6. Community: Text and illustrations roles and responsibilities toward their community, such as land, family responsibilities, gender roles, etc.

Cultural Responsive Approaches For the Classroom

Many historical and outdated literature contains cultural sensitive information requiring a community learning approach in applying the Indigenous Knowledge Systems.  Therefore, the strategies to become Culturally Responsive depends if your classroom is under a Tribal or Metropolitan school systems.  One school system will have different responsibilities and restrictions from the other.

Culturally Responsive within Metropolitan School Systems

Metropolitan/Urban Classrooms must avoid using historical and outdated literature containing cultural sensitive information.  Cultural Taboo Protocols are the driving force in your classroom lesson planning. The following are tips to educators in urban school settings

  1. Research and Acknowledge: Knowing the tribal affiliation of your Indigenous students will help in researching the cultural background and what is cultural restricted.  Each tribal nations have different cultural restrictions.
  2. Use Modern Literature and Text:  Using the Literature criteria above, many updated literature are written by Indigenous Writers that do not incorporate many cultural sensitive information.
  3. Focus on local or regional specific Tribal Nations: Units should focus on specific tribal nations within the state or local surroundings, such as history and general cultural information. Information should exhibit the diversity and difference among Tribal Nations.
  4. Avoid using Myths, Legends, or Folklore literature: These text have a seasonal restriction and requires tradition knowledge involving the kinship and community learning.
  5. Avoid using cultural symbolism and translated text:  Many symbolism and translated text have ceremonial ties with cultural restrictions for its use within art or writing projects.  These require a traditional knowledge approach and community learning when engaging these interpretations.

Culturally Responsive within Tribal School Systems

Tribal educators' role will have a less restrictive use with historical and cultural information. Tribal communities have a more obligatory mission in revitalizing language and culture, which will require educators to combine historical materials and Indigenous Knowledge Systems approaches.  Books should aid as a reference point in the support of passing of Traditional Knowledge, but should not be the entire framework for learning. The following are some strategic approaches within the classroom:

  1. Incorporate the Storytelling methodologies: Apply oral literacy applications and interactive community engagement from tribal community members, i.e Elders, Spiritual leaders, etc.
  2. Incorporate oral literacy applications:  Conduct classroom instructions with tribal language, traditional knowledge sharing, and conduct more instruction outside the classroom. 
  3. Incorporate oral history: Sharing of lived experiences from community members provide more a learning tool.
  4. Define the cultural roles: Emphasis the respect, responsibilities, relationship, and relevancy to our surrounding environment, community, and kinship.
  5. Follow all cultural restrictions:  Abide with cultural restrictions, such as seasonal accessible information, gender restrictions, etc. Additionally, emphasis the importance of cultural restrictions to students. 

 

Librarian

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.