Accepted paper:

Indigenous education puts the human back into nature


Joy Hendry (Oxford Brookes University)

Paper short abstract:

Indigenous education systems around the world are putting the human back into nature and the environment by offering and introducing modifications to the Enlightenment-based science that was imposed on their peoples by governments and teachers originally sent out from Europe.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will report on an anthropological study of indigenous science which has identified a global movement of Indigenous peoples trying to enable their children to enter their national education systems – usually imported directly or indirectly from Europe -- through a basic understanding of their own languages and epistemologies. These usually refrain from separating humans and their social groups from the broader environment that we in Europe and the West have classified as “natural”. Progress has been variously successful in different countries and a selection of examples of bi-cultural education or “facing both ways” will be offered and explained, as children in several countries are becoming able to learn “Western knowledge” through their own linguistic and cultural categories, or to experience an education system that values both. The work of Indigenous scholars on the problems of reconciling the different epistemologies will also be reported.

panel P67
Anthropology in and of education: implications for representations of human nature