First Nations Principles of Learning
I have a vague sense that this is something some of us would rather not talk about. We live here in the Northwest in two solitudes: ourselves and our First Nations friends. The silence is a little awkward for us all. It’s time we have reconciliation among us. So said Prime Minister Steven Harper when he offered a formal apology from the Government of Canada for the idea of residential schools. He said, “The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian Residential Schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on Aboriginal culture, heritage, and language.” A glance at the history says that was the idea because it was thought, those children would be better off. Healing and reconciliation are the Government's prescription. They are also the way of Christians. I like to believe Steven Harper’s faith led him there. We sometimes talk about transforming culture. Here’s our chance.
So, I want to do a small thing. I want to write several articles on First Nations principles of learning. But I want to do so because I believe we all have something to learn from them. I promise everything I say will be from a Christian perspective.
The first of these is “Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.” To me, this says leaning is more than personal. When we learn we enhance our future, but we also enhance the future lives of others. Show me a learned person and I’ll show you a small cloud of individuals who have grown strong under that person’s influence. We also know that God has charged us with stewarding the earth. What we learn enables us to do that well. And we know that what we learn leaves a legacy for others, something so powerful and profound that one might even call it a spirit.
So, join me in an exploration of First Nations principles of learning. Principles can mean a few things, but I think in this case it means an idea that can be used as a foundation for many other ideas. I’ve always loved to talk about learning. I would love to expand my understanding of learning. I hope you join.