Open thread for night owls: 10 things teachers shouldn’t and should do when teaching Native youth
American Indian and Alaska Native students remain a very special and uniquely vulnerable population, often suffering from educational experiences that either fail to serve them adequately or that cause them to feel alienated, invisible, or unsupported. Teachers who serve Native youth must be cognizant of the unique needs of indigenous students, and their communities. Teachers who serve Native youth must also be willing to examine their preconceived notions of Native Americans, and then make the necessary adjustments in order to give Native youth a meaningful education that they deserve and need.
To best serve Native youth, here are some more important dos and don’ts for educators:
1. DON’T ever overlook students’ indigenous identity, or attempt to see them through a “colorblind” lens […]
2. DON’T speak of Native Americans as a people of the past
Popular American culture has continuously portrayed Native Americans as a people of the past. Textbooks contribute to this problem. Speaking of Native Americans in the past tense maintains harmful stereotypes and makes Native youth feel invisible and unimportant.
DO teach regularly about modern Native American people. When teaching social studies, make sure to include Native American experiences regularly, as they have been present in all eras of history, evolving and changing like all other people.
3. DON’T teach stereotypical lessons like Thanksgiving
4. DON’T use stereotypical language to describe Native Americans or Native American culture […]
DO learn appropriate terminology and tribal-specific language. Be open to deconstructing what you thought appropriate terms were, and prepare abandon words you may have become accustomed to using.
5. DON’T deny or minimize indigenous genocide […]