• Challenge Of Indigenous Education: Practice And Perspectives

Challenge Of Indigenous Education: Practice And Perspectives

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Education is one of the six mandated areas of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and an area on which we have much to say. The Third Session of the Forum in 2004 will devote a good deal of time to education and culture, in addition to human rights, and this publication will make an important contribution to that debate. I was an indigenous child myself once a long time ago. I would like you to come with me on a journey and to imagine the life experience of the indigenous child. You arrive at school with a rich cultural background only to find out that there is an expectation that you should have already accessed pre-school education. But of course you had no access to such things even access to basic education is a luxury. On your first day you discover that the teachers do not speak your language, in fact, they don t even want you to speak your language. You may even be punished for doing so. The teachers know nothing of your culture; they say look at me when I speak to you, but in your culture it may be disrespectful to look at adults directly. Day by day you are torn between two worlds. You look through your many textbooks but find no reflection of yourself, your family or your culture. Even in the history books your people are invisible

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