Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Unbiased Teaching about American Indians and Alaska Natives in Elementary Schools.

Unbiased Teaching about American Indians and Alaska Natives in Elementary Schools. This paper looks at ways teachers can instruct elementary students about American Indians and Alaskan Natives in an unbiased manner.

From the site:

The contribution of American Indians and Alaska Natives to American life reflects a long heritage, which includes the wide-spread use of Indian words that name geographic places in this nation. American Indians and Alaska Natives maintain their tribal traditions, religion, and languages. At the same time, they strive to assimilate modern technologies. Nonetheless, many students in American schools know comparatively little about the native populations of their own country.

This Digest gives teachers realistic information about this growing population. It identifies some of the common myths about American Indians and Alaska Natives that contribute to curriculum bias. The concluding discussion suggests activities and resources to help elementary students--and their teachers--understand the realities of how Indians live today and how they lived in the past.

THE ROLE OF ACCURATE INFORMATION

Bias about Indians is often the result of inaccurate information. The realities of American Indian and Alaskan Native life are often oversimplified and distorted. Stylized classroom accounts of Indian life reinforce the "buckskin and feather" and the "Eskimo and igloo" stereotypes (Madison School District, 1978). With such instruction, students are certain to develop misguided impressions of Indians.