Back To School: Resources for Indigeneity Education
As students begin to return to classrooms, teachers and administrators are tasked with balancing young people’s education alongside a truly monumental set of obstacles – a global pandemic, political infighting, structural educational inequities and a mounting climate crisis. At the same time, nurturing leadership in young people has never been more important, and supporting the incredible educators who do this essential work is the pathway forward.
This week, we are excited to highlight the one-of-a-kind Bioneers Indigeneity Curriculum project which provides free and cutting edge cultural educational resources for educators. We also learn from youth who are walking the walk, pointing out the connections between educational equity and climate justice. And, as the delta variant emerges, we revisit the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, which has been instrumental in supporting schools to get education outdoors.
Bioneers’ Expanding Indigeneity Education Resources
While overall public awareness of contemporary Indigenous issues and experience is severely lacking, appropriate educational materials are in even shorter supply. To meet this need, the Bioneers Indigeneity Program, with the support of dedicated and visionary funders, has developed Indigeneity study guides and lesson plans aligned with national standards for grades 9-12+, inspired by the conversations in the annual Bioneers Indigenous Forum. These curricula offer educators an invaluable toolkit for teaching these incredibly essential concepts in the classroom.
With curriculum bundles on topics including (most recently): “Three Sisters,” “The Real Thanksgiving,” “Water is Life,” “Alcatraz,” “Borderlands,” and “Honoring Women,” this body of work represents a unique opportunity to bring Indigenous-created curriculum into both formal education and non-formal learning environments. Each curriculum bundle includes teacher instructions, activities, assessment, and additional materials for a week of instruction aligned to the lesson’s theme. These curricula can be accessed free of charge on our dedicated Indigeneity Curriculum webpage.
Learn more about Indigeneity education from Bioneers here.
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How Equity in Education Can Foster Youth-Led Climate Advocacy
A clear distinction between who produces the astronomical amounts of pollution affecting our climate and who bears the brunt of its impact arises as young people push for equity in education to highlight holistic understandings of climate change. Earlier this year, a group of students led an effort in San Mateo County to rally their school district to pass a Climate Emergency declaration. After successfully organizing for the resolutions approval, the students developed climate action plans for their district. In this new interview, Lilian Chang and Katinka Lennemann, two of the students behind the effort, speak about the role of education in the push for climate justice.
COVID-19 Learning Resources
The single most-read article on Bioneers.org in 2020 was an interview we conducted with the founders of The National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, based on the straightforward idea that fresh air and outdoor learning could allow students to return to school in the midst of a pandemic. Co-founded by Green Schoolyards America; the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley; San Mateo County Office of Education; and Ten Strands, the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative has developed a community of practice and curated a very practical library of ideas and resources designed to support you in using the outdoors for learning during the pandemic and beyond.
The Latest from Bioneers.org:
- Conversation with Oglála Lakȟóta Elder Basil Brave Heart: Part 1 | Basil Brave Heart is an Oglala Lakota combat veteran, Catholic boarding school survivor, author and retired school administrator from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In part one of this interview with Hilary Giovale, Basil shares reflections about Lakȟóta lifeways and the impacts of boarding schools.
- Conversation with Oglála Lakȟóta Elder Basil Brave Heart: Part 2 | In part two of this interview with Ogála Lakȟóta Elder Basil Brave Heart, shares his perspectives on war, healing, and patriotism.
- Good Fire: Indigenous Cultural Burns Renew Life | In this interview, we speak with Bill Tripp, Deputy-Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization for the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources, about the role of fire within Indigneous cultures as a way of caretaking land. As climate-induced fires destroy land across the U.S., Indigenous knowledge may be a guiding force in rekindling an old kinship with fire.