JUNE 2000

Editor: Michael Michie

Australian Indigenous Education Conference

"Learning better together"

Fremantle, April 2000

Neil Hooley from Victoria University of Technology ( wrote some brief notes on the Perth conference.

1. Approximately 500 delegates attended the Australian Indigenous Education Conference at Fremantle, 4-7 April. The conference was hosted by Edith Cowan University and most attendees seemed to be from the western half of the country.

2. The Indigenous people present want their children to succeed in western schools, but are highly critical of schools and teachers at the same time.

3. The general direction of holistic, integrated, enquiry learning is seen as the way to proceed, although not always described as such and with little practical detail on what this means.

4. A set of major ideas seem to remain undefined eg culture, community, holistic. What does it really mean to have a cultural basis to two-way learning? How do we really treat western and Indigenous concepts of science with respect and learn from both, particularly if learning is governed by examination systems?

5. The closing address by Professor Paul Hughes, Flinders University, was a conference highlight. Paul was very direct and called for a compact between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities re education, to be decided and enacted at the local level.

6. May O'Brien, also speaking at the closing session, put forward a very strong critique of benchmarks as not being in the interests of Indigenous students.

7. The conference lacked a theoretical foundation, with little reference to writers and researchers across the world who could assist in implementing the general directions outlined. A communique along these lines, would have strengthened outcomes.

8. As is the case with other education conferences, the research reported was not extensive or strong. This can be identified as a weakness within education and therefore, with Indigenous education as well.

9. It is clear that the Indigenous community want the very best for their children from western education, but how to make this actually happen, is unclear. For progressive educators and researchers, for those who want to put practice first and develop holistic enquiry teaching and learning, the scope for partnership and collaboration is enormous. For those who support justice and equality, our Indigenous brothers and sisters stand shoulder to shoulder.

(Neil presented a paper at the conference, entitled "Nyerna studies: Learning as a community partnership". If you would like a copy, please e-mail him at

The abstracts for the conference can be downloaded from the conference website as a pdf file. The website is at

Robyn Hurley (Batchelor Institute) told me that she understood that all refereed papers would be put on the conference website.

The Sixth UNESCO-ACEID International Conference on Education

Details of and registration for this conference in Bangkok during 12-15 December 2000 are now available on the UNESCO Bangkok website,

Some of this information is reproduced below.

Purpose of the conference

The purpose of this Conference as suggested by the theme is to address the role of information technologies in educational innovation for development, which focuses on the interfacing of global and indigenous knowledge and to explore the implications especially for the content of education and teacher education. Information and communication technologies are having a profound impact on learning and teaching in almost all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This is no mere add-on affect but one which goes to the very heart of traditional expectations of and models for education. The impact of technologies will continue unabated. It is important, therefore, that educators join with technologists in ensuring that the best interests of a learning society are being served.

The tension between the global and the local is one of the several "tensions to be overcome" in solving the problems of the 21st century as identified in "Learning: The Treasure Within" (the Delors Report, p. 17). In this Conference, participants will contribute to the resolution of this tension by focusing on global knowledge and indigenous knowledge, and how interfacing them may contribute to the learning society of the future. Prerequisite to this endeavour is the recognition that global and indigenous knowledge are unique and different, as exemplified in how each generates, regards, stores, disseminates and evaluates its form of knowledge. Further, there is a need to recognise that within each tradition of knowledge there is that which is pivotal to a learning society and that which is in need of modification.

How can innovative approaches in the use of information technologies assist in the interfacing of global and indigenous knowledge and contribute towards overcoming the larger global-local tension? Participants to this Conference are invited to consider what contribution, in particular, newer technologies and newer approaches to understanding intelligence may have to contribute as an answer.

Conference themes
The three Conference themes will be addressed by way of several sub-themes:

1. Global Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, Information Technologies and Multiple Intelligences: Towards a Learning Society

The sub-themes for this theme are:

* Global Knowledge for a Learning Society
* Indigenous Knowledge for a Learning Society
* Newer Technologies for a Learning Society
* Multiple Intelligences for a Learning Society

2. Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge in Educational Content and Teacher Education

The sub-themes for this theme are:

* Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge for Learning
* Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge in the Curriculum
* Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge in Evaluation and Assessment
* Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge for Teacher Education and Training

3. Partnerships for a Lifelong Learning Society

The sub-themes for this theme are:

* The Global and the Local in Partnership: Innovative Approaches

* Indigenous Knowledge and Information Technology in Partnership: Innovative Approaches

* The Learning and Multiple Intelligences Partnership: Innovative Approaches

* The Education-Business Partnership: Innovative Approaches

Community Participation, Quality, Equity, and Sustainability will traverse all themes.

Online Journal of American Indian Education

Bill Palmer from the Northern Territory University made me aware of the following development:

For the past 18 months, the staff of the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University, under a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, have been preparing the Journal of American Indian Education for release on the World Wide Web. Over 1,000 articles were scanned and converted to html spanning the forty-year history of this unique scholarly journal. The first thirty years of the journal are now available in full text for no cost at

The Journal of American Indian Education constitutes an invaluable record of the policy and thinking that have governed the development of the educational system for American Indians in the last half of the 20th Century.

We are proud that this resource can now be made available to scholars and educators around the world.

Octaviana V. Trujillo

Denis F. Viri
Associate Editor

Winds of Change

Winds of Change is the only American Indian-published and nationally distributed full-color magazine with a focus on career and educational advancement for Native people. Articles highlight cross-cultural issues of interest to both Native and non-Native people. In recent years, Winds of Change has explored such current topics as recovery and healing within Indian communities, mentoring, long-distance learning, and bridging traditional science with technology. The magazine is a forum for such internationally-recognized educators and writers who address important events, trends and concerns including Vine Deloria, Jr., Standing Rock Sioux; Don Coyhis, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican; Winona LaDuke, Anishinabe; (a couple of other well-known Native people who we have featured).

The artwork on the covers and throughout each issue of Winds of Change have left distinctive, memorable images in the minds of readers for many years. Prominent as well as rising Native artists whose work graces the pages of the magazine include Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo; Sam English, Turtle Mountain Chippewa; Ben Harjo, Seminole/Shawnee; and Ed Defender, Standing Rock Sioux.

Winds of Change is associated with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Winds of Change home page, with subscription advice, is at

Sharing our Pathways

Sharing our Pathways is the newsletter of the Alaskan Rural Systemic Initiative and it comes out five times a year. It is located at

The Summer 2000 issue is now available and includes an article entitled, "Developing culturally-responsive curriculum" by Esther Arnaq Ilutsik, which is worth a read.

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network has been developing school-level units which are culturally-appropriate. There are now 14 units available and more will be available soon. These can be found at

Learning, Knowledge and Cultural Context

This is the title of a special issue of the International Review of Education, with Linda King as guest editor. The issue was volume 45, nos 3/4, published in 1999.

One paper from the collection caught my eye. It was

Semali, L. (1999). Community as classroom: Dilemmas of valuing African indigenous literacy in education. International Review of Education, 45(3/4), 305-319.

The abstract starts: "The interface between school and indigenous knowledge of local plants is rarely a focus of attention in classrooms. The transfer of knowledge from everyday life from everyday life to schoolwork is not always valued or encouraged, and indigenous ways of knowing may not be recognized by teachers. This article defines and documents the interplay between indigenous folk knowledge and modern (western) curriculum practice in African schools within the framework of critical theory. ..."

Our Land, Our Future

This is an education kit for Indigenous students and their communities and was developed for use by teachers of 8-14 year old students living and learning in remote areas.

The Minerals Council of Australia in conjunction with the Northern Territory Minerals Council (Inc) and the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy have developed this kit to assist teachers and students understand the processes and issues involved in exploration and mining of minerals in remote areas.

If you would like any further information regarding this kit please contact Libby Beath at the Northern Territory Minerals Council (Inc) on (08) 8941 2699 (phone), (08) 8941 1625 (fax) or by e-mail at

Dennos Museum Center

On Saturday, April 29 at 1:00 P.M. at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan, a guided tour of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians' Natural Resources Office and the Arthur Duhamel Marina will commence. Tour guides will interpret the activities, mission, and research projects associated with the Natural Resources Office. In addition, the tour will include a visit to the Arthur Duhamel Marina where tribal fishers will exhibit their fishing boats. Native American Tradition in a Modern World focuses on the tribal fishers' views and beliefs regarding the management and conservation of Lake Michigan fisheries.

This program has been organized by the Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies at Western Michigan University in conjunction with its "Fish for All" exhibition, which is currently located at the Dennos Museum Center.

Following a 1979 U.S. District Court decision recognizing tribal treaty fishing rights, the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians created their own fisheries regulatory policy. The three tribes and the Little River Band of Ottawa have joined together to create the Chippewa Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority (COTFMA). Under a 1985 U.S. District Court Consent Order, COTFMA shares responsibility for fisheries management with state and federal fisheries officials. The tribes and COTFMA support fisheries research and education. Fishing is integral to tribal culture both today and in the past.

The Dennos Museum Center is located on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Admission to the program is $5.00. For more information, please contact the Dennos Museum at 231-922-1055.

Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies


Latest curriculum work from the Darwin group

Over the past 4 years a group of curriculum people in Darwin had been involved in writing curriculum materials, curriculum resources and professional development materials. Simultaneously they have produced a series of papers on how science education was to be made available to all NT students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Michael Michie presented a paper at the recent NT Institute of Education Research conference in Darwin, entitled "Revitalising Indigenous science education: A synthesis of the Northern Territory experience". This paper is now available at

Michael Michie and Mark Linkson are currently working on a paper to be presented at the ASERA Conference in Fremantle in July. It is entitled "Providing teacher support materials for curriculum developments incorporating intercultural understandings in teaching science". This paper will appear on the website at the time of the conference.

Mark Linkson is now acting principal at Warraber Island State School in Torres Strait (also known as Sue Island). He can be reached by e-mail there at

Compiled 30 May 2000

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