Aboriginal world views and their implications for the education of Aboriginal adults
Martin, Peter Robert
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The purpose of this thesis is to gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal world views and determine their implications for the education of Aboriginal adults. Aboriginal world views are the fundamental assumptions or deep structures which form the basis of Aboriginal cultures. World views are mediated and expressed through language, dance, art, and religion. In this research I chose to gain; a greater understanding of Aboriginal world views by, interviewing the Aboriginal staff and students of the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.I began the fieldwork for this ethnographic study in June of 1992 by interviewing the staff and students of Project Refocus, by taking part in two classes with the students of the Start Program, and by entering into conversations with individual staff members from a variety of programs. Four of the participants in these interviews: became key respondents who acted as editors of my written work and guides for my ongoing investigation. I built upon the knowledge gained in our conversations by reading the' literature pertaining to Aboriginal world views. This knowledge was further supplemented by my participation in such Aboriginal ceremonies as the sweatlodge and the pipe ceremony. Personal narrative is entwined with academic discourse throughout the thesis in order to reflect the manner in which I gained a greater understanding of Aboriginal world views.Examination of the interview transcripts revealed two themes common to the world views of the Aboriginal participants. The first theme, harmonious relationships, demonstrates the value these participants place on living in harmony with the other human and non-human entities who inhabit the world. Recognizing that all entities are important to the continuation of life, the participants in this research work to enhance and preserve their relationships with their human and non-human cousins. The second theme, spirituality, refers to many participants' belief that all aspects of the natural world possess, spiritual characteristics. The spiritual dimensions of nature link human and non-human together in kinship, and lead to greater knowledge and understanding.Having examined the two themes of harmonious relationships and spirituality, I go on to discuss their implications for the education of Aboriginal adults. Foremost among these is that knowledge has a social purpose; it is not acquired for personal gain but is to be used for the benefit of the human and non-human community. Second, Aboriginal peoples consider that the relationship between educator and learner lies at the heart of the educative process in contrast to Euro-Canadian education which stresses the transmission of skills and knowledge. Third, education does not interrupt the harmonious interrelationships found in nature. Finally, approaches to the education of Aboriginal adults should incorporate their spiritual understandings, for their knowledge and wisdom are spiritually inspired.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeStiffarm, Lenore; Flynn, Mark; Collins, Michael
aboriginal adult education
aboriginal world views
Canada - aboriginal peoples - spiritual practices
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