David Whitehorse

DAVID WHITEHORSE

I’m David Whitehorse.  I’m associate professor of multicultural, multilingual, and social science education at uh California State University San Marcos.  Uh, been there going on nine years.

Well, when you—when you raise a question about what’s unique to Native Americans—Native Americans, uh students in terms of needs and strengths, um I would sort of question the term unique.  I think—I think things that apply to the population in general, apply to American Indian or Native American students as well. And um just in terms of needs, uh needs may be the same but I think they’re more intense um in the Native community.  Health concerns, education, um the whole um—the whole framework of uh, uh how people deal with the economy and things of—things of that nature.  Uh, historically, uh Native people have been in a dependency um kind of model in the—in the United States and it is only been recently that large numbers of tribes um and tribal groups have actually started to take control over a lot of their resources and—and their own education and their own healthcare delivery and things of that nature.  So all of that is uh post-public law uh 93-638, which is the Indian Self Determination Act.  Um, so—so I guess the needs are, you know, are pretty much the same.  Uh, in terms of strengths, again like other populations in other—we can make some broad generalizations.  Uh, one in which would be that I think Indian students are a lot more resilient uh in some ways then are a lot of other young people are and especially those who come from reservation environments, especially those who have been brought up in more traditional context.  Um, some of my research centered on uh the um, the culture component of being a Native person from a particular tribal group.  And what that meant in terms of uh potential to persist in higher education in particular, but I think we could generalize to education at—at large that this notion of resilience and cultural congruence pointed to peers is—is an important strength that—that Indian um adolescents and youth have to a greater degree then other populations because I think it’s been—been more deeply internalized. 

OK, um if there were—if there were a single thing that I would want teachers to understand about working with American Indian or Native American students, I think it would center around the idea that uh all of these—all of these uh adolescents and youth come from specific ethno-national context.  Uh, we generally refer to their group as a—as a tribe.  And so each tribal group is separate and distinct.  And I think the common failing is in education um—especially those for teachers or—or other students who are not familiar with Indian existence, they tend to look at Indians as being this homogenous and monolithic population that um, you know, everybody does the same thing and, you know, we talk about, “Well do you speak Indian” as—as though there’s a single language.  Um, and there are over 350, 370 Native languages that are still spoken in the United States.  So um, I think that that’s—that’s the single most important thing.  Secondarily to that, um, but also very much related is that all of these young people come from sovereign nations and the sovereign nations status of Native groups in—in the United States, places them in an absolute unique position. Um, if you want to um kind of make some determination of—of how sovereignty plays out in the lives of young people, I think most—I think most kids in schools uh know that they come from a sovereign entity.  They probably know more about their own political background uh and their—their socio-cultural and political status in the United States then any body else does.  And that can be uh—that can be negative in a way because then again you start looking in stereotypic ways at—at uh what happens with Indian kids.  But in a very positive way, I think that’s one of those things that builds resilience.  They do know more about who they are, where they come from, and their identification as individuals is always linked to their tribal identification.  Uh, you’re not an Indian person without—without your tribe. So there’s a certain built in support system or support mechanism.  Combine that with cultural and understanding and—and combine that with those other things and you get a special quality of resilience that most kids don’t have.

I use to teach a course in uh—in Federal Indian policy, um, when I was teaching in American Indian studies.  Um, I don’t want to repeat the entire course.  I would suggest that if one really wanted to get uh, uh really good understanding of where Native Amer—Native American children are in the realm of education, uh that—that would best be achieved by reading Joel Springs book on deculturalization.  Um, Joel has put together um this wonderful history of what’s happened in terms of uh US policy with regard to Indians and education. And he talks about uh everything from um the segregation of Indians, and he talks about deculturalization from a standpoint of trying to be a—have Indian people acculturated into the mainstream.  He talks about uh a lot of the things that we think today as being stereotypic of Indians as actually being part of the formation of US policy. Um, he centers on the late 19th century and boarding schools and things of that nature when, for the most part, US policy with regards to Indian education was of the vocational variety.  Uh, Captain James Pratt and his model of Indian education was boarding schools are modeled after um the US military and Carlisle Barracks got turned into the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.  So I think there’s an awful lot of um—of the policy that centers in 19th century thought about—about Indians. Um, on the positive side, um public law in 93-638, the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act uh provides some phenomenal opportunities.  The um—the ability of tribes to control their own education as sovereign entities, to take control over their own education systems and in um some of the better schools, educate their own children and youth and adolescents uh in their own language, in their tribal language, supplemented by—by English and the development of English literacy along with the maintenance of—of literacy in um—in their own language.  Um, there’s another um more recent um what we’ve—the existence of a Indian colleges um is more recent in that uh Denay College or Navajo Community College was created uh some 40 years ago or more.  Um, but more recently um there’s been this really wonderful development of Indian control community colleges and, in some cases, four-year universities.  Um, I would point to uh just a couple Ogaloco College and Synticglestic University in South Dakota as examples of small tribally controlled colleges which now expand that continuum of education and provide opportunities there um that I think are—are more culturally congruent and really, really important in preparation of—of kids to live in the American mainstream. Um, Haskell Indian School, which was once part of that boarding school model, is now Haskell Indian Nations University.  So those are the kinds of policies that I think, you know, I think are really important.  Um, in terms of local policy, um I—I’m just going to go over this briefly because I think—I think its important.  Um, since Native people, uh because of their particular status as sovereign entities, come under the Federal government, in large measure a lot of states don’t regulate uh or don’t even have a hand in any of the legal policy decisions, the legislative policy decisions regarding Indian people, especially those who live on a reservation.  Uh, Native people who live off a reservation are, you know, essentially no different in terms of their treatment educationally then anybody else and that’s mixed, it’s good—both good and bad. Um, but since the early 1950’s—1953 with Indian term—termination, the ending of tribal status for—for Indian groups, um there have been some states that have taken a greater hand uh because of termination policies—taken a greater hand in what happens on—on reservations.  California, in particular, is one of those states.  It’s what’s called a Public Law 280 state.  A law is for—for a state jurisdiction on tribal lands and in matters of uh, Indian health, education, welfare uh in the same sense that those things were—were largely Federal government responsibility beforehand.  So uh where you have sort of this state and Federal control uh it raises some real serious questions about—about maybe policies that don’t always uh jive with one another.  Uh, maybe policies that—that detract from the sovereignty and autonomous status of Indian nations and—and things of that nature.  So, you know, I think people should—should really understand that—that where that exists, state policy generally um is not as supportive as Federal policy has been, and Federal policy has not been supportive in the main of—of a lot of these things until recently.

Yeah. Um, the—the question of what—what constitutes appropriate um, cultural material, curricular materials for America Indian students uh is an important and an ongoing question, if not a dilemma.  Um, I spent an awful lot of time working with particular tribes uh and—and groups of people, not only in California but nationwide, in terms of helping them get appropriate representation of their people into uh what is ultimately a state mandated curriculum. Um, that’s very difficult.  A lot of the stereotypes in our curriculum are stereotypes that—that are holdovers from the 19th century. Uh, Indians are still represented in some text books as savages and as being in need of civilization, um as being either um—and these are generalizations, but uh in some text Indians are represented as the noble red man living in harmony with his environment and kind of the uh nice ecological uh model of the Indian. And that contrasts with the representation of the drunken Indian, the savage Indian, uh the Indian who is the impediment to progress and so on.  So, big question, how do you change that? Um, I would stress working with local groups as well with Indian advocacy organizations, um the National Indian Education Association, in my case, California Indian Education Association.  And looking at the kinds of things that can be infused into the curriculum from a multicultural perspective that then says um, “Let’s get rid of some of these stereotypes and let’s actually talk about demythafying the stereotypes and replacing it with more appropriate information.” And that appropriate information that comes from the voice of tribal people, not necessarily from somebody else’s, you know, anthropologist or historians interpretation of what’s appropriate for Indian people. Um, so a lot of my work and—and some recent work with some colleagues of mine has been to look at um the state mandated curriculum, especially in 4th grade and 3rd grade (interruption).  Um, a lot of my recent work in—in working with local uh, Indian tribes in southern California has centered around um just what I’m talking about.  How do we—how do we get these more appropriate representations of Indians into the 3rd and 4th grade curriculum where the majority of the early experience with regard to Indians occurs. Now doing that doesn’t mean uh that that’s going to change when a teacher dresses up a class of kids in crumpled brown paper bags to represent buckskin and, you know, does cardboard feathers in their hair and so on.  I mean it can’t undo that kind of damage.  But—but if we really—if we really wanted to hit in the curriculum where—where we need to make the most uh effort and hopefully the most affect, then across the nation 4th grade is usually where you study your own state’s history, and that’s critically where—where appropriate representations of indigenous people should occur.  So um starting there uh rather than going to uh what some standardized test has as a basis—especially a high stakes standardized test—has as a representation of Native people.  Uh, going directly to the tribal groups in the state and saying, “Here’s what’s presented.  Tell us what’s wrong with that.  Tell us what you would do and the things that you would stretch in—in terms of appropriate representation.” And universally I hear things like, “Well, you know, don’t dress kids up like Indians, don’t expect them to do Indian crafts unless they can do Indian artwork authentically.  Uh, don’t misrepresent our history.  Talk about us in the present day, not just as historical figures,” and—and that sort of thing.  And—and I would say, you know, for those who um—you know, for those who are looking at—at opportunities to uh—to really revise the curriculum, then, you know, go to the people who are involved in curriculum revision and go to the people uh who are going to be part of that curriculum as subject matter and say to those Native folks, you know, let’s start building on this together.  Let’s keep it within the context of what we need to teach young people, but let’s certainly start with your own identity in the present day and then construct all of that history around it so that you get represented as having made some very important contributions to—to our own—well, as a social scientist, you know—our own history and—and—and so on.  Rather then taking it from some outside source. (interruption)  And I here people who have been in the education field for a long time just say, “Well, we really can’t do that, you know, because—you know, we’ve got this curriculum that we’re suppose to deliver.”  And I say, “Well, if you’re going to deliver it appropriately, then maybe we need to look at changing that big curriculum, you know, in a whole curricular issue.” 

In the question about how does one uh really value the importance of—of linking uh curriculum uh—the whole process of teaching and learning to communities I think is—I think is really critical. Um, I want to say that it’s more than just curriculum. Uh, I think in working with—with Native children and adolescents, how we teach is probably more important than what we teach. And the only way you’re going to know that is by teachers interacting in some way with the Native community so they can understand not only what the differences are between the macro culture and Native communities, but why those differences exist.  Um, understanding of—of different learning styles and different cognitive processes and so on that are not better or worse then anybody else’s but are simply different ways of processing information.  So if we want to—wanted to center it on uh a question earlier that asked about needs of Indian students in the—in the classroom, I would say one of—one of the needs um that can only come from understanding the community—un, one of the needs is the need that Indian students have for an understanding of why they are the way they are.  Uh, we tend to put all our students together into one little finite box and say we’re going to teach in this particular way and we fail to recognize that most Indian kids are more reflective learners.  Uh, they don’t do the 15-second response, you know; hand in the air kind of thing. They internalize things. Uh, they learn an awful lot by observation.  Um, and in some ways uh when we try to structure Native kids in the—in more rigid ways, even in fairly open classrooms, uh but when try to structure them to kind of an Anglo perspective of teaching and learning um we fail to understand that even at a very early age, they’re considered in some traditional context as being adults in process of becoming.  So they’re children who are allowed to be children, but there are also expectations that they have a say in how they internalize information, how they think, and what they do with the information that they get. That’s what I’m talking about is adults in—in the process of becoming.  Um, and that’s really difficult to—to mediate in a classroom.  Um, you don’t find that out unless you’re actively engaged with Native communities, with parents.  Um, I hear an awful lot of educators who say, “Oh those, you know, those Indian parents, they don’t care about their kids education. They don’t hold the same value for a white man’s education.” Um, I think the reality is as I’ve worked with I think over 30 different tribes directly on education programs, is Indian parents care about the education of their children even if it’s perceived as the white man’s education.  They just care about it in different ways. If educators don’t go into the communities to talk with parents and find out their own thoughts and so on, they don’t know how they value it in different ways. 

Um, if one wants to look at how the interaction between parent and child is different in the Native community as compared to the macro culture, um I would say the only way that you could find that out is to by—by going out and observing it.  Uh, I wouldn’t want to advance any generalization about those kinds of interactions because many of them are traditionally tribally specific. Let me share an example.  We have um—we have this contemporary notion that um the American macro cultural family is a nuclear family and the Indian family is an extended family. Um, but I would point out the—depending on the tribal background, the relationships of all of these members in the extended family is radically different then other extended family con—context or constructs uh in that.  In more traditional societies, the most important thing is probably the sibling group. And the greatest interaction as—as far as education, discipline, the education centering around morals, values, culture and so on, comes from aunts and uncles and grandparents as opposed to biological parents. And biological parents are actually more distant from those—from those close relationships. But that varies by tribe.  Uh, when I worked with—with people um—various rare Pueblo people, even though um Tao people um culturally and linguistically are very much alike in—in these different pueblos or—or reservation lands. The interaction between parents and—and their children vary greatly.  Depends whether it’s traditionally a matrilineal or patrilineal society.  Um, of course, in the—in the American macro culture, I mean that’s—that’s a new point.  We’re patrilineal and when it—when a teacher sees something different, uh it usually says, ‘Oh, we’ve got to correct that by making people this way.  And what that teacher may be trying to correct is very important uh conceptual and contextual referent for—for the child that comes from perhaps living in a matrilineal society.  Um, so given that example, I—I kind of go back to this notion of if you really want to see how the interaction occurs, you need to go see how the interaction occurs.

Um, um the big question, ‘How does one develop relationships with the Native community that would allow a non-Native person to interact on these very uh—on these very intimate levels with—with Indian people.’  Um, I think that, you know, if we believe in life long learning and learning is a process, I’m just going to caution that this is going to be kind of longitudinal in terms of how we—how we get there.  Uh, it takes time. Uh, it takes time.  Um, perhaps starting um—starting going to Indian events, watching with out doing some kind of anthropological study, but just watching what’s going on. Getting to know people, getting know uh how the—how the Native community functions as a unit. Uh, it means uh going out and talking with parents um without making judgments about their—their lifestyle and things of that nature.  Uh, it means, first of all, as a teacher being—begin kind of a reflective practitioner who is constantly thinking about what kinds of ideas and stereotypes and emotions do I carry into the enterprise that might be a lens that filters out important stuff. Um, I hear a lot of teachers who say, “Oh, I’d never go out to a reservation. They’re—they’re poor and they’re depressing’ and—and, you know, what they’re really saying in the back of their mind is ‘It’s not safe, I might get scalped.’  They have that notion of—of Native people as being uncivilized and so on.  And don’t know that there’s a whole different value system that’s playing out there that once understood will help provide a context for—for being able to respond uh with Indian people. Um, (clears throat).  Excuse me.  I’d also—I’d also say um teachers have to really do their homework. They have to read um, authentic materials about local people so that they have at least their own cognitive understanding of the local people uh and then build on that with—with personal interaction.  Uh, for a lot of folks I recognize uh, and recommend actually, um a need to have kind of an intermediary.  Um, sometimes going into a traditional Indian community is, you know, is a quantum leap if one comes from the American macro culture. I mean, different value systems, different belief systems, and so on.  Intermediaries. Um, Native people who are in public positions uh who are working in Indian education, employment, health care, people who work with uh Indian centers in urban areas and things of that nature.  Uh, it’s probably easier to find one’s way into an urban Indian community than a rural or reservation Indian community.  Um, but some of the difficulties remain the same.  And the large one being this complete difference in terms of value systems and—and the way the world works for them.  Um, but it’s—I think it’s basically uh—if I were going to say anything to anybody about how to do it, uh get rid of all your preconceived notions about who these different people are and find ways on a human level uh in a very non-judgmental and non-discriminatory way, just go out and say, ‘You’re interested in not so much in learning about them, but learning about how you can help their children be successful in school.’  And if you take that approach, you’ll find that a lot of people will welcome you with open arms and you may find yourself learning a lot more than you intended to at the onset. 

OK.  Well, when one raises a question about—about literacy development um I think we’re dealing with—with something that in the Indian world doesn’t come out as being separate and distinct in terms of academic development. Um, and I tend to think that—that literacy development should not be separate and distinct from other content areas. I think—I think being able to read and write across the curriculum and being able to communicate across the—the curriculum is critically important for Native people as well as for all kids in—in school.  Uh, so the teacher who focuses on English language arts as a separate and distinct thing, without it being linked in reality to what goes on in that—in that child’s experience uh is probably missing the boat.  Uh, there’s a certain pragmatism associated with Native people in that if I can’t connect it to my own belief system and understand it within my own contextual framework, it raises a question of why do I need to know it. So I think—I think teachers who are really going to teach Indian children well are going to allow them time to be reflective learners, uh certainly allow them to work cooperatively because um a very appropriate generalization, although not absolutely true for everybody, and our appropriate generalization for Indian kids is they will work better together in cooperative or collaborative groups then they will individually and that’s based on the idea that, you know, Indian kids won’t want to stand out above the group. So if one child develops literacy at a faster rate, sometimes they’ll even suppress that so that they won’t appear to be superior to their peers. So doing a lot of group interaction and actually having um—having Indian children teach one another uh as part of that component of literacy development I think is—I think is really critically important. Um, I think that what’s really difficult is again, we don’t really recognize that there are really some phenomenal differences uh tribally.  So if we’re in a urban setting, as an example, and you have two Navajo students or Denay students in a classroom and uh one California Indian and one Lakota child, um they may not necessarily want to be all grouped together so, you know, you’ve got the Indian ability group or something—something of that nature, but certainly because the belief system is that, you know, we can do this collaboratively and cooperatively, one might want to use that as a—as a technique, but certainly not isolate them as this separate and distinct group.  Because then that really looks like an ability group and then—and then we start to develop these hierarchies between—between the different groups and that—and that’s certainly not important or appropriate I should say.

Um, I really like the fact that somebody raised the question of where do libraries fit into uh—fit into this whole discussion. Uh, I’ve been rather fortunate uh in that I had uh—I had the opportunity to work with um a colleague who is an academic librarian. Uh, actually got her involved in working with tribal libraries uh in an era when they were, you know, going through the process of fits and starts of—of getting established. And working with a—working with very, very small libraries on very remote reservations in—in San Diego county. And my colleague, Bonnie Biggs and I, in fact co-authored an article on the history of tribal libraries and talked about how libraries in a reservation context become much more than just repositories for books. They become uh places for social interaction.  They become places for um—for the community to uh really become involved in kind of this academic arena of literacy development and tribal libraries tend to be co-located with or also function as um tribal museums, a place for uh tribal archives and records uh, you know, not just a repository for—for information but more of a very broad service to the Native community.  Um, so this whole idea in library science of making a library service oriented uh actually is a no-brainer for—for Native people because that’s just the way it plays out.  Um, I think that uh—I think that if one really wants to look at um maybe the best information about the role of tribal libraries, uh look at the recent work by um Professor Bonnie Biggs, um my colleague.  Uh, look at some of the stuff of Lotsy Patterson, who was probably the—the preeminent Indian librarian nationwide.  Uh, look at some of the stuff that people are doing today as ongoing research into how libraries function, where they—where they fit in, and so on.  Um, in the state of New Mexico as an example, um the state has actually put an awful lot of uh support toward tribal libraries, not only because they function for—for the tribal group themselves, but also they represent sort of uh regional libraries uh that are used by non-Indian people as well.  Um, so the library itself is an invaluable resource, uh, dubbly so if it has a service approach rather than a repository approach and where things that are connected to the life of a community um are centered in—in the library.  Uh, I worked with a library that uh became the—the locust for—for community college classes held on the reservation.  Um, the—the tribal complex then became open to people from the outside community who after sitting in class in—in tribal libraries and seeing all of contemporary Indian existence for that reservation around them, walked away from that experience with a completely different picture of what some of their neighbors were all about. So, you know, libraries I think are just phenomenal opportunities. I don’t think we even realized a tenth of their potential in terms of um, you know, improving education for Indian kids as well as—as improving the general quality of life, if you will, uh intellectual life certainly uh for tribes and—and reservation communities.

Well, I’m going to—I’m going to—I’m going to start out on talking about um, high stakes assessment um with kind of a historical perspective.  Um, a number of years ago California had what was called the California Learning Assessment System or CLAS.  This was built on a prior assessment system called the CAPP.  The California—now it escapes me—California Academic something or other.  Um, at any rate, as a high stakes on demand text uh the CLAS, or the California Learning Assessment System, had some real opportunities. It was one of the first tests that uh even looked like it was multi-cultural in its—in its design. Um, unfortunately uh there were a number of things that—that were problematic with that test.  Uh, not from the standpoint of—of what the test hoped to achieve, but the public perception.  The public perception was the CLAS test asked for uh students to talk about how they felt as well as how they thought. Uh, there was some notion that uh some of the questions asked for relationships to their own experience and then were—were deemed uh to be invasions of privacy uh and whole host of other things that were—that were going on and uh some significant costs associated in that it wasn’t a paper and pencil scan tron kind of instrument and therefore uh had to have people who were doing interpretation based on uh a Rubric system uh rather then the, you know, one right answer kind of thing.  California at that time made the decision that they would defund uh the test, which was polite saying, ‘We’re going to get rid of it by taking the money away.’  And in its place what has uh kind of blossomed very rapidly in California is uh the SAT 9 test, another high stakes uh test which has now gone back uh to the old CAPP test. It doesn’t have the multicultural attributes.  Uh, it’s one of those paper and pencil, there’s only one right answer, high stakes standardized uh instrument.  The old CLAS, I thought was—the old CLAS test, I thought, was probably uh one of the best opportunities for having a more appropriate performance assessment of students because there were numbers of ways that they could respond to extended response questions and—and things of that nature.  Um, in all of this discussion my major uh cautionary note, if you will, in terms of standardized testing is most people will come to realize that standardized testing is—it tests more about how you take a test then it tests what students know.  Uh, if we are going to develop something multiculturally, that brings in um a lot of perspectives, including those of—of Native people and local communities and so forth, um the notion of the one right answer standardized test is not applicable because it doesn’t make allowances for different views or different lenses looking at the same kinds of information.  (cough)  I—and I’m not anti-test um, I’m just looking at test appropriateness and would suggest that we all consider more appropriate performance assessments as—as more robust measures of what students know.  Uh, you know, the old idea that if you take a standardized test you do a data dub—within three weeks of taking a test, you’ve lost 80 percent of the information that—that you put out on the test.  With more appropriate performance assessments, there’s such a phenomenal re—retention of information that we would be well advised to uh—to adopt those kinds of things. Uh, let me just refocus that a little bit on the Native community. If one use—uses a more robust performance oriented test with Indian kids, especially those who come from traditional contest, uh we find out they do phenomenally well when we put them into a high stress.  High stakes kind of environment, we find that they do very poorly.  Um, we’ve tended to base our perceptions of education on these poor results when it’s not the kids who are deficient; it’s the testing system that deficient. 

Um, California State University at San Marcos has a middle school program uh that uh I think two years ago uh won an award from the National Association for Multicultural Education based on uh being an innovative program that infused multicultural content um throughout the entire continuum of—of course work and—and field experience and—and so forth.  Um, at our university in our college of education, every program has that infusion of—of multicultural content.  Um, and that’s by faculty vote.  It’s a faculty decision that we are going to make—that we were going to meet the emerging CLAD compenancies.  That’s California—or CLAD is uh Cognitive Language and Academic Development compenancies uh from the state of California. Uh, so the CLAD compenancies were infused in everything that we did because we recognized um what the diversity of the population uh—that what was going to—what was going to happen is it was going to become more diverse?  It was not, you know, it was not going to be the homogenous population that—that we expected. And certainly if we were going to have the ability to teach all children in the classroom, then every teacher needed to have all of those skills. The middle school program uh approached it in a little bit different way then—then some of the other programs did. And given that it was smaller, um and had some very good relationships in middle schools in—in the community, it was site-based as an example—um given all of the—all of the positive things that were going on with this middle school program, the professors working in it in collaboration with schools and kids in schools were able to create a path by walking it.  They did this whole developmental thing that resulted in a program uh that was very rich in terms of wide array of teaching methodologies, developmentally in age and grade appropriate uh kinds of strategies for teaching and learning. Um, certainly the infusion of multicultural content at very, very critical levels when we’re talking in uh 6th grade learning about uh ancient societies, in 7th grade we’re talking about um up to uh mid-evil to early modern development and then in the 8th grade we’re right back into a deeper investigation of—of United States history as—as an example.  So, uh this—this program took all of these attributes of multicultural education and just, you know, just expanded it into everything. Integrated uh--thematic integration across disciplines as well. Uh, which really kind of tied the curriculum together in a more holistic fashion and even though it—it developed um compenancy um in all of the—all of the content areas or our teachers were compenant in all of the content areas, uh it really focused on this more holistic learning, making relationships to kids own experiences for an example, I add what we all know as pretty difficult age for, you know, pre-adolescence and so on.  Um, So my association in—in teaching uh in that program uh a number of—a number of semesters was that it was uh one of the best programs out there and certainly the uh the awards that it received um, you know, were—were represented and awarded what it was doing. 

Um, I don’t know if I have any real—any real uh soapbox—soapbox issues. I do have something that I—that I will share with you as—as maybe accumulation of all of this. And this is more than—than the perspective of a person who um, you know, who has lived in a more traditional, Native tribal environment um, but I’m also, you know, because I’m also half Irish as well as being half Indian, half Lakota, um I really understand uh in my own uh growth and maturation and hopefully intellectual development over the last 58 years, um I really—I really think that the critical issue that we face in education today is this whole issue of how do we deal with multiculturalism um as a reality.  Um, I think about all of the resistance that I see on a—on a daily basis.  When I—when I teach aspiring teachers in a course called “The Role of Cultural Diversity in School Languages” and of the introductory—it’s not the only, but it’s the introductory, multicultural education course, um I see the phenomenal resistance that comes from the macro cultural, essentially Anglo protestant way—way of thinking. And the difficulty that I have is that if we’re not able to expand our consciousness about teaching and learning to include all children from all perspectives in affirming and supporting ways, then what we are going to continue to do is what is already emerged in—in California in some schools and nationwide.  Uh, the idea of a—of a two-tear education system, one for the more affluent, macro culture and an education system for the historically disenfranchised populations, uh, I see a further uh resegregation um that, you know, continues—continues unabated.  Uh, especially as we have more language diversity we tend to segregate kids out by language ability. We—we don’t—we don’t segregate by not having children of color in our schools. But we segregate within our schools and between classrooms. When we pull out all of the kids with different uh, home language, um and treat them um like kids with special needs and use the same language us—you know, associated with them. We call them resource kids.  But they’re multicultural resource kids, not special needs kids. Um, I—we’ve got to—we’ve got a phenomenal uh issue that—that we have to wrestle with until every aspiring teacher or practicing teacher kind of sits back and as a reflective practitioner, looks at who and what they are.  Where they’ve come from.  They are not really going to be able to understand all of these things that are going to allow them to open up the curriculum, um, four different modes of teaching and—and so on.  And—and I would go back to um a 1988 article um one of our colleagues by the name of Don Locke wrote um at that time a very—a very provocative article that made a comparison between his essential Anglo white students and Japanese and Japanese/American students.  And metaphorically it was something about uh teaching the culturally different stor—student growing bonsai trees or pine trees, something of that—something of that nature.  And—and he reposed in that and some of his later work. There—there was a cross-cultural awareness continuum um that was this whole process of steps um that teachers should go through in order to be really effective and really effective not only um for a single group of students, but for all students. So if there’s a cautionary tale in all of this uh my caution is uh let’s find ways to—to rayify the notion of multiculturalism as the most positive attribute of what we’re doing in education as opposed to constantly trying to figure out ways to get rid of the issue of multiculturalism and go back to teaching the same way we were taught or our parents were taught and so on.  So that’s my hot button issue for the day. (interruption)  And again, it’s all a matter of perception, you know, because empirically we know that multiculturally classrooms that—that function well function better then those which are acculturative or—or assimilative. I mean that’s why this organization is here.