• Diideets'ii in our pathway (in our future): Gwich'in educational philosophy and transformative praxis in K-12 education

      Fisher, Charleen; Leonard, Beth; Schneider, William; Aruskevich, Kas; Koskey, Michael (2018-05)
      Gwich'in pedagogy is largely undocumented in Western academia. Gwich'in epistemology includes holistic perspectives on all Western content areas, and crosses the usual segmented knowledge genres. Inter-generational transmission of Gwich'in knowledge occurs in many places including the natural environment, with long-standing cultural ties to place. Gwich'in pedagogy is relational, place-based, holistic, cooperative, purposeful and subjective. Gwich'in gaagwidandaii, or communal knowledge, predates the inception of many world societies. Gwich'in concepts presented in this paper will include the introduction of a framework called Kheegwadadhaak'a', translated to mean, "We just keep the fire going." This framework is a visualization. Important concepts of Gwich'in pedagogy include traditional ideas of assessments or standards using the phrases nil'ee t'ah'in and ch'aadaii, both meaning that someone has a natural talent or is adept at something, for girls and boys, respectively. Learning, or gik'yanjii in Gwich'in, also means "to find out, notice or sense." This comprehension includes a deep, contextual understanding of traditional Gwich'in knowledge. The three types of Gwich'in knowledge are gaagwidandaii, gihk'agwagwaanjik, and gaatr'oahtan. These translate as"collectively known, individually learned, and taught knowledge," respectively. Gwich'in have a complex and relational pedagogy. This pedagogy attempts to achieve contextuality, or duulee ginlii, which translates as "proficiency, agility, ability to do almost anything, being extremely good at anything they do, or overall 'sharpness' in life." This process is importantly both a communal and personal journey.