Indigenous education constitutes one of the great unresolved struggles for the advancement of moral life around the world. It does not exist in grand isolation, but is immersed in the major political, economic and cultural trends of the era, national and international. Indigenous peoples live in different countries where such trends are applied differently, where various forms of colonialism and racism still exist and where they may be a smaller or larger proportion of the population. In each case, a range of strategies need to be formulated to enable participation in the dominant society and economy and which contribute to social justice and peace. For those societies that espouse democratic intent, education is a key strategic component of providing information and knowledge for all participants regardless of socio-cultural background and of encouraging discussion and critique of social processes that form the basis of daily existence. Accordingly, Dewey’s elaboration provides guidance for the nature of equitable and inclusive education, when he states that ‘A democracy is more than a form of government, it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience’ (Dewey, 1916, p. 87). More than this, each generation must discover and experience democracy for itself. Within this philosophical framework, primary schooling can be conceived as providing broad experience for language and learning development and emphasises the care and safety of young children. Secondary schooling becomes more specific in arranging contact with different forms of knowledge and requires more abstract thought in senior years. Under these conditions, all Indigenous children should be able to be included in systems of education that are developed with philosophical integrity and respect. Unfortunately, most countries of the world have found this very difficult to achieve.
This book has been written to support the formal education of all Indigenous children who live in different circumstances. It takes Indigenous philosophy, learning and knowledge as its starting point, while recognising that in many colonial and post-colonial circumstances, Indigenous history, culture and language may not be valued. For this reason, Indigenous and non-Indigenous theorists and authors are included to demonstrate the recognised links between Indigenous and non-Indigenous understandings and practices of culture, knowledge and learning and therefore common approaches to formal education. Chapters are arranged in an integrated fashion to discuss issues regarding global political and economic influences and the notion of what it means to participate fully in society. Following Chapter 1 that outlines some global and contextual issues regarding Indigeneity, sovereignty and self-determination and the dominance of neoliberalism, Chapter 2 discusses Indigenous
There is a distinction to be made between education in the general sense for humans and formal schooling, understood as procedures to impart specified information, facts and ideas for children. Taking the famous statement by Dewey (1897) as a guide, that education, ‘is a process of living and not a
Policy documents regarding Indigenous education can usually be found at the international and national levels. For example, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN, 2019b) contains a number of important and strong statements regarding education for the guidance of member countries. Where Indigenous peoples constitute a minority of the general population, nation states such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and United States also have specific policy on education, health, housing and employment. Policy and report writing and formation does not appear to be the problem in making progress against racism, discrimination and social impediments, given that numerous policies and reports are available. The application of appropriate policy for diverse communities, policies that make a real difference is certainly problematic. This is mainly due to the clash of values, beliefs and cultures between dominant political and economic systems and their constituent communities and the extent of inequality that consequently exists across all aspects of society. In grappling with the problems of policy and the application of policy for Indigenous peoples, this book develops a realistic and integrated approach to schooling that takes as its centre point, Indigenous philosophy, learning and knowledge that exists in tension with dominant, non-Indigenous characteristics. At the same time, understandings and proposals for progressive