This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner Home Page About ANKN Publications Academic Programs Curriculum Resources Calendar of Events Announcements Site Index This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Example of Culturally Responsive Accreditation Standards

Based on Alaska Cultural Standards and Indicators for:

Program Graduates

Instructional Practice

Curriculum Design

Operational Characteristics

Community Involvement


Program Graduate Indicators


A. Program graduates are well grounded in the cultural heritage and traditions of their community.

Graduates who meet this standard are able to:

1) assume responsibility for their role in relation to the well-being of the cultural community and their life-long obligations as a community member;

2) recount their own genealogy and family history;

3) acquire and pass on the traditions of their community through oral and written history;

4) practice their traditional responsibilities to the surrounding environment;

5) reflect through their own actions the critical role that the local heritage language plays in fostering a sense of who they are and how they understand the world around them;

6) live a life in accordance with the cultural values and traditions of the local community and integrate them into their everyday behavior.

7) determine the place of their cultural community in the regional, state, national and international political and economic systems;


B. Program graduates are able to build on the knowledge and skills of the local cultural community as a foundation from which to achieve personal and academic success throughout life.

Graduates who meet this standard are able to:

1) acquire insights from other cultures without diminishing the integrity of their own;

2) make effective use of the knowledge, skills and ways of knowing from their own cultural traditions to learn about the larger world in which they live;

3) make appropriate choices regarding the long-term consequences of their actions;

4) identify appropriate forms of technology and anticipate the consequences of their use for improving the quality of life in the community.


C. Program graduates are able to actively participate in various cultural environments.

Graduates who meet this standard are able to:

1) perform subsistence activities in ways that are appropriate to local cultural traditions;

2) make constructive contributions to the governance of their community and the well-being of their family;

3) attain a healthy lifestyle through which they are able to maintain their own social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being;

4) enter into and function effectively in a variety of cultural settings.


D. Program graduates are able to engage effectively in learning activities that are based on traditional ways of knowing and learning.

Graduates who meet this standard are able to:

1) acquire in-depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interaction with Elders;

2) participate in and make constructive contributions to the learning activities associated with a traditional camp environment;

3) interact with Elders in a loving and respectful way that demonstrates an appreciation of their role as culture-bearers and educators in the community;

4) gather oral and written history information from the local community and provide an appropriate interpretation of its cultural meaning and significance;

5) identify and utilize appropriate sources of cultural knowledge to find solutions to everyday problems;

6) engage in a realistic self-assessment to identify strengths and needs and make appropriate decisions to enhance life skills.


E. Program graduates demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of the relationships and processes of interaction of all elements in the world around them.

Graduates who meet this standard are able to:

1) recognize and build upon the inter-relationships that exist among the spiritual, natural and human realms in the world around them, as reflected in their own cultural traditions and beliefs as well as those of others;

2) understand the ecology and geography of the bio-region they inhabit;

3) demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between world view and the way knowledge is formed and used;

4) determine how ideas and concepts from one knowledge system relate to those derived from other knowledge systems;

5) recognize how and why cultures change over time;

6) anticipate the changes that occur when different cultural systems come in contact with one another;

7) determine how cultural values and beliefs influence the interaction of people from different cultural backgrounds;

8) identify and appreciate who they are and their place in the world.





Instructional Practice Indicators


A. Instructors incorporate local ways of knowing and teaching in their work.

Faculty who meet this standard:

1) recognize the validity and integrity of the traditional knowledge system;

2) utilize Elders’ expertise in multiple ways in their teaching;

3) provide opportunities and time for students to learn in settings where local cultural knowledge and skills are naturally relevant;

4) provide opportunities for students to learn through observation and hands-on demonstration of cultural knowledge and skills;

5) adhere to the cultural and intellectual property rights that pertain to all aspects of the local knowledge they are addressing;

6) continually involve themselves in learning about the local culture.


B. Instructors use the local environment and community resources on a regular basis to link what they are teaching to the everyday lives of the students.

Faculty who meet this standard:

1) regularly engage students in appropriate projects and experiential learning activities in the surrounding environment;

2) utilize traditional settings such as camps as learning environments for transmitting both cultural and academic knowledge and skills;

3) provide integrated learning activities organized around themes of local significance and across subject areas;

4) are knowledgeable in all the areas of local history and cultural tradition that may have bearing on their work as an instructor, including the appropriate times for certain knowledge to be taught;

5) seek to ground all teaching in a constructive process built on a local cultural foundation.


C. Instructors participate in community events and activities in an appropriate and supportive way.

Faculty who meet this standard:

1) become active members of the community in which they teach and make positive and culturally appropriate contributions to the well being of that community;

2) exercise professional responsibilities in the context of local cultural traditions and expectations;

3) maintain a close working relationship with and make appropriate use of the cultural and professional expertise of their co-workers from the local community.


D. Instructors work closely with parents to achieve a high level of complementary educational expectations between home and school.

Faculty who meet this standard:

1) promote extensive community and parental interaction and involvement in their student’s education;

2) involve Elders, parents and local leaders in all aspects of instructional planning and implementation;

3) seek to continually learn about and build upon the cultural knowledge that students bring with them from their homes and community;

4) seek to learn the local heritage language and promote its use in their teaching.


E. Instructors recognize the full educational potential of each student and provide the challenges necessary for them to achieve that potential.

Faculty who meet this standard:

1) recognize cultural differences as positive attributes around which to build appropriate educational experiences;

2) provide learning opportunities that help students recognize the integrity of the knowledge they bring with them and use that knowledge as a springboard to new understandings;

3) reinforce the student’s sense of cultural identity and place in the world;

4) acquaint students with the world beyond their home community in ways that expand their horizons while strengthening their own identities;

5) recognize the need for all people to understand the importance of learning about other cultures and appreciating what each has to offer.




Curriculum Design Indicators


A. An Indigenous oriented curriculum reinforces the integrity of the cultural knowledge that students bring with them.

A curriculum that meets this standard:

1) recognizes that all knowledge is imbedded in a larger system of cultural beliefs, values and practices, each with its own integrity and interconnectedness;

2) insures that students acquire not only the surface knowledge of their culture, but are also well grounded in the deeper aspects of the associated beliefs and practices;

3) incorporates contemporary adaptations along with the historical and traditional aspects of the local culture;

4) respects and validates knowledge that has been derived from a variety of cultural traditions;

5) provides opportunities for students to study all subjects starting from a base in their own knowledge system.


B. An Indigenous oriented curriculum recognizes cultural knowledge as part of a living and constantly adapting system that is grounded in the past, but continues to grow through the present and into the future.

A curriculum that meets this standard:

1) recognizes the contemporary validity of much of the traditional cultural knowledge, values and beliefs, and grounds students learning in the principles and practices associated with that knowledge;

2) provides students with an understanding of the dynamics of cultural systems as they change over time, and as they are impacted by external forces;

3) incorporates the in-depth study of unique elements of contemporary life in Indigenous communities, such as the protection of land rights, subsistence, sovereignty and self-determination.


C. An Indigenous oriented curriculum uses the local language and cultural knowledge as a foundation for the rest of the curriculum.

A curriculum that meets this standard:

1) utilizes the local language as a base from which to learn the deeper meanings of the local cultural knowledge, values, beliefs and practices;

2) recognizes the depth of knowledge that is associated with the long inhabitation of a particular place and utilizes the study of "place" as a basis for the comparative analysis of contemporary social, political and economic systems;

3) incorporates language and cultural immersion experiences wherever in-depth cultural understanding is necessary;

4) views all community members as potential teachers and all events in the community as potential learning opportunities;

5) treats local cultural knowledge as a means to acquire the conventional curriculum content as outlined in state standards, as well as an end in itself;

6) makes appropriate use of modern tools and technology to help document and transmit traditional cultural knowledge;

7) is sensitive to traditional cultural protocol, including role of spirituality, as it relates to appropriate uses of local knowledge.


D. An Indigenous oriented curriculum fosters a complementary relationship across knowledge derived from diverse knowledge systems.

A curriculum that meets this standard:

1) draws parallels between knowledge derived from oral tradition and that derived from books;

2) engages students in the construction of new knowledge and understandings that contribute to an ever-expanding view of the world.


E. An Indigenous oriented curriculum situates local knowledge and actions in a global context.

A curriculum that meets this standard:

1) encourages students to consider the inter-relationship between their local circumstances and the global community;

2) conveys to students that every culture and community contributes to, at the same time that it receives from the global knowledge base;

3) incorporates the educational principles outlined in the Coolongatta Statement on Indigenous Rights in Education.




Operational Characteristics Indicators


A. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program fosters the on-going participation of Elders in all aspects of the schooling process.

A program that meets this standard:

1) maintains multiple avenues for Elders to interact formally and informally with students at all times;

2) provides opportunities for students to regularly engage in the documenting of Elders’ cultural knowledge and produce appropriate print and multimedia materials that share this knowledge with others;

3) includes explicit statements regarding the cultural values that are fostered in the community and integrates those values in all aspects of the school program and operation;

4) utilizes educational models that are grounded in the traditional world view and ways of knowing associated with the cultural knowledge system reflected in the community.


B. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program provides multiple avenues for students to access the learning that is offered, as well as multiple forms of assessment for students to demonstrate what they have learned.

A program that meets this standard:

1) utilizes a broad range of culturally appropriate performance standards to assess student knowledge and skills;

2) encourages and supports experientially oriented approaches to education that makes extensive use of community-based resources and expertise;

3) provides cultural and language immersion programs in which student acquire in-depth understanding of the culture of which they are members;

4) helps students develop the capacity to assess their own strengths and weaknesses and make appropriate decisions based on such a self-assessment.


C. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program provides opportunities for students to learn in and/or about their heritage language.

A program that meets this standard:

1) provides language immersion opportunities for students who wish to learn in their heritage language;

2) offers courses that acquaint all students with the heritage language of the local community;

3) makes available reading materials and courses through which students can acquire literacy in the heritage language;


D. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program has a high level of involvement of professional staff who are of the same cultural background as the students with whom they are working.

A program that meets this standard:

1) encourages and supports the professional development of local personnel to assume teaching and administrative roles in the program;

2) recruits and hires instructors whose background is similar to that of the students they will be teaching;

3) provides a cultural orientation and mentoring program for new personnel to learn about and adjust to the cultural expectations and practices of the surrounding community;

4) fosters and supports opportunities for staff to participate in professional activities and associations that help them expand their repertoire of cultural knowledge and pedagogical skills.


E. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program consists of facilities that are compatible with the community environment in which they are situated.

A program that meets this standard:

1) provides a physical environment that is inviting and readily accessible for local people to enter and utilize;

2) makes use of facilities throughout the community to demonstrate that education is a community-wide process involving everyone as teachers;

3) utilizes local expertise, including students, to provide culturally appropriate displays of arts, crafts and other forms of decoration and space design.


F. An Indigenous oriented educational institution/program fosters extensive on-going participation, communication and interaction between program and community personnel.

A program that meets this standard:

1) holds regular formal and informal events bringing together students, parents, instructors and other program and community personnel to review, evaluate and plan the educational program that is being offered;

2) provides regular opportunities for community participation in deliberations and decision-making on policy, curriculum and personnel issues related to the program;

3) sponsors on-going activities and events that celebrate and provide opportunities for students to put into practice and display their knowledge of local cultural traditions;

4) incorporates the participatory principles outlined in the Coolongatta Statement on Indigenous Rights in Education.



Community Involvement Indicators


A. A culturally supportive community incorporates the practice of local cultural traditions in its everyday affairs.

A community that meets this standard:

1) provides respected Elders with a place of honor in community functions;

2) models culturally appropriate behavior in the day-to-day life of the community;

3) utilizes traditional socialization practices that reinforce a sense of identity and belonging;

4) organizes and encourages participation of members from all ages in regular community-wide, family-oriented events;

5) incorporates and reinforces traditional cultural values and beliefs in all formal and informal community functions.


B. A culturally supportive community nurtures the use of the local heritage language.

A community that meets this standard:

1) recognizes the role that language plays in conveying the deeper aspects of cultural knowledge and traditions;

2) sponsors local heritage language immersion opportunities for young children when they are at the critical age for language learning;

3) encourages the use of the local heritage language whenever possible in the everyday affairs of the community, including meetings, cultural events, print materials and broadcast media;

4) assists in the preparation of curriculum resource material in the local heritage language for use in the education programs;

5) provides simultaneous translation services for public meetings where persons unfamiliar with the local heritage language are participants.


C. A culturally supportive community takes an active role in the education of all its members.

A community that meets this standard:

1) encourages broad-based participation of parents in all aspects of their children’s education, both in and out of school;

2) insures active participation by community members in reviewing all decision-making regarding initiatives that have bearing on the education of their members;

3) encourages and supports members of the local community who wish to pursue further education;

4) engages in subsistence activities, sponsors cultural camps and hosts local events that provide an opportunity for community members to actively participate in and learn appropriate cultural values and behavior;

5) provides opportunities for all community members to acquire and practice the appropriate knowledge and skills associated with local cultural traditions.


D. A culturally supportive community nurtures family responsibility, sense of belonging and cultural identity.

A community that meets this standard:

1) fosters cross-generational sharing of parenting and child-rearing practices;

2) creates a supportive environment for youth and adults to participate in local affairs and acquire the skills to be contributing members of the community;

3) adopts the adage, "It takes the whole village to raise a child."


E. A culturally supportive community assists new members in learning and utilizing local cultural traditions and practices.

A community that meets this standard:

1) sponsors a cultural orientation and community mentoring program for new personnel to learn about and adjust to the cultural expectations and practices of the community;

2) sponsors regular community potlucks to celebrate significant events and to promote on-going interaction and communication between all its members;

3) attempts to articulate the cultural knowledge, values and beliefs that it wishes to pass on to future generations;

4) establishes a program to insure the availability of Elders’ expertise in all aspects of the life in the community, including the educational programs.


F. A culturally supportive community contributes to all aspects of curriculum design and implementation for local educational programs.

A community that meets this standard:

1) takes an active part in the development of the mission, goals and content of local educational programs;

2) promotes the active involvement of students with Elders in the documentation and preservation of traditional knowledge through a variety of print and multimedia formats;

3) facilitates student involvement in community activities and encourages the use of the local environment as a curricular resource;

4) promotes active community involvement in all aspects of educational programs and institutions impacting its members.





Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 14, 2006