Guidelines for Cross-Cultural Orientation Programs
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Cover photo: Old Minto
Elders Academy, August 1996. Clockwise beginning front left: Eleanor Laughlin,
Jerry Lipka, Walkie Charles, Geraldine Charlie, and Catherine Attla. Photo
courtesy of AINE.
Assembly of Alaska Native Educators
February 3, 2003
Published by the Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Also available in downloadable PDF
These guidelines are sponsored by:
The following guidelines address the need for cross-cultural orientation
programs to better prepare educators who are able to work across cultural
boundaries to provide a culturally-responsive and supportive educational
environment for all the students in their care. The guidelines are organized
around various roles related to culturally-responsive schooling in Alaska.
Special attention is given to the educational implications for the integration
of traditional values and ways of knowing in schools throughout Alaska,
recognizing that they are value- and identity-creating institutions. The
is intended to encourage schools to strive to be reflections of their communities
by incorporating and building upon the rich cultural traditions and knowledge
of the people indigenous to the area. For such a goal to be achieved it
is essential that all participants acquire a deep understanding of the role
of heritage culture in the educa- tional process, and it is to that end
these guidelines have been assembled.
Native educators from throughout the state contributed to the development
of these guidelines through a series of workshops and meetings associated
with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative. Representatives of the Native
educator organizations listed on the cover participated in the meetings and
ratified the final document. The purpose of these guidelines is to offer
assistance to educational personnel and others who are seeking to incorporate
the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools, along with all the
associated guidelines, to promote greater cultural understanding and increase
student academic performance. Using these guidelines will expand the knowledge
base and range of insights and expertise available to help communities nurture
healthy, confident, responsible and well-rounded young adults through a more
culturally-responsive educational system.
Throughout this document Elders are accorded a central
role as the primary source of cultural knowledge. It should be understood
that the identification
of "Elders" as culture-bearers is not simply a matter of chronological
age, but a function of the respect accorded to individuals in each community
exemplify the values and life-ways of the local culture and who possess the
wisdom and willingness to pass their knowledge on to future generations.
Respected Elders serve as the philosophers, professors and visionaries of
a cultural community, and as such, they are the beacons and calming agents
that guide the people who look up to them. In addition, many aspects of cultural
knowledge can be learned from other members of a community who have not yet
been recognized as Elders, but continue to engage in subsistence (traditional
harvest) activities and seek to practice and teach local life-ways.
Along with these guidelines are a set of general recommendations aimed at
stipulating the kind of initiatives needed to achieve the goals for which
the guidelines are intended. State and federal agencies, universities, professional
associations, school districts and Native communities are expected to review
their policies, programs and practices and adopt these guidelines and recommendations
to strengthen their cultural responsiveness. In so doing, the educational
development of students throughout Alaska will be enriched and the future
well-being of the communities in which they live will be enhanced. Many of
the guidelines included here are not limited in applicability to persons
working in schools, but can easily be extended to prepare personnel in other
fields of endeavor to better understand the cultural dynamics associated
with their work.
Support for implementation of these guidelines can be obtained from the
regional Native educator associations, the member Tribal Colleges of the
Consortium for Alaska Native Higher Education and the staff of the Alaska
Rural Systemic Initiative. Further information on issues related to the implementation
of these guidelines, go to http://www.ankn.uaf.edu.
Guidelines for Culturally-Responsive Communities,
Tribes & Native
Culturally-responsive communities, tribes and Native organizations provide
a supportive environment to assist new members in learning about local cultural
practices and traditions.
Communities will increase cross-cultural understanding through the following
a welcoming and supportive environment for new personnel moving to the
offer guidance in helping them learn the cultural ways of the area, including
greeting them at the airport and assisting them in getting settled into
school boards, local school committees, Elders, Native educator associations
and any other
local or regional organizations to initiate programs that promote greater
cross-cultural understanding for personnel new to the area.
the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools and the Guidelines
for Nurturing Culturally
Healthy Youth to guide cross-cultural orientation initiatives and to
promote substantial dialogue between school and community on behalf of
and educational well-being of the students.
a guided cultural immersion opportunity for new personnel, including a
minimum of a week-long
participation in a traditional camp environment or other site of long-standing
an adopt-a-teacher program linking new staff to a family, Native teachers
and Elders in the
community and include them in community activities and events. Promote
healthy community activities and a supportive environment for all participants.
regular meetings and inservice programs with parents, grandparents and
the community to develop ways to incorporate cultural values and ways
of knowing in the educational programs/practices.
teachers with the involvement of Elders as the local culture-bearers to
foster the incorporation
of traditional knowledge, values and beliefs in all aspects of community
and school life.
a comprehensive tribal/district education policy that addresses the role
of language, culture
and community in the education of local youth, and implement the policy
through strong partnership arrangements between the schools and communities.
will provide teachers with clear guidance regarding the expectations
of the community.
an annual open house/workshop (with food) for parents, extended family
teachers on how the school can help the students be successful in ways
that are compatible with the aspirations that parents and communities have
mechanisms to coordinate services of all local and regional social service,
economic, cultural and educational programs for mutual support and benefit
to the communities.
encouragement and support for community members (students, aides, teachers)
who show an
interest in pursuing a career in education and involve them as resources
in cross-cultural orientation initiatives.
all members of the community to take an active role in guiding newcomers
local cultural practices and aspirations and to become active contributors
to community life.
a support structure for preparing the next generation of Elders.
opportunities for community members to actively participate in the review
of local educational
funding from local, district, state, federal and private sources to provide
support as needed
for the initiatives outlined above.
Guidelines for Culturally-Responsive School
Districts & Administrators
Culturally-responsive school districts and administrators provide support
for cross-cultural orientation programs for district staff and for integrating
cultural considerations in all aspects of the educational system.
School districts and administrators will increase cross-cultural understanding
through the following actions:
new candidates for positions with ample and accurate information regarding
the living and
working environment in which they will be situated, including costs,
quality of housing, sources of food and factual background information
on the school
and community. Wherever possible, provide opportunities for candidates
to visit and meet people from the community in which they will be situated
final commitments are made.
and employ local staff who are knowledgeable about the cultural heritage
and language traditions
of the surrounding area and have a life-long commitment to the region.
Provide ample professional development opportunities for such personnel
to expand their capacity to provide leadership and support in the schools
and district. Encourage new teachers to learn from those who are well
grounded in the local community and culture.
support for local sponsorship of regular cultural orientation programs
for new staff, including
participation in a cultural immersion camp (minimum of one week) in
collaboration with local community organizations. Board members and administrators
participate in the camps along with other district staff.
local administrators in planning community/cultural orientation programs
and participate in other
staff and curriculum development activities.
a cultural orientation program in the school district inservice plan and
and financial support for its implementation (supplemental funding
is available through the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development).
a cultural orientation component into a year-long induction program for
involving guided cultural immersion opportunities, audio-conferences,
weekend seminars and course credit that fulfills the state multicultural
and Alaska studies requirements for certification.
what the Elders and parents have to offer by including them as significant
advisors and contributors
to the educational system, including the district office.
broad-based parent and community involvement in all aspects of education
in the school
district, including planning, policy-making and educational practice.
evaluation criteria for school personnel that reflect the range of teaching
that are necessary to meet student needs in culturally diverse situations,
including those of teachers who utilize Native ways of knowing.
the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools for guidance in
all matters related
to educational policy and practice in the school district. Implement
a regular review process to determine the extent to which the Cultural
used in the district and school programs.
Guidelines for Culturally-Responsive Principals & Teachers
Culturally-responsive educators are responsible for providing a supportive
learning environment that reinforces the educational well-being of the students
in their care in a manner consistent with local cultural beliefs, practices
Educators (teachers, principals, aides, counselors, etc.) will gain and
contribute to cross-cultural understanding through the following actions:
in a comprehensive cross-cultural orientation program that provides insights
into local cultural
beliefs, practices and aspirations as they relate to the education
of the students in your care.
up residency in a new community as early as possible (well before school
starts) and participate
in on-going community activities so that people get to know you as
a person before you take on the role of teacher. Be respectful of local
ways and seek
guidance in all aspects of your involvement in the life of the community.
Get acquainted with your new community through first-hand experience
rather than through books, and be careful about over-generalization of
gained from prior readings.
in community events and activities throughout the year, including local
tribal and municipal
government meetings, to acquire the insights and relationships needed
to develop appropriate motivation and discipline practices in the school.
curricular and instructional strategies that make effective use of the
cultural and natural world in which
the students are situated to enrich and give meaning to what is being
taught. Align all subject matter with the Alaska Standards for Culturally
Schools and develop curriculum models that are based on the local
cultural and environmental experiences of the students.
local expertise, including Elders who speak the heritage language, parents,
cooks, janitors and student assistants, as co-teachers in the classroom.
Provide support in the curriculum for students to participate in
subsistence (traditional harvest) activities with community members as
a part of the
and validate all aspects of the knowledge students bring with them and
assist them in
their on-going quest for personal and cultural affirmation. Use multiple
indicators, including culturally relevant assessments, to measure
listen and participate as local events take place to acquire an in-depth
understanding of the knowledge
system indigenous to the community and apply that understanding in
evaluating teaching personnel, make allowances for the range of teaching
practices that are necessary
to meet student needs and learning styles in culturally diverse situations,
including those reflected by teachers utilizing Native ways of knowing.
Encourage new teachers to learn from those who are well grounded in the
- Use local protocol
to visit the student's homes and learn about the family's aspirations for
their children as well as their expectations for you. Provide a supportive
environment for family participation in all aspects of their children's
education, including that which takes place during subsistence activities.
school schedule to accommodate local cultural activities and events.
all curriculum resource materials annually with local experts to insure
and appropriateness, and assist students in making similar critical
the Alaska Native Knowledge Network and the regional Native educator associations
locally-relevant curriculum materials with which students can readily
identify, including materials prepared by Alaska Native authors.
a mentorship program for all new school/district personnel.
expertise from the community in educational planning by including all staff
cooks, janitors, etc.) in school meetings.
Guidelines for Culturally-Responsive Schools
Schools must be fully engaged with the life of the communities they serve
and provide ample encouragement, support and resources for all staff to integrate
the local cultural and physical environment in their work.
Schools will contribute to greater cross-cultural understanding through
the following actions:
Provide an in-depth cultural
orientation and year-long induction program for all new teachers
and administrators in collaboration with the local community and Native
the opportunity to spend a week in a cultural immersion camp.
Establish an easily accessible
repository of cultural resource materials and a reliable process
for the daily involvement of knowledgeable expertise from the community,
Provide curricula that
take into account the cultural variability of the social, emotional,
intellectual and spiritual needs of each child and community, especially
during the critical
period of identity formation that takes place during the adolescent
Utilize the natural environment
of the community to move educational activities beyond the classroom
as a way of fostering Culturally-responsive, place-based education and
the learning experiences of students.
Support the implementation
of an Elders-in-Residence program in the school and classroom
and teach respect for Elders at all times. Use the Guidelines for Respecting
Cultural Knowledge to assist in incorporating Elders into the
school setting in ways that are natural and beneficial for all concerned.
Support school staff
in activities celebrating the local culture, heritage and environment
(e.g., photo gallery of Elders in school hallway, local art/craft work
traditional demonstrations and historical displays, Elders birthday
celebrations, or culturally appropriate bulletin board displays).
Utilize Elders and Native
teachers from the local community to acquire a comprehensive
understanding of all aspects of the local, regional and statewide context
in which the
students live, particularly as it relates to the well-being and
survival of the local culture.
access to and use of school facilities for cultural events and
educational activities. The school should be viewed as an extension of
for use at the local school/community committees discretion.
Guidelines for State Policymakers & Educational
State policymakers and educational agencies should provide a supportive
policy, program and funding environment that promotes the establishment of
cross-cultural orientation opportunities for all personnel associated with
State policy-makers and educational agencies will contribute to greater
cross-cultural understanding through the following actions:
Provide incentives and
resources for local communities and school districts to implement
cultural orientation programs that prepare teachers to effectively integrate
knowledge, ways of knowing and world views into the educational
systems in culturally appropriate ways.
Recognize that the responsibility
for design and implementation of a cultural orientation program
must be in the hands of representatives of the respective culture(s).
Require school districts
to include cross-cultural orientation programs in the annual
inservice plan submitted to EED for staff development.
Provide incentives and
resources for districts to implement policies and practices
that promote the preparation of more Native teachers and administrators,
who can also
serve as the cadre for local cultural orientation programs.
Guidelines for Culturally-Responsive Tribal
Colleges & Universities
Tribal Colleges and universities are responsible for partnering with communities
and schools to provide every educator with the cultural understandings and
educational strategies necessary to nurture all youth to their full intellectual
and cultural potential.
Tribal colleges and universities (including the Consortium for Alaska Native
Higher Education) will contribute to greater cross-cultural understanding
through the following actions:
Work effectively with
communities and schools to provide appropriate cross-cultural
orientation opportunities (including cultural immersion camps) for the
75% of Alaska
teachers who have received their pre-service preparation elsewhere.
Assist school districts
in implementing year-long "induction programs" for
first-year teachers, including completion of state multicultural
and Alaska studies requirements
Work with the Alaska
Department of Education and Early Development to make available
specialist" endorsement that can be added to the state
teaching and administration certificates for positions requiring
In collaboration with
school districts, provide on-going professional development
for educators through distance education programs, including opportunities
relevant graduate degrees addressing cross-cultural considerations
Insure that all
college faculty (especially those working with pre-service
and inservice teachers) regularly participate in a cultural orientation
program, have themselves
acquired in-depth experience in a cross-cultural setting
and demonstrate cross-cultural understanding in their own teaching behavior.
Recruit and employ Native
faculty who bring cross-cultural expertise and community
perspectives to the preparation of culturally-responsive educators. Provide
development opportunities for such faculty to continue to
expand their capacity to provide leadership and support in the college.
Encourage new faculty to
learn from those who are well grounded in the local community and culture.
for tribal colleges to teach the local culture and language
to teachers as a component of the "cross-cultural specialist" endorsement.
Provide ready access
to the cultural resources and expertise necessary to fully
implement the guidelines outlined above.
Guidelines for Cultural Immersion Camp Sponsors
Cultural immersion camps should provide an authentic and supportive environment
in which participants gain first-hand experience interacting with local people
while learning the cultural traditions and life-ways of the area.
Cultural immersion camps will increase cross-cultural understanding through
the following actions:
Select a site for a cultural
immersion camp that has cultural significance to people
in the area (e.g., fish camp, old village site, historical meeting place,
grounds). Include health and safety as primary considerations
when making preparations, especially with regard to transportation, food,
tools. Arrange for appropriate insurance coverage.
Involve indigenous Elders
as the resident authorities in all aspects of camp life
and teachings. Camp participants should serve and care for the Elders in
accordance with local
practices for showing respect and honoring their contributions.
Schedule the camp for
5-10 days at a time and place where everyone can participate
in seasonal subsistence (traditional harvest) activities
and assist in the daily chores
associated with traditional camp life. Emphasize relationships
and processes for interaction as the primary focus of the
Utilize traditional ways
of knowing and learning throughout the camp, including
observation, demonstration, active participation and listening (e.g., storytelling).
should flow as naturally as possible in accordance with
the surrounding environment. Include traditional food when available and
incorporate local protocols and
practices for its use.
Provide ample time for
reflection and follow-up support to help camp participants
translate and integrate what they have learned into their work, including
resources (available on the ANKN and alaskool.org web sites).
Implement an adopt-a-teacher
program linking camp participants to a family and Elders
in the community to provide on-going support and guidance regarding local
resources and life-ways.
Integrate camps into
the school curriculum year-round on a seasonal basis whereby
teachers and students can participate in traditional subsistence activities
information that can be used to enliven learning in all
subjects throughout the school year.
Foster the incorporation
of traditional knowledge, values and beliefs in all aspects
of community and school life and assist teachers with the involvement of
Elders as the
local culture bearers.
The following recommendations are offered to support the effective implementation
of the above guidelines for cross-cultural orientation programs.
Regional Native educator
associations, school districts and related organizations
should pursue funding to cooperatively implement an appropriate cultural
orientation program to
serve the needs in their respective region, including
a cultural immersion camp and follow-up activities during the school year.
The Consortium for Alaska
Native Higher Education (CANHE) should encourage its
member institutions to develop an academic support structure for cross-cultural
in each region, including provisions for academic credit
and a system for assessment of cross-cultural expertise.
The First Alaskans Institute,
in collaboration with CANHE, should sponsor a training
program for personnel associated with planning and implementing cross-cultural
Local communities and
tribal organizations should sponsor local and regional
cultural orientation programs as needed to prepare all outside personnel
to work effectively with
people in ways that are compatible with local cultural
ways and respectful of the local heritage.
The Alaska Department
of Education and Early Development should provide incentives
and secure continued funding for school districts to incorporate cultural
into the annual district inservice schedule.
School districts should
sponsor opportunities for students and teachers to participate
regularly in cultural immersion camps with parents, Elders and teachers
activities during each season of the year (similar to
the Alakanuk camp model described on the ANKN web site).
The guidelines outlined
above should be made an integral part of all professional
preparation and cross-cultural orientation programs for educators in Alaska.
An annotated bibliography
of resource materials that address issues associated
with these guidelines will be maintained on the Alaska Native Knowledge
Network web site (www.ankn.uaf.edu).
Resources for Cross-Cultural Orientation Programs
Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Sharing Our Pathways Newsletter
Alaska Native Curriculum and Teacher Development Project
Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools
Guidelines for Nurturing Culturally Healthy Youth
Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge
Alaska Federation of Natives Research Guidelines
Cultural Heritage and Education Institute (Minto)
Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights, ANKN
Alaska Federation of Natives
First Alaskans Institute
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Principles & Guidelines for the Protection of the
Heritage of Indigenous Peoples http://ankn.uaf.edu/protect.html
The Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of
Indigenous Peoples http://ankn.uaf.edu/mataatua.html
Coolongatta Statement on Indigenous Rights in Education
Alaska Natives Commission (1994). Alaska Natives Commission Final Report.
Anchorage, AK: Alaska Federation of Natives (http://www.alaskool.org).
Association of Interior Native Educators (1998). Ten Thousand Years
of Learning (video). Fairbanks, AK: Doyon Foundation (http://www.doyonfoundation.com/aine/).
Barnhardt, R. (1993). Teaching/Learning Across Cultures: Strategies for
Success. In Cross-Cultural Teaching Strategies. Whitehorse, Yukon: Council
of Yukon Indians (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu).
Barnhardt, R. and A.O. Kawagley (1999). Education Indigenous to Place: Western
Science Meets Indigenous Reality. In Ecological Education
in Action, Greg
Smith and Dilafruz Williams, eds. New York: SUNY Press (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu).
Barnhardt, R., R. Charlie and B. Pfisterer (1998). Cross-Cultural Orientation
at Old Minto Camp. In Sharing Our Pathways, Vol. 3, Issue 5 (http://ankn.uaf.edu/sop).
Battiste, M. and J. Y. Henderson (2000). Protecting Indigenous Knowledge
and Heritage: A Global Challenge. Saskatoon, Purich Publishing Ltd.
Ellerby, J. H. (2001). Working with Aboriginal Elders: An Introductory
Handbook for Institution-Based and Health Care Professionals Based on the
of Aboriginal Elders and Cultural Teachers. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Native Studies
Press, University of Manitoba.
Hill, F., A.O. Kawagley and R. Barnhardt (2000). Cultural Standards and
Test Scores. In Sharing Our Pathways, Vol. 5, Issue 4 (http://ankn.uaf.edu/sop/).
Kushman, J. and R. Barnhardt (2001). "Reforming Education From the Inside-Out
in Rural Alaska: A Study of Community Engagement and Systemic Reform". Journal
of Research in Rural Education, Vol. 17, No. 1 (http://ankn.uaf.edu/reform/studyindex.html).
Madison, C. (1996). Old Minto Cultural Camp (video). Fairbanks: Alaska Native
Knowledge Network (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu).
Martz, M. (1999). To Show What We Know (video). Fairbanks: Alaska Native
Knowledge Network (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu).
McDowell Group (2001). Alaska Native Education Study: A Statewide Survey
of Alaska Native Values and Opinions Regarding Education
in Alaska. Anchorage,
AK: First Alaskans Institute (http://www.alaskool.org).
Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous
Peoples. New York: Zed Books.