University of Oulu

Indigenizing to making schooling and education one : a bird’s eye view of Yurok nation’s culture and language program in Northern California, US

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Author: Amankwah, Francis1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : F. Amankwah, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-02-12
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Kaukko, Mervi
Reviewer: Järvelä, Maria-Liisa
Kaukko, Mervi
This thesis focuses on the interests and attitudes shown by learners and educators towards the inclusion of the Yurok Language and Culture program in schools’ curricula across Humboldt County-Californian, USA. The program aims at revitalizing the Yurok culture and improving the academic standards of Yurok and other native American Indian students. The main theoretical frameworks used in this research are Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) and (1994) “Ecology of Human Development” and “Ecological Models of Human Development respectively. Additionally, I used Epstein’s (2011) Model of Overlapping Spheres and Charleston’s (1994) True Native Education theories to further expand on the ideals that underpin Bronfenbrenner’s theories that were applied in this research. The significance these theories used in this case study is conceptualized in the notion that the school, family and community nexus can be effectively harnessed to boost the learning experiences of native American Indian1 students. This is qualitative based case study, and I used narrative inquiries (to capture depth of stories told by respondents) and method of observation as tools to collect data. Purposive sampling method was used to select a sample of four. The sample includes three native American Indians, namely, the director of the Education Department of the Yurok Tribal Nation, one of the instructors of the Yurok Language and Culture program, and a female student. The fourth respondent of the sample is non-native American Indian (white). Ethical considerations were strictly followed and applied throughout the conduct of this research. The analysis and interpretation of the findings showed that there was vested interest in the program by respondents and the rate of graduation of native American Indians has increased marginally since the program’s inception. Regardless, this research would not seek to suggest that the findings could be interpreted as panacea to the many problems that indigenous students encounter in the educational process. But rather, the findings of this research could be used to enhance discourses where “knowledge is drawn from many disciplines and integrated around a particular problem” (Craver and Ozmon 1985, p. 380) to shape pedagogy to benefit not only indigenous learners but to a larger constituent including non-natives learners as well.
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