Many in our group are aware that the CI Liftoff conference this summer has the first ever conference strand on equity in foreign language classrooms. But not many may know that we also have a strand on Native American language teaching with Wade Blevins of the Cherokee nation. Tina and I have worked with Wade before and are very excited to be doing so again.
It is perhaps important to say here that those of us who will be learning from Wade at the conference should perhaps start thinking about indigenous ways of knowing. Anna Gilcher, a featured presenter at the conference as well, mentioned this idea to Tina, who said this to me in an email this morning:
Here is something I found from a search on Google…
“Nowhere in my language can I find support to bring an increased awareness of the current life challenges that exist today. Internal Peace in our individual lives and external Peace for our communities and our world entails that we ourselves be peaceful people. I once asked my elders to translate the word peace in our language. They looked at each other thoughtfully, bewildered at my inquiry, smiled and replied in agreement, digum hi’ki ‘angaw hulew’ (Let’s all get along and respect one another). Peace in my language is not an abstraction. Peace happens when everyone is working together in a way that benefits everyone including those yet to come. In this way there is no mistake. Peace is not just a state of being, or doing, it is both. It is who we are. It is based on respect for one another. From this consciousness we can create a beautiful world for everyone. As a Washo Native American scholar I share my experience in Western academia, describe the inconsistency between the praxis of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and that of the field of counseling psychology.”
Perhaps these words can serve as a starting point for our discussion with Wade this summer.