Walkup, Nancy, School Arts
Honoring Cultural Beliefs
Have you ever wondered if beliefs and attitudes about learning and teaching may differ between cultures around the world? For example, most Native American cultures hold the belief that knowledge must be earned rather than given, a philosophy shared by many indigenous cultures. As a result, it may be considered rude to ask questions as knowledge is withheld until the right to know is earned. If we do not consider such perspectives, we are in danger of misrepresenting beliefs and customs of other cultures to our students.
As teachers, how can we honor and teach about such beliefs with sensitivity and without copying or enforcing stereotypes? Where can we go for reliable information to share with our students? What approaches should we take for art production when exploring such ideas? The following web sites offer significant online resources for teaching respect for diverse cultural beliefs.
A General Source
* TheTribal Arts Directory, available at www.tribalartsdirectory.com/TribalArts/ home.nsf, is a great initial site to explore as it includes links to art and artifacts from African, American Indian/Northwest Coast, Asian, Indonesian/Himalayan, Islamic, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian cultures.
* Rainmakersfrom the Gods: Hopi Katsinam, available at www.peabody. harvard.edu/katsina/default.html, is an exemplary online exhibition from the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard that includes excellent text and images.
* ArtsEdNet, the website of the Getty Education Institute features a comprehensive, multilevel lesson plan that provides images, background information, and questions and activities for students and teachers about Hopi Pong Kachina, Aha Kachina, and Hilili Kachina at www. …