Anishinaabe Elders share stories on their perceptions about Anishinaabe identity for school success

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Gallagher, Marlene
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The purpose of this study was to examine Anishinaabe identity development for school success. A group of six Elder’s, also known as Knowledge Keepers shared their life experiences that are integral to Mino Pimatisiwin – a good way of life for Anishinaabe people. The Elders that participated in this study are gifted with Indigenous knowledge in language, history, culture and a connection to the land/community. At a personal level and as an Anishinaabe person, this study was significant to me because my life foundation was embedded in an Anishinaabe worldview from birth. Dibaajimowin or storytelling was a big part of the learning process therefore; I utilized an Indigenous methodology of Dibaajimowin to share the stories of the Elders, which demonstrated a positive worldview, with meaningful exemplars despite the negative experience of attending residential school and government policies. The stories, which reflected cultural practices of the Anishinaabe Elders, provided lessons about the past and present, and insight into the future direction needed in education to support Aboriginal students. This study revealed the importance of the interconnected relationships of family, community and the environment, as key elements in developing cultural identity. The Elders also identified that balance is needed for Mino-Pimatisiwin known as a good life to live in the realm of two worlds (Anishinaabe and Western). This ideal needs to be extended into the classroom and school so the teachers can build upon the interconnected relationships through program planning and creating an engaging environment that validates an Aboriginal worldview
Aboriginal Education, Anishinaabe Knowledge