Lesson: We Are Always Learning
We all can learn from each other. I think people have an idea that our elders teach us, but in the instance of my grandfather at 91-years-old, he’s so vibrant and full of life and ready to learn something new today. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s how I want to be. I want to learn from my grandkids and by what I’ve seen out of my children, they know much more about our traditional culture as teenagers than what I even know today at 47. I still have a lot to learn.
–Jason Wesaw, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
Themes: Relation and Continuation
Learning Objective: Students will gain an understanding that everyone (including young students) can both learn and teach. Students will identify a talent/skill they possess, then teach someone else.
For hundreds of years, Native peoples in the Americas have been impacted by colonization in countless ways. Forced removal from their homelands, boarding and residential schools, the spread of deadly diseases that wiped out populations, and laws enacted by American governments are just a few of the deliberate efforts to eradicate Native cultures, languages, and traditions. Frequently, traditions and beliefs were made illegal to practice and teach to younger generations. This resulted in the loss of knowledge, tradition, and identity for many peoples.
Many Native Americans, including Jason Wesaw, are bringing back traditions and teaching them to both older and younger generations. Often younger people are the teachers, passing along to older people the skills and knowledge they’ve gained from studying the work of artists from the past. In Native American communities, this practice is especially important because it helps preserve and renew artistic traditions.
We are all both students and teachers. If you could teach someone else how to do something, what would it be? What do you know that other people might not? Is it something useful like making a sandwich or walking the dog? Is it something fun like doing a cartwheel or competing at a difficult level on a favorite video game? Is it something unusual or amazing like riding a unicycle? Make a short video or a slide presentation teaching someone how to do something, then share it with a friend!
Words you need to know
A reciprocal connection between two or more things, thoughts, ideas, or people.
Doing something in the same way over time.
Migrating, settling in and taking control of an area and/or a people.