Children are capable of understanding so much more than we often give them credit for and teaching them about important issues at a young age can set them up for success as they grow. It’s never too early to gently start teaching your children about important, complicated topics.
Spreading indigenous culture and fostering awareness starts with our youth. That’s why it’s so important to start talking to your children at an early age about indigenous culture, teachings, and other important topics.
Often, we like to try to shelter our kids from “big issues” until they’re older. But, young children are open, understanding, and compassionate in ways we can barely imagine. If you’re worried it’s too soon to start teaching your children about indigenous culture, this is the moment to set that worry aside. They’re capable of handling it and we’re here to help you navigate these lessons with them.
BOOKS, TV SHOWS, AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
Start teaching your children about indigenous culture with toys and activities they are already enjoying.
You can read them picture books that incorporate indigenous culture or guide them toward some TV shows that offer insight into indigenous culture. There are plenty of fun, kid-friendly ways to start introducing your children to these topics. You might also try simple and engaging activities like crafts and videos. Try finding activities online that you think would best suit your children and their interests.
FINDING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION AND SHARING
Just like crafts, activities, and videos -- there are tons of resources online geared toward teaching children about indigenous culture. Finding these kinds of resources will not only help you learn, but give you a way to share what you find with your children.
If you’re a teacher, incorporating indigenous culture into the classroom is one of the best ways we can start teaching children about these topics at a young age. The sooner children begin to learn about indigenous culture, the sooner it becomes a part of their normal, everyday life. And, one day, they’ll teach their children about it, too!
So, once you’ve taken the first few steps of engaging in some activities with your children and finding the right resources, you can start to build on what you have learned with them. This includes branching into some deeper topics and learning how to incorporate what you’ve learned into your children’s daily lives.
INTRODUCING INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS TO YOUR CHILDREN
There are plenty of indigenous teachings that are applicable to children. One that immediately comes to mind is the 7 Grandfather Teachings: Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, Truth. Regardless of culture, these are wonderful, powerful values to teach our children.
Teaching them how these values relate to indigenous culture is simply about explaining their origins, their history, and their significance so that they can have an even greater understanding of these concepts. Additionally, teachings like the medicine wheel help us understand the cycle of life, nature, and the human experience.
Overall, these teachings help us learn and understand more about topics we encounter every day. You are simply framing them for your children in a way that also includes indigenous culture.
HELPING YOUR CHILDREN EXPERIENCE INDIGENOUS CULTURE
You can also help your children learn about Indigenous culture by taking them out to experience museums, historical sites, pictographs, and other educational places. This will help them see, experience, and reinforce the concepts they have learned through the ideas and activities you have used to teach them.
This is a great way to teach while also having fun and being together as a family.
INCORPORATING INDIGENOUS CULTURE INTO EVERYDAY LIFE
You know what’s best for your children, so do any combination of activities and lessons that’s right for you. No matter what you choose, try to incorporate indigenous culture and teachings into your children’s everyday lives. Remind them of what they have learned, make connections when you can, and choose activities for them that continuously expose them to the culture.
You can also give your children the opportunity to choose how they would like to participate. Ask them what activities they enjoyed most, what teachings meant the most to them, or what other questions they have.
Incorporating indigenous culture into their lives doesn’t have to be like being in school. You can incorporate it in small ways like practicing daily gratitude, reading a new book every week, or creating art.
These experiences will enrich your children’s lives in meaningful ways and teach them about a beautiful and special culture.