There are ALOT of conflicting options on how to share Indigenous culture with.. Should it be within Indigenous people only, whether the cultural teachings are inclusive to allies of Indigenous people or how to learn about this special and sacred knowledge in a respectful way.
With all the different tribes and nations in Turtle Island that make up the collection of Indigenous Cultures. There are so many different Indigenous teachings to choose from, how do they all get passed down from generation to generation?
How we as Indigenous people share Indigenous teachings can always vary between tribes, nations, and groups of Indigenous people, there are a few main ways Indigenous teachings are taught. Keep watching to find out how these important teachings are passed down to Indigenous people all over the world.
All teachings originate in different places and form due to a variety of factors, but the only way those teachings survive is by being taught. For a very long time, specific teachings have always been handed down by specific people in specific ways -- through spoken word, stories, art, music, and more. Each teaching has a unique place in Indigenous culture and that includes how it is shared with others.
So how exactly do we pass Indigenous Teachings from generation to generation?
Let’s talk about 4 ways we share our teachings.
There is no right or wrong way to pass down Indigenous teachings. Each tribe or group of Indigenous people might have different ways of doing things.
In general, passing down these sacred teachings can be as simple as a conversation between loved ones or expressing oneself through art.
#1 ONE WAY INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS ARE PASSED DOWN IS: BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
In the same way ALL things are taught, it is our family and friends who take what they have learned from THEIR ancestors and pass it down to US, our relatives, our elders, and our friends in each of our tribes.
Each person in any given tribe is incredibly valuable because they might know teachings that other people have never even heard of. Every person’s journey is different and therefore every person has unique teachings, experiences, and insights to share. You never know who someone else has crossed paths with!
Our connections with each other are so important because they allow us to learn from each other -- even if we don’t realize we are learning.
Teachings handed down from person to person among communities is one of the main ways Indigenous teachings travel and grow from generation to generation.
#2 THE SECOND WAY INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS ARE PASSED DOWN IS: BY CHIEFS AND ELDERS
Chiefs and elders are some of the most respected members of their communities.
Elders are those who have been recognized by their community as healthy and wise -- spiritually, psychologically, and mentally -- regardless of age. In general, they are people that the rest of the community looks to for guidance, wisdom, and teachings. Elders have lived in their communities for a long time and therefore have cultural wisdom to share.
They act as cultural advisors for their tribe or nation and are regarded as teachers to their Indigenous people.
These Elders play an important role in passing down Indigenous teachings because they have so much to share and are already regarded with respect in their communities. That means people listen to what they have to say and therefore Elders can influence the teachings within the community.
Elders serve as the teachers of Indigenous communities, which is one of the main ways teachings are passed down among Indigenous people.
#3 THE THIRD WAY INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS ARE PASSED DOWN IS: THROUGH WORD OF MOUTH
For many years, the only way to pass down all Indigenous teachings and culture was through word-of-mouth. There was no other way to communicate and especially no Internet to share information on! So, the only way to share was to speak and that’s where most Indigenous teachings originated.
Additionally, Indigenous people have long been prevented from embracing and sharing their Indigenous culture. For many years, Indigenous could not share or participate in their culture and therefore could only keep it alive in secret through word of mouth.
This tradition is still alive today, though, of course, we now have many more ways to share, too!
But, still, the tradition of holding a conversation and intimately sharing these teachings with each other is one of the most powerful ways to teach and to learn.
#4 THE FOURTH WAY INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS ARE PASSED DOWN IS: THROUGH ART, MUSIC, AND OTHER MEDIUMS
Any form of expression is also a way of passing down Indigenous knowledge.
Indigenous people have also long used stories, songs, dances, carvings, paintings, baskets, and more to pass down Indigenous teachings.
With the advancement of the Internet and digital media, we have also unlocked a whole new world of being able to share these teachings and customs with anyone who cares to learn -- from online storytelling, sharing of artwork, and even videos like this one!
By creating something, you are harnessing the power of your experience, your knowledge, and your wisdom, and giving it the world in a new form. This is an incredibly powerful method of teaching, as creation is so crucial to Indigenous culture and worldview.
These simple methods of teaching are what have kept Indigenous culture and teachings alive for generations. Though these methods can be as simple as having a conversation or creating a painting, they are the reason Indigenous culture continues to thrive and grow and expand around the world!
Thanks to these traditional methods, we now get to put our new, modern spin on these methods and share Indigenous teachings with you through this channel!