Generally speaking, I feel that societies should be left to their own devices, so long as no one is being harmed within those societies. I am embarrassed by the concept of the white man’s burden and feel that during this day and age, such concepts should be completely deserted. The article used examples of native groups that had been controlled by their dominating societies, with those societies realizing many years later the negative impact that their control had. I feel that this is a practice that we should continue now and that in general, communities should be able to decide what type of aid or education they receive.
I see no problem with a community choosing not to have a school, or any formal type of educational requirements for their children. Societies have survived without the influence of the white man, so I see no need to interrupt the process. If a village, or an individual, wishes to seek a formal education, such as is provided in cities such as Fairbanks or Juneau, then children should be able to choose to do so. Some kids, native or not, don’t feel that a classroom education is worthy of their time and deication, so why force it upon them?
I agree with the concept of place-based education. In some communities, understanding how to build a webpage or learning that Hemingway was a lonely drunk are not beneficial pieces of information. However, learning how to do something practical, like hunt and fish, is extremely benefical and will directly contribute to a person’s most basic needs for survival.
Teaching Alaskan history and the history of native communities is something that is already in place at a highschool level, and is something that seems to be moderately beneficial to the students. Perhaps it is because it is a new subject that hasn’t had all of the kinks worked out, or it is because teachers are already so limited in time, but most of the information being presented in the classes feed into stereotypes of the native people and Alaska and offer little education. If this is a concept that is going to continue to exist within public schools, then the content and its delivery needs to be re-evaluated in order to provide a more accurate portrayal of this type of history.