Children’s Funds of Knowledge in a Rural Northern Canadian Community: A Telling Case
In this article, we describe how the funds of knowledge in a community in rural Northern Canada were actualized or leveraged in an early childhood classroom. We draw on a video recording of a First Nations elder demonstrating to the children (and early childhood educators) how to skin a marten, a historical cultural practice of the community. We argue that elders are an untapped source of knowledge that preschools and schools can call on to legitimize and bring to the forefront, Indigenous knowledge that has been ignored or undervalued by assimilationist and colonialist policies. We also argue that the elder’s demonstration is culturally congruent with First Nations traditions of sharing or passing on knowledge and that it is imperative that educators are aware of and implement culturally appropriate pedagogical practices. We conclude by sharing some ideas of how early childhood educators might facilitate through play, children’s taking up and appropriating cultural knowledge such as the elder shared in this case.
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