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Indigenous Participation in Intercultural Education: Learning from Mexico and Tanzania

Gemma Burford, University of Brighton; Aang Serian (House of Peace)
Susanne Kissmann, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo
Francisco J. Rosado-May, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo
Santos H. Alvarado Dzul, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo
Marie K. Harder, University of Brighton; Fudan University


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Intercultural education seeks to create a forum for integrating Western scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge to address local and global challenges such as biocultural diversity conservation, natural resource management, and social justice for indigenous peoples. Intercultural education is based on learning together with, rather than learning about or from, indigenous communities. In the best examples, problem-based learning dissolves the dichotomy between indigenous and nonindigenous, resulting in full partnerships in which participants share expertise to meet mutual needs. With reference to literature and two illustrative examples of intercultural education initiatives in Mexico and Tanzania, we present an original conceptual framework for assessing indigenous participation in intercultural education. This incorporates a new ladder of participation depth (in relation to both curriculum content and decision making) alongside separate considerations of breadth, i.e., stakeholder diversity, and scope, i.e., the number of key project stages in which certain stakeholder groups are participating. The framework can be used to compare intercultural education initiatives in differing contexts and might be adaptable to other intercultural work.

Key words

community engagement; community-university partnerships; indigenous knowledge; intercultural education; participation

Copyright © 2012 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087