About Workshops

"Teaching Respect for Native Peoples" workshop

In this workshop, Oyate trainers guide participants through the murky world of "children's books about Indians." Using role-plays, improvisations, skits, readings, rewriting, group discussions and group work, Native and non-Native participants together learn how to evaluate children's material for honest portrayals of Indian peoples, and how to select and where to find authentic and respectful materials. Participants examine their own values and come to a greater understanding of how their behaviors influence children whose worldviews may be different from their own.

The workshop is customizable to meet your specific needs, and can be adjusted for length. We highly recommend a full week for the workshop, which includes all modules listed in our menu of services. However, we are also able to deliver particular modules to meet your specific needs.

Topics in our Core Sessions include: perspectives and values, blatant and subtle stereotypes, anthropology, traditional storytelling structure, "Deconstructing the Myths of 'The First Thanksgiving'," Native writing, humor, evaluation criteria, "personal bests" and "personal worsts," and a discussion of what it takes to develop honest curricula. As the workshop progresses, participants will use their newfound skills to evaluate a wide range of books and curriculum material that they may not have seen before.

Topics covered in the Beginning and Intermediate Sessions include traditional Native education compared to contemporary public education, how traditional Native technology ties in to the environment, the history of Indian basketry, and culturally appropriate art activities for classroom and home. Participants will make a traditional game and toy, and construct one or two traditional baskets using recycled materials. Each hands-on activity will be linked to appropriate recommended books.

Participants should be ready to work and play and stay for the entirety of the workshop. Registration includes breakfast and lunch for each day, all workshop materials, three books and two posters. Bring an "Indian" book or two to discuss and a family photograph, a pair of scissors, a knife and a potato to use during the art activities. There is a maximum of 40 participants for each workshop. Continuing education credit may be available through your local college or university.

Facilitator Bios

Robette Dias (Karuk) is executive co-director of Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training. Her duties also include adult education, workshop facilitation and public speaking. As president of Oyate's board, Robette keeps her finger on the pulse of all Oyate operations. Robette lives in Sonoma, California.

Judy Dow (Abenaki) is a basketmaker and educator who teaches ethnobotany at the grade school and college level. She is on the national board of the American Indian Scouting Association and was the board president of the Dawnland Center, an intertribal education and health center. Judy has been working on book reviews for Oyate, and has conducted trainings in critical evaluation of children's books for about five years. Judy is the recipient of the 2004 Governor's Award for Outstanding Vermont Educator, and lives with her family in Essex Junction, Vermont.


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