Songs of the Spirit Attending to Aboriginal Students Emotional and Spiritual Needs Through a Native American Flute Curriculum
Because of the voices of my research participants, I chose to use the Medicine Wheel and Tipi Teachings (Lee, 2006; Kind, Irwin, Grauer, & de Cosson, 2005) as a lens (Greene, 1995) rather than situating my research in a traditional Eurocentric body of literature. Along this journey, I reflected inwards and outwards, backwards and forwards on how my past storied experiences (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) shaped my teaching practices and way of being in the world today. To better understand the hurt I observed and which was described by research participants as present in the lived lives and circumstances of many Aboriginal people, I moved backward in time as I reviewed the literature on the Residential School experience and gained a deeper sense of the impact of colonialism on generations of Aboriginal people. This inquiry foregrounded how hearing and playing the Northern Spirit Flute impacted the emotional and spiritual aspects of students being, and contributed to a process of healing. When participants heard the music, it [sounded] so eloquent and so spiritual. It [was] almost like the flute [was] weeping, (Onawa Gaho, Recorded conversation, March 17, 2006, p. 5) bringing about a calmness to the anger that some [Aboriginal students] have (Sakima Qaletaqa, Recorded conversation, March 15, 2006, pp. 25-26).
The research findings indicate that the Songs of the Spirit curriculum, in honoring the holistic nature of traditional First Nations cultures and teachings, invites Aboriginal students functioning in vigilance mode to attend to their emotional and spiritual needs. They speak to a need for rethinking curricula in culturally-responsive ways, for attending to the importance of the arts in education, and for reforming teacher education. Sound files of the Northern Spirit Flute and selected research conversations have been embedded within the electronic version of this thesis to allow the reader to walk alongside me and share in my research journey.
Advisor:Ward, Angela; Stelmach, Bonnie; Pushor, Debbie; Nicol, Jennifer A. J.; Brown, Barry
School:University of Saskatchewan
School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:spiritual healing aboriginal spirituality at risk youth curriculum evaluation first nations instruments inner city schools indigenous music therapy native american flute students
Date of Publication:04/26/2007