Cultural heritage, to my understanding, is the roles and traditions of certain groups within in a society that were inherited from past generations, which is then passed onto the next generations.
Culture varies from place to place, and can take several forms, like in dance, language, and learning. The process of learning about one’s culture can be identified as Indigenous learning or Indigenous education. Indigenous learning brings harmony between individuals and their world. So, it is essential that the Indigenous learning stays established and maintained within individuals and their community. This education is formally passed from generation to generation, by word of mouth and cultural rituals, art and simple conservation. Malidoma Patrice Some, the author of Of Water and the Spirit describes and elaborates his personal experiences with cultural heritage and indigenous learning. I agree with Malidoma Patrice Some when in the book “Of Water and the Spirit”, he emphasizes the importance of traditional culture learning by talking about the values of mental freedom and true self.
Malidoma would even goes to the extent to say that indigenous knowledge and learning is crucial. Malidoma Patrice Some’s Of Water and the Spirit, is about his own direct encounter with his culture. Malidoma was born and shortly raised in a country in West Africa. We learn about Malidoma having this unbreakable bond with his grandfather. Later, we learn that he was kidnapped from home by a Catholic priest who appeared to be Malidoma’s father friend and confidant.
Malidoma was abused and forced to believe in a new system of learning for 15 years, he was cut off from all his traditional roots. However, after 15years of harsh treatment, he was able to escape from the school at age 20 and return home to his African family. Despite being born in the village; the village saw him more as a foreign man now. And for him to be accepted back in the village, he had to go through a ritual initiation.
The elders finally allowed Malidoma to undergo initiation with other young men. After the initiation, He talks about his new ability to see the world differently and his better understanding of his purpose in life. Malidoma acknowledges the differences in his new-found life after the imitation, one thing he gave a lot of praise to is the indigenous learning he received from the elders, the village and himself, when he was going through his initiation. Indigenous learning aid Malidoma to find peace within himself.Throughout the book, we learn the Malidoma is on a journey back to Burkina Faso to find his true self; to find what he had been missing all those years he was held captive.
For him to find that peace he had to return to his roots and traditions. After Malidoma’s initiation, he felt free and wise. The moment he was able to see the glowing tree at the beginning of his initiation, he felt a part of the village. But what the book teaches us is that, society standards and approval is not always what we need. Sometimes the acknowledgment and understanding of our traditions and culture are what we need.When we think of the word ‘culture’ or even the word ‘tradition’, we think about an old idea that has been passed on for years. Which is not a wrong way to define the word ‘culture’ or ‘tradition but it is a vague way to define it. Culture and indigenous learning are much bigger than that, we can always be traced back our family tree and traditions to days and times where tradition was important to civilization.
Since people nowadays do not think indigenous learning is essential, people are struggling with finding their purpose in life and finding their true self because their entire life is built on an educational system that is not for everyone. Many of us in society are unaware of their cultural heritage. That means many of us do not know our true self. And do not have mental freedom It is key to live a life knowing your true self because you are at peace, you know who you are and what you want in life.Lack of mental freedom that many of us have can be seen in the way we think. Too many of us are not prepared for think critically and problems solving in real life. Indigenous learning will promote an individual to become open-minded and not project a one-way learning or belief system on to others.
It is crucial for to all of us to receive and experience indigenous learning because this type of learning focuses on teaching self-knowledge in an informal educational way. In recent years, people are now reaching over for indigenous education as a response to feeling incomplete and unequal in the face of racism and mental oppression. Indigenous education helps individuals who feel like outcasts reclaim their traditions. Reclaiming your tradition can refine your entire outlook on life and give you a purpose in life. Culture is a bond that ties the people of a region or community together. The western world of education in a classroom has created this idealized image that indigenous learning is uneducated people, which is not true.
If we were to create a more indigenous classrooms and environment for students, learning would become much easier for students because they can relate to the material and reflect. Indigenous learning is important because it helps build character but also it helps build human relationship and respect. During my time in Ghana, I remember the importance of cultural and indigenous learning. My school did not only cover topics from a textbook or syllabus, my school also taught my mates and I about our personal tribes and culture.
My indigenous learning did not only come for school but also from community I was living in, when I was in Ghana. In a Ghanaian community, we firmly believe in the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”. The village is referenced to collective of people in the community. In Ghana, it was not odd for your neighbor, who is around your parents age or just older that you, to discipline. I quickly realize that it was not like that in America.
The first years in this foreign land was hard on me because of many injustices conflicts I had to face. One thing I came to realize was, as a Ghanaian living in, we valued our culture more than ‘Americans’ value culture. As a response to my culture being undermined, I began to passionate about my culture. I do not to feel any less Ghanaian because I am in America. This push and concept has help me find my authenticity. My authenticity brought me peace, I was able to understand that, no matter where I am on this earth, I can and will always identify as Ghanaian. In today’s society, we acknowledge the importance of western education.
Western Education is very important especially now in a world where everything requires a degree. Western systemic education is important because it is the main medium of acquiring skills and knowledge about the rest of the world. We need western education because it serves as the pathway for advancements in the technological, health and agriculture field. Western education has been able to develop ways to live longer and better, better to communicate with friends and family through communication. and Education is a vital tool for individuals to succeed. Education can help your child reach his or her life goals and dreams.
Western Education motivates us to be more independent. Western form of Education helps to increase our economic security, I believe that is why most us attend college. Western education allows to be finically stable. We believe if we want more independence and better economic security, we must go to school to get a high degree. The drive to educate people in a western way is ongoing.
Even though, the aim of western education is to help everyone to inspire their potential, its fails in motivating people, many of us do not see the purpose of going to school, except social obligations. Western education does not teach or encourage students to find their true self and genuine purpose in life. The Western Education Requirements for schools does not let students choose what they want to study for their future, it rather forces them into a specific curriculum.
Which creates many problems for that individual in the future, especially if he or she lacks indigenous learning. In many cases, we see people go to college then they get a job but then they are miserable a in work place because they have placed themselves in institution where they can not stand up for them against the boss or the manger. Leading to suppress their genuine self, he individual will soon themselves unhappy because they grew up thinking, that if they complete this set of obligations and then find a job in that field they would be insured everything. Western education provides false hope for those who do not know their true self. I think it is because there is a hole in western education, where the indigenous learning of life used to be. As a society, we need to bring back the importance of indigenous learning because it improves the success of s students, leading to a better and happy life.There are many types of educations learning process in this world, but the one that Malidoma and I believe is crucial and essential to our being is indigenous learning.
Indigenous learning introduces us to integrity, authenticity, and mental freedom. These key traits guide a person to find their sincere purpose and true self. Discovering your purpose and true self in life is important because you will do things you enjoy, you be around people and institution you see yourself being happy around, rather that place yourself in a cycle because of social obligation.