So Cultural Understanding is Important, But How Do I Reach My Native American Students?

Address the Issue of Not Seeing Color/Race (Cultural Aversion)

  • Many teachers assert that they do not see color and that they treat all their students the same.  This concept of being “colorblind” is cultural aversion.
  • Cultural aversion is one aspect of cultural misunderstandings and is the reluctance of educators to discuss race and race-related issues such as ethnicity, culture, prejudice, equality, and social justice.
  • By avoiding students’ race, teachers are denying an important aspect of students, for their racial identity is part of who they are.  It is a teacher’s job to teach the whole child.  Through following the illusion of being “color blind”, teachers’ thoughts and actions communicate to students that their race is something so negative that it has to be avoided or “seen past”.
  • Denying students and behaving as though their racial heritage is something to be avoided results in distrust, conflict, hostility, and school failure for students of color (Irvine, 1990).


  • Irvine 1990 asserts that teachers of color and European American (White) teachers must receive more training to instruct diverse student populations effectively because both teachers of color and White teachers tend to teach best those who need their assistance least, middle-class students.
  • Address Miseducation and Cultural Misunderstanding through Education (The need for Multicultural Education)-  Many teachers were miseducated themselves the cycle of miseducation must be stopped and teachers can stop it by committing to Multicultural Education.

Understanding Multicultural Education

  • Multicultural Education is a philosophical concept and educational process that confronts and seeks to bring about change of current social issues involving race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, disability, and sexual orientation/ alternative lifestyle.
  • Multicultural education is a total process and all components must be in place in order for multicultural education to be genuine and viable.  Therefore, by ignoring the issues of socioeconomic class, gender, disability and sexual orientation/ alternative lifestyle they demonstrate their misconception of multicultural education.
  • Multicultural education is not limited to ethnicity and race it is not just integrating the content of ethnic group perspective.
  • Multicultural education is not activities for special days and occasions as Martin Luther King’s Birthday and Cinco de Mayo.
  • Multicultural education is not a special unit, few additional lessons, or an additional book by a Native American, African American or Latin American writer.
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