An Overview of Indigenous Peoples in Education Systems Worldwide: Challenges, Barriers and Successes

  • Lone Elizabeth Ketsitlile


The key to the future of any society lies in the transmission of its culture and worldview to succeeding generations. The socialization of children, through education, shapes all aspects of identity, instilling knowledge of the group’s language, history, traditions, behavior, and spiritual beliefs (Barman, Hebert, & McCaskill, 1986, p. 150). Indigenous peoples are not a homogenous group: there are cultural, historic and economic differences among them (Aikman 1995, McAlphine, et al. 1996; Semali, 1999). However, there are commonalities that they share, such as their intimate relationship with the land, environment and the cosmological world. In addition, they share the pain of loosing their ancestral lands to the colonizers as this is the major thing that connects them to their inner being, the spirit world and Mother Earth. Hence, “when they loose their land, they loose their languages, culture, social and political systems” (Reyhner 1996: 7). Hayden Burgess of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples says: “Next to shooting indigenous peoples, the surest way to kill us is to separate us from our part of the Earth. Once separated, we will either perish in body and soul and our minds and spirits will be altered so that we end up mimicking foreign ways…” (Burger 1990: 122). To the West, land belongs to the people, but, according to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, people belong to the land (Almeida, 1998).

LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, 8(3), 213-229, 2011

Author Biography

Lone Elizabeth Ketsitlile
Communication and Study Skills Unit, University of Botswana

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1813-2227