Indigenous Education

  • LifeMosaic work to support the propagation of education that is developed in indigenous territories; rooted in the knowledge systems and practices of the ancestors; and helping communities address the challenges of today. We have done this through exchanges and skillshares, producing tools, mentoring pioneers, and supporting movements to develop their criteria for implementation.

    In March 2016 LifeMosaic facilitated an Indonesian indigenous education retreat, bringing together indigenous educators from 8 indigenous education initiatives set up by alumni of the 2015 month-long Next Generation training, as well as from an Indonesian landless farmer school and indigenous schools in the Philippines. We also produced a video on the Indigenous Education retreat and we are currently preparing to produce a series of short case study films on indigenous education.

  • Back to the Village: Indigenous Education in Indonesia

    Back to the Village: Indigenous Education in Indonesia

    This film documents the gathering of indigenous educators from across Indonesia and the Philippines in Kaseputan Ciptegalar, West Java. They discussed the problems: “The existing education system teaches ‘ilmu pergi’ - the science of leaving.” (Sarno Maulana, Pasawahan school, West Java). And they developed a vision of the future: "It is important for us to start our own education - our indigenous education. So we are the ones who determine its methods, we are the ones who determine its contents, and all of this within our territory.” (Jhontoni Tarihoran, BPAN)

  • Indigenous Education News

    Native Language Schools Are Taking Back Education

    More than a century ago, the last fluent speakers of Wôpanâak passed away. Now this school is working to revive the language. (By Yes! Magazine)

    The Hawaiian language revival

    Reflections on Hawaii's inspirational native language revitalization movement (By Keala Carter: Source Intercontinental Cry)

    It’s a boat. It’s a school. It’s a livelihood booster

    Each year, during the monsoon season, millions of children in Bangladesh miss out on education when schools are forced to close because of flooding. (By Mohammed Rezwan)

    Cree app launched by the Athabasca Tribal Council to help preserve indigenous language

    The Athabasca Tribal Council wants to make sure indigenous languages are not lost. So they created an app to put language back into the hands of youth. (By Global News)

    Stop focusing on ‘the problem’ in Indigenous education, and start looking at learning opportunities

    An article encouraging us to look closer at the 'opportunity to learn gap in indigenous peoples schooling in Australia (By: The Conversation)

    1,000 Ata Manobo kids fail to enroll after DepEd closed IP school

    DepEd closes NGO-run school on accusations that it teaches the communist ideology and is strongly supported by the New People’s Army. (Philippines News Agency /

    India’s Barefoot College lights up the world

    In Rajasthan India, local women bring their villages to light. (Source Al Jazeera)

    A helpful education for life

    Teachers develop proposals for intercultural curriculum. (Latinamerican Press)

    Indigenous Education and the Prospects for Indigenous Survival

    Author Bartholomew Dean for Cultural Survival

    Importance of indigenous education highlighted in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

    The importance of educating youth in their own cultures, as well as using indigenous languages to educate them, was stressed today during the discussion on culture and education in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

  • Documents and Downloads

    Tugdaan Indigenous High School

    Information about Tugdaan Mangyan Centre of Learning and Development, to accompany the Video - Tugdaan Indigenous High School (LifeMosaic 2018)

    Pamulaan Centre for Indigenous Peoples Education

    Pamulaan Centre for Indigenous Peoples Education - an overview of this inspirational indigenous university in Davao, The Philippines. This information accompanies the video Pamulaan Indigenous University. (LifeMosaic 2018)

    Grassroots Leadership and Popular Education in Indonesia: Introduction and Summary

    Grassroots Leadership and Popular Education in Indonesia is a new publication by LifeMosaic and The Samdhana Institute. The book sets out to analyse and recommend ways to support grassroots leadership development and popular education in order to strengthen movements for social and environmental change – in Indonesia and around the world. The book is for grassroots leaders, activists, educators and movement builders in Indonesia and beyond, for all those participating in systemic change towards a more equitable and sustainable future, with the hope that in these pages there is a spark that gives you energy on your journey. Please read this Introduction and Summary, the first chapter of the book to be serialised. (The Samdhana Institute / LifeMosaic, 2015)

    Pathways to Education Pamulaan Case Study


    Other videos

    Schooling the World

    An important film that sets out the nature of western educaction and the harm that it is inflicting on many indigenous cultures.

    The Forbidden Education

    The Forbidden Education is a documentary film that questions the logic of modern schooling -and our very understanding of education- by highlighting different and unconventional educational experiments that suggest the need of a new educational paradigm. The Forbidden Education aims to inspire thoughtful societal debate about the fundamental structure of school, encouraging the development of a comprehensive education centered on love, respect, freedom and learning.

    Iskay Yachay: Two Kinds of Knowledge

    This video brings the voices and minds of campesinos from Cusco, Peru. They explain what school they want for their children. What education is needed for life to flourish and for the strength of ancestral times to be carried over to new generations. Over the past decade the Nucleus for Andean Cultural Affirmation has been working in Cusco with groups of rural teachers and parents in order to attain an understanding of education and cultural diversity. The reflections they make on the way in which Andean children learn of both worlds, Western and Andean, lead them to unexpected conclusions that deserve to be listened to and taken into account.

    Do schools kill creativity? Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson

    Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

    Interview with Mereana Taki on Learning

    Mereana Taki is an indigenous Maori. In this video she shares the Maori views of learning, intelligence, and child development.

    Education For a Sustainable Future

    Education For a Sustainable Future presents information on how today's practices in schools are socially unsustainable. The documentary film critically analyses what is considered socially relevant in a new education system which brings out the most potential in all of humanity whilst also detailing specific educational methods from a wide range of sources on how to nurture social skills, critical thinking techniques and a larger variety of important practices to positively reinforce from our earliest years onwards. It must be recognised that a sustainable education is one of the most critical components of any advanced society. Education For a Sustainable Future is an independent film production and has been uploaded online for free download and distribution. The views expressed in this documentary are not necessarily shared by the originators of source material presented.

    War in Kids

    Focusing on public education, The War on Kids demonstrates how American public schools have become modeled after prisons in response to fear and a burgeoning intolerance of youth. The oppressive environment that students are subjected to, coupled with brutal responses to any transgression including the drugging of children,are shown to have long-term repercussions beyond creating a generation of dysfunctional adults. Ultimately, democracy itself is under siege. The War on Kids is a documentary on Public Education in America. While several documentaries on schools have come out since The War on Kids, these films tend to be either propaganda for charter schools or look at symptoms without any appreciation or understanding of underlying issues. To be a great documentary, it is essential to do the necessary work and dig deeper to uncover the heart of the problems observed. The numerous failures and pathologies associated with school are predominantly due to its autocratic structure. Because no one wants to voluntarily relinquish power, this fundamental problem is never addressed or even recognized.

    Related links

    Pamulaan University for Indigenous Peoples’ Education

    The website for Pamulaan Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Education in Davao, Philippines

    Tugdaan Mangyan Center for Learning and Development

    The website of Tugdaan Indigenous High School in Mindanao, The Philippines

    Schooling the World

    Schooling the world is an enlightening film showing clearly how the modern system of education oppresses children, especially thise from indigenous and other culturally rooted communities.

    Colours of the Alphabet

    Colours of the Alphabet is a new feature documentary film on language and childhood in Africa, telling the story of three Zambian children and their families over two school terms, and asking the question: does the future have to be in English? When nearly 40% of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language, the film offers an intimate, moving and often humorous insight into a global phenomenon from the unique perspective of three innocent children.

    Alaskan Native Knoweldge Network

    A website dedicated to resources for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing.

    People for Education

    People for Education is a Canadian independent, non-partisan, charitable organization working to support and advance public education through research, policy, and public engagement.

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LifeMosaic is a Not for Profit Company Limited by Guarantee (Registered company number: SC300597) and a Charity Registered in Scotland (Scottish Charity number: SC040573)