Sac State Professors join Waldorf educators in examination of California Indian curriculum

April 21, 2016

Sharing their perspectives on California Indian education, Sacramento State professors Dr. Rose Borunda and Dr. Mimi Coughlin, with Ed.D. candidate Susan Olsen, joined more than 50 Waldorf educators from as far as Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and all corners of California at a two-day convening at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks on April 8-9. The event was initiated and led by Rudolf Steiner College students— specifically, Adam Jacobs, the organizer of the college’s Diversity Committee.

Adam Jacobs
Steiner College student Adam Jacobs.

The participants gathered to learn from Nisenan elder and educator Rick Adams, and James Marquez, Director of Foothill Indian Education Alliance, taking part in storytelling, tours of the school’s garden, music, and movement. They explored, with Dr. Coughlin, ways to integrate Native American perspective and orientation in their curriculum and pedagogy.

“It was a collaboration across institutions and cultures,” said Dr. Coughlin. “We engaged in experiential learning and critical reflection to increase accurate and respectful inclusion of Native Americans in curriculum and instruction.”

 Dr. Borunda was impressed with the level of engagement among the Waldorf teachers.

 “Given that there was attendance from four states,” said Dr. Borunda, “the modeling of specifics, such as ‘recognizing and honoring the First Nation’ of where we are provides the start of awareness of First Nation people. The enthusiasm of Waldorf teachers attending this event points to a high desire to identify local American Indian experts as they were provided with guidance on how to engage the cultural experts in their region.”

The Rudolf Steiner College learned about Dr. Borunda’s expertise in American Indian education by watching a video of her talk, “Indigenous America: Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence,” on the Sacramento State EdD YouTube channel.  (Subscribe here.