Honoring Cultural Knowledge: Teaching College Students Who are Not of the Majority

Presented by Rudy Vendiola and Stan Goto


This presentation will consider how college instructors might utilize principles of culturally-relevant place-based instruction and multi-cultural education.  The discussion will focus on the instruction of First Nation/American Indian students, but the principles will be relevant to teaching any college students from non-dominant cultures. The presenters will examine an ambitious project to infuse Indigenous ways of knowing across the college curriculum at Northwest Indian College.

What can this program teach us about the usefulness or limitations of cultural theories in the education of college students who are not of the dominant culture? How might these theories be further refined to identify specific instructional practices that best serve specific groups, such as Coast Salish Native students?  Does it even make sense to make pedagogical generalizations about learners from disparate First Nations/American Indians?  What roles do non-Indigenous educators have in the development and implementation of culturally-appropriate instruction for Native learners?  Can this be done without falling into cultural reductionism or unintentional racism?

The presenters will discuss how cultural expectations and family dynamics influence how Coast Salish students approach education.  Various teaching methods will be employed in the session to illustrate how instruction can be tailored to specific ways of knowing in First Nation classrooms.


About the Presenters

Rudy Vendiola is the Associate Dean at Northwest Indian College.

Stan Goto is an Associate Professor of Adult & Higher Education at Western Washington University.


Primary Audience

Adults: Community, Educators, Human Rights / Social Justice Professionals
Youth: Teens (13-18)