We would like to invite interested researchers to join us in a new research and advocacy group under ISHGR, focusing on issues relating to education for hunting and gathering societies today. A central goal of this group will be to contribute to hunter-gatherer communities’ ongoing efforts to secure sustainable livelihoods, with an emphasis on educational aspects of these efforts.
Although formal education – schooling – is generally presented as a solution for marginalized groups, generally social hierarchies are reproduced through such systems. The extreme marginalization of hunters and gatherers in modern societies is mirrored in their schooling experience: hunter-gatherer children participate in formal education systems at rates far lower than other groups, including other indigenous groups. Simultaneously, their traditional forms of knowledge transmission, though recognized as being highly effective and adaptive, are under threat due to loss of land, climate change, and other factors.
Specific approaches are needed that address communities’ particular cultural needs and economic options. However, due to their small numbers, hunter-gatherer groups face severe problems of scale when it comes to accessing resources; they are often overlooked in statistical analyses, and ignored by donor agencies and governments, because they are too few or too ‘difficult’, and tailored approaches will be too expensive. Educationally this translates into a lack of appropriate educational facilities near their homes and a lack of mother tongue educational materials in their languages, which in turn means that the only options for formal education are highly assimilative and separate children from their families. This is a violation of indigenous rights, as outlined in a number of global rights documents.