Yanomami Intercultural and Bilingual Schools of the Upper Orinoco, Venezuela
Hundreds of Yanomami communities identify themselves with the Venezuelan national culture and engage with political functionaries, medical personnel, missionaries, educators, NGOs and other indigenous peoples. The need for the Yanomami to acquire the skills for navigating through their changed society was addressed when the Venezuelan Ministry of Education created bilingual schools in Yanomami territory. The strategy is to integrate traditional folk knowledge with the national curriculum. This intercultural education taught the Yanomami how to read and write in Spanish and their native language.
Intercultural education is a factor of transculturation. One unintended consequence is the slow disappearance of ancestral knowledge and skill sets among the youth. In many communities, the tradition of passing knowledge orally from elders has already begun to fade which could lead to weakening of their cultural integrity and ancestral identity. Education materials, such as the original textbooks are beginning to lose relevance in reflecting Yanomami contemporary lifestyles, needs, and environment. The Yanomami school- teachers have requested updated education programs that include audiovisual learning tools, interactive technology, and updated textbooks that reflect both their traditional culture and the Venezuelan national curriculum.
The Good Project supports education projects that integrate traditional knowledge with the national curriculum. A major focus is public health especially for communities impacted by introduced diseases and public health challenges. We emphasize disease prevention, teaching disease pathology, and promoting public heath measures that include their traditional beliefs and values.
On our 2019 expedition we will hold education workshops in select Yanomami communities to teach the important link between the microbiome and health as well as the basics of microscopy and identifying parasites. Additionally, education supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and microscopes will be delivered to select bilingual schools