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Scott Davis on Unlearning and Relearning

North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding Number Two is about learning and storytelling. It states, "Traditional teaching and the passing on of knowledge and wisdom was done through storytelling, song, ceremony, and daily way of life, often incorporating specific gender and age specific responsibilities. These continue to be some of the best modes for learning for both native and non-native learners."

In today's episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll hear Scott Davis, enrolled member of the Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain Nations share with us about the importance of unlearning and relearning.

Scott Davis:

Well, I think, probably in closing, the biggest thing that I've learned regarding education and knowledge, a couple things, is that I was reminded here about five years ago from a good friend of mine who does a lot of training on fatherhood and fatherhood is sacred. He talks about education and he always reminds me of this when I talk to him. I use it a lot in my own speeches, is that in regards to education, if you're not willing to learn or to get your education, somebody or something is going to control you. I use that all the time.

I think the other piece of that too is, and I forgot who said this now, but the illiterate of the 21st century is not the ones who can’t read or write. It's the ones who are unwilling to learn something or to unlearn something or to relearn something and that applies to everybody. I think this is what the Essential Understandings really does. In a sense, you're unlearning some of the old stereotypes, and now you're relearning true history. That's a big deal, but if you're not willing to do that, something's going to control you. That behavior, that stereotype's going to control you.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.

Dakota Datebook: Teachings of Our Elders is produced with support from and in collaboration with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

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