Genealogy and family history projects can be an excellent way to foster students' sense of identity and connectedness to their heritage and relatives. Such activities can help students develop pride and knowledge in their identities and personal histories. Because knowledge of family histories is often valued within Indigenous communities, and central to many Indigenous social, cultural, and diplomatic traditions, such projects have the potential to be a meaningful form of culturally sustaining and revitalizing pedagogical practice. This article begins with a brief literature review on the value and practice of using family history projects in social studies/history classrooms. Following this review, the authors offer a more detailed discussion of Indigeneity and the ways in which Indigenous identities are entangled with family history projects. To demonstrate the importance of rethinking family history projects, they offer three vignettes that illustrate how normative discourses and practices can live in tension with students' lived experiences. This provides context for their subsequent outline of a variety of considerations for social studies educators that they assert can challenge and complement the approaches described. In so doing, the authors' hope is to foster spaces and practices that support Indigenous students, as well as challenge normative notions of family that constrict the diverse range of cultural and familial expressions that already exist--and should be supported--in classrooms.
The Society for History Education, Inc. at California State University, Long Beach
Ender, Tommy; McCoy, Meredith L.; and Sabzalian, Leilani, "Alternative Strategies for Family History Projects: Rethinking Practice in Light of Indigenous Perspectives" (2021). Faculty Publications. 619.