Natural Values for Evaluating Natural Ecosystems

Nan Wehipeihana has written, “Māori have long advocated that what’s good for Māori is good for all New Zealanders . . . The key message for evaluators is to promote and advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous values in evaluation with Indigenous peoples, and to argue the benefits for non-Indigenous peoples” (2019:377).

Questions to facilitate your conceptual weaving process:

Read that short passage again. Why are Indigenous values beneficial for non-Indigenous people? Please notice that I’m not asking you why Wehipeihana would think such a thing, but am instead asking you a question about ontological reality. I am asking you why Indigenous values are actually beneficial for non-Indigenous as well as Indigenous people. Wehipeihana says this is “the key message for evaluators.” She says evaluators need to make a case for it. So: Why are Indigenous values beneficial for non-Indigenous people?

The concept that manifests in Wehipeihana’s statement is pivotal within an Indigenous paradigm of the natural world. In fact, that’s the first thing to think about, to help your process. That’s why I titled this page as I did, with the mirrored phrases. So what do you think “natural values” are? What sorts of values would not be natural? How would you distinguish between the two?

In education, what is the relationship between the pedagogical and epistemological system used to design a curriculum, and the design of an appropriate instrument to evaluate learning within that curriculum?

What epistemic system does an ecosystem manifest?

How does your view of the relationship between evaluation and values change as you work through this exercise?

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