Race, Social Justice and Equity Commission
Statement on Hurtful Repertoire
Dear GIML members,
The Race and Social Justice Working Group has been examining the Jump Right In: General Music Series and identifying songs that are harmful and continue curriculum violence (Jones, 2020). We have spent the past year, in collaboration with members of the GIML faculty, identifying songs that perpetuate systems of oppression or position Whiteness and Western classical music as the default tradition or canonical repertoire (Campbell & Higgins, 2016). Through this process, we have wrestled with the appropriateness of transcribed Indigenous songs; the perpetuation of racism, sexism, and ableism; and the reinforcement of gender stereotypes embedded within these books.
The purpose of these lists is to continue conversations about the songs that teachers use in classrooms and to start thinking critically about why and how they ended up in published materials. These lists are evidence of a living and evolving process. They are not exhaustive, nor are they a substitute for the self-reflection in which all educators should engage. We hope and expect these lists will change as we continue to learn. For that reason, the list includes categories such as “do not use - harmful” and “reinforcing gender binaries or gender stereotypes.” Our goal is to help our members become informed about the myriad ways music can maintain and contribute to systems of oppression. We encourage educators to join us in taking steps to repair harm and move toward more equitable practices in music education.
If you have questions or wish to partner with us please do not hesitate to contact us.
Race and Social Justice Working Group
Bradley, D. (2006). Music education, multiculturalism, and anti-racism – can we talk? Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education. 5(2).
Campbell, P., Higgins, L. (2016). Intersections between ethnomusicology, music education, and community music. The Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology. 1-32. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199351701.013.21
Jones, S.P, (2020). Ending curriculum violence. Teaching Tolerance Magazine. 64(1). Retrieved from https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/spring-2020/ending-curriculum-violence*
*Teaching Tolerance is now Learning for Justice
Statement on the Usage of Native American Songs
By Linse Sullivan in collaboration with GIML’s Race and Social Justice Working Group
Teaching Native American music is important and necessary. All places have Indigenous people. For example, I, Linse Sullivan, am a white music educator who lives on land originally cared for by the Champinefu, Kalapuya, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde peoples. These peoples were removed from this land by colonizers. As someone on this land, I am obliged to listen to and pass on the knowledge and practices they have shared with us, especially in music and dance.
There are hundreds of tribal nations in the United States alone, each with their own music and dance practices that continually grow and change. Michelle McCauley (2019) expresses that prior to teaching any Native American music, an educator needs to build a relationship with their local Native community by attending cultural events and learning directly from culture bearers. Once that relationship is built, the context, use, and language of a song must be practiced in tandem with the actual melody (Burton and Dunbar-Hill, 2002).
Teaching music directly from Native Americans with their permission limits the transmission of stereotypes, and gives all learners a wider understanding of the particular Native culture to which it belongs, limiting cultural appropriation. McCauley (2019) suggests that it is inappropriate to teach a song by having students read notation, or to make changes to the song or instrumentation. Recordings, if used, should come from the tribe to which the song is credited. Prioritize Native American resources and culture bearers over song books or recordings “collected” by non-Native music educators or researchers.
The Native American songs published in the Jump Right In general music curriculum currently lack important information such as details regarding the specific musicians and tribal nations who created and use this song, the original language it is in, translations, and information on the cultural context in which these songs live. Until this information can be located, GIML’s Race and Social Justice Working Group does not think it is ethical to teach these songs. In the meantime, educators can deepen their understanding of Native musicians, teaching resources, local Powwows, and more with the following resources:
Michelle McCauley’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjLjzShInGEYTqtd-6LxE5g/featured
“Quality Music Education Resources for Native American Heritage Month”: https://mrsstouffersmusicroom.com/native-american-heritage-month/
Native American Music with Martha Redbone and the Musical Explorers Program:
National Calendar of Powwows: https://calendar.powwows.com/
Intertribal Native American Music in the United States by John-Carlos Perea
Burton, B., & Dunbar-Hill, P. (2002). Teaching About and Through Native American Musics: An Excursion into the Cultural Politics of Music Education. Research Studies in Music Education, 56-64.
McCauley, M. (2019). Giving Cultural Context to Teaching Native American Music. Decolonizing the Music Room. https://decolonizingthemusicroom.com/in-practice/f/giving-cultural-context-to-teaching-native-american-music
Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.ncai.org/about-tribes
Repertoire Flagging Document
About the Race and Social Justice Commission
The Race and Social Justice Commission was created in the Spring of 2020 by the current president, Cindy Taggart. The purpose of the group was to create a working framework for GIML to engage in conversation, reflection, and action related to equity and justice. In its first two years, the group has created a list of recommendations for the organization, provided professional development for GIML faculty, the national board, and engaged world-renowned presenters to partner with the organization as it looks inward and forwards to more equitable practices.
Lulu Cossich, Josh Diamant, Rachel Lensmeier, Karen Salvador, Joe'l Staples, Linse Sullivan, Liz White-Hatton