Race, Social Justice and Equity Commission

STATEMENTS

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

raceandsocialjustice@giml.org

REFERENCES

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:

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: 

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Education/Programs/Musical-Explorers/Digital/Program-Two/Martha

National Calendar of Powwows: https://calendar.powwows.com/

Intertribal Native American Music in the United States by John-Carlos Perea

Intertribal Native American Music in the United States - Paperback - John-Carlos Perea 

REFERENCES

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

PRAXIS

About the Race and Social Justice Commission

Purpose

The Race, Social Justice and Equity commission actively collaborates with other committees and commissions of the organization, the executive committee, and the national board on initiatives to help the organization continue its path towards anti-bias, anti-racism, social justice, and equity. 

The work of this group is both proactive and responsive to the climate and evolving equity needs of the organization as determined by GIML’s membership and the commission itself. It seeks to address inherent oppressive power dynamics of socially constructed identifiers through projects and initiatives to ensure accountability within the organization.

Connect with the commission by emailing raceandsocialjustice@giml.org

Membership

Current active GIML members are encouraged to participate in the group. Commission group members work to seek outside voices with consideration to those who may not have their perspectives heard throughout the organization. Interested members will go through a consensus-making process with current members of the commission, where their competencies and experiences in equity and justice practices are discussed. Membership in this group is, on average, two to four years. The minimum number of members for this commission is five.

Members of the Race, Social Justice, and Equity Commission will:

  1. Respect each other, offer and learn from each person’s lived experiences, knowledge, and skills, and remain committed to learning and change for the good of the group.
  2. Engage in the commission work according to your strengths and capacities. If meeting attendance is not possible, responding to email asks and/or completing commission work on individual time is also valued. When members take on tasks, they are responsible for communicating updates or asks for help on the work to the commission. 
  3. The commission currently meets every 3 weeks for about 15 meetings a year. Members will attend meetings regularly, with at least 4 meetings a year. There may be times when all members of the commission must attend a meeting. Examples of this are: new member conversations, selecting a new clerk, connecting on the state of the commission, or emergency group needs. When these situations arise, all efforts will be made to find a time that works for everyone, and members will do their best to prioritize their attendance at these meetings. 
  4. Review the commission’s processes and principles on a yearly basis (e.g. unpacking white supremacy culture), as well as engage in personal regular reflection on strengths, areas of growth, capacity, and individual impact on members of the commission and to the goals of the commission.

Current Members: 

 Linse Sullivan (they/them), Joshua Diamant (he/him), Rachel Linsmeier Hart (she/her), Lulu Cossich (she/her, she/them), Liz White-Hatton (she/her, they/them), Aimee Pearsall (she/her), Alexandra (Alix) Aber (she/her).

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