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Indigenous Education

A Perspective of Eras for Education for Indigenous Communities
What does "responsive" education mean?

A pedagogical perspective oriented towards placing a student's cultural and social identity at the center of an educational process meant to affirm and develop a student's academic achievement, cultural competence, critical consciousness and leadership efficacy.

Indigenous Education

American Indian Education

Native American Education

Pre-colonial education respective to each community/tribe

Americanization boarding schools, "Kill the Indian, Save the Man"

Marked by Indian Self-Determination Act and Tribal colleges

Indigenous Education

Centering Indigenous philosophies and ideologies through community-based education movements

Indigenous Education Timeline

Student to Student

  • ​What opportunities do students have to connect to each other through learning in your class?

  • Do they know each other’s name? Stories? Family

Student to Teacher

  • What opportunities do students have to connect to you through learning?

  • Do you know their names? Stories? Families?

Student to Family

  • What opportunities do students have to connect to their families through learning?

Student to Wider Community

  • What opportunities do students have to connect to the community through learning?

  • Who do they consider as their community and how does this impact their daily life?


Cultural Safety

  • To what extent am I able to conceptualize and understand my own privilege and social location as it pertains to students’ learning?

Service Learning

  • ​Do students have the opportunity to give back to their school and wider community through what they’ve learning in your class?

Connection to Student Behavior

  • Do students understand that you have high expectations of them because you care about their learning and well-being?


  • Do you actively model your core values? Do students have the opportunity to witness you demonstrating your core values?

Core Values


  • How are the respective aspects of the wellness wheel incorporated into your class?

Connection to Land

  • What opportunities do students have to connect their learning to the land around them?

  • How is a student’s land base/homelands incorporated into your class?

Kinesthetic Learning

  • What opportunities do students have to physically engage in learning in your class?

  • How often can they engage learning through movement?

Whole Self

  • What opportunities do students have to engage in all parts of themselves in your class?

  • Do they feel your class is a safe space?


  • Indigenous people are/were not poor planners.

  • How is your curriculum guided by thorough and effective planning?

Rigorous & Supportive Instruction

  • Is every student working at a level of difficulty that is both supportive and maintains very high expectations for student achievement?

  • Is learning accessible to all students?

Leadership Opportunities

  • Do students have the opportunity for leadership and/or ownership in your class?

  • What constitutes leadership?

Authentic & Applied Learning

  • Are students taking action through learning?

  • Is the curriculum and instruction meaningful to students?

  • Are they gaining real-life skills?

Academic Excellence

Indigenizing Content 

  • Is an Indigenous perspective of your content available to students?

  • Are you conducting research to identify resources for integrating an Indigenous perspective?

Creative Expression

  • Do students have an opportunity to express their learning through creative mediums in your class?


  • Do I incorporate language in my classroom and intentionally make it less-English dominant?

  • Do I encourage students to use their language?


  • Do students have the opportunity to explore their strengths and challenges in your class?

  • Do they have the opportunity to build skills

Relevant Curriculum

  • Are students connecting their cultural and social identity to your class?

Books, Websites, and Other Resources

Learn-Ed Nations Inventory, A Tool for Improving Schools With American Indian and Alaska Native Students


In August 2001, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory reconvened a panel of master American Indian and Alaska Native educators. There was a desire to support schools further by providing up-to-date educational research—both mainstream and Native student focused research—that would give school communities access to current thinking about educational improvement and best practices. Thus, a list of references and resources, each keyed to indicators identified in the inventory, was compiled with input from Indian and Alaska Native educators and expert researchers. The Indian/Alaska Native practitioners decided the first resource that should be devised is a comprehensive inventory of indicators for the school community environment. The inventory is an appropriate tool for the school and community to gather baseline data—that is, how are they doing now? They can then use that information to chart a course for the future.

Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education, Teaching Tolerance


This critical practices guide offers practical strategies for creating a space where academic and social-emotional goals are accomplished side by side. It also provides valuable advice for implementing culturally responsive pedagogy and describes how teachers can bring anti-bias values to life by.

Indigenizing Education, Alaska Native Forum


The goal for the second day was to consider our specific educational environments and what it might mean to indigenize them. By this we mean infusing indigenous values and perspectives into every aspect of higher education, including our teaching practices, research and assessment methodologies, scholarly theories, modes of discourse, conflict resolution strategies, architectural and budgetary choices, hiring practices, and more.  We don’t mean incorporating small features of them into the status quo, nor do we necessarily mean replacing traditional Western approaches with indigenous Sample Agenda Silence Alaska Native Issues in Higher Education Culturally Responsive Teaching and Curricula Visual Learning Exercise Conversation on Storytelling, Direct and Indirect Learning Small Group Reflection Group Work Critical Incident Questionnaire 42 Indigenizing Education ones.  We mean giving equal credence to and having the flexibility to draw from indigenous approaches as appropriate. Indigenizing education means that indigenous approaches are seen as normal, central, and useful, rather than archaic, exotic, alternative, or otherwise marginal.

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Education Plan


The purpose of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (the Plan) is to assist education providers to accelerate improvements in the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. Helpful strategies and conceptual framing.

Culturally Responsive Schooling for Indigenous Youth: A Review of the Literature


This article reviews the literature on culturally responsive schooling (CRS) for Indigenous youth with an eye toward how we might provide more equitable and culturally responsive education within the current context of standardization and accountability. Although CRS for Indigenous youth has been advocated for over the past 40 years, schools and classrooms are failing to meet the needs of Indigenous students. The authors suggest that although the plethora of writing on CRS reviewed here is insightful, it has had little impact on what teachers do because it is too easily reduced to essentializations, meaningless generalizations, or trivial anecdotes—none of which result in systemic, institutional, or lasting changes to schools serving Indigenous youth. The authors argue for a more central and explicit focus on sovereignty and self-determination, racism, and Indigenous epistemologies in future work on CRS for Indigenous youth.

Culturally Based Education for Indigenous Language and Culture A National Forum to Establish Priorities for Future Research


Review federal policies supporting indigenous language and culture in education • Review the current research on indigenous language and culture • Discuss the manner in which language and culture is reflected by educational practice • Identify the areas in which additional research is needed to better define, operationalize, and evaluate indigenous language and culture education efforts • Prioritize and justify the areas into a recommended R&D agenda

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