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Decolonizing Education: Native Americans

This guide was originally created for the use of instructors and students in the reACT Decolonizing Education Experiential Learning Program funded by the 2022-2023 TLTC Curriculum Grants. Specifically: ARCH460; ARCH478; ARCH601; ARCH678; CHBE473; ENCH648



decolonization: a perspective that is place based, nature based, and ecologically guided,  reflecting the patterns of life, the natural rhythms of our energies, and the spiritual, mental,  physical, and emotional needs of human beings. Such a shift reframes nature as living, warm,  dignified, intelligent, and deeply integrated with human beings and their existence.  co-develop a vision of a sustainable future harmonious with nature. is not “uncolonization,” This term challenges the thought of what is seen as knowledge in academia today.

According to Yako, the first step toward decolonizing academic knowledge production is to carefully examine "how knowledge is produced, by whom, whose works get canonized and taught in foundational theories and courses, and what types of bibliographies and references are mentioned in every book and published article."

invite academics to carefully scrutinize the authors and voices that are presented as authorities on a subject or in the classroom, the methods and epistemologies that are taught or given preference, as well as the academic concerns that are seen as fundamental and the ones that are ignored.

language, not geopolitics, should serve as the initial point of decolonization 

Seventh Generation Principle: an Indigenous  perspective that directs our decisions for a sustainable world seven generations into the future, deep examination of short-term and long-term outcomes and attend to the interconnectedness of multiple generations of humans with their ecosystems.  ​​ We borrow the earth from our children's children and it is our duty to protect it and the culture for future generations. All decisions made now are made with the future generations, who will inherit the earth, in mind.

Web of Life: "Humankind has not the woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things conntect." -- Chief Seattle, 1854 

Embodiment or Experiential Pedagogy:  “critical first level learning” (Roth, 2006), where students enter into direct engagement with what they are  studying and gain lived experiences; they reflect on their experiences, and they derive personal insights on long term solutions for critical issues. Personal, first level learning, along with third level learning (literature based and analysis based), is necessary for restoring balance in the  human mind, heart, and spirit; it contradicts our current paradigm of othering, hierarchical  ideologies, and the prioritization of analytical, versus holistic, thinking.

Axiology: study of values; concerned with classifying what things are good, and how good they are

Epistemology: study of knowledge/knowing; knowledge to study reality; addresses cognitive sciences, cultural studies and the history of science; the nature of knowledge and the conditions required for a belief to constitute knowledge, such as truth and justification.  Knowledge, Belief, Truth, Justification

Ontology: study of the nature of human beings existence as individual, in society and in the universe. The main components of an ontology are concepts, relations, instances and axioms

Land:  What is the indigenous concept of land? For many Aboriginal cultures, land means more than property– it encompasses culture, relationships, ecosystems, social systems, spirituality, and law. For many, land means the earth, the water, the air, and all that live within these ecosystems.

Web of Life: "Humankind has not the woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things conntect." -- Chief Seattle, 1854 

focusing on traditional and  Indigenous wisdom, and ways of learning that foster our sense of awe and oneness with nature.

we recognize the diversity represented by Indigenous populations and the lack of one uniform Indigenous worldview, there are common principle  perspectives that are shared across Indigenous communities

"Band" means a sociopolitical division of a tribe, separated from the tribe by historical events or geographical, political, or similar causes. –COMAR