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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


Enos (2002) characterizes the agency of cultural reclamation to be “deep sovereignty,” i.e., agency in protecting core Indigenous values, knowledge systems, and ways of being. Enos’ deep sovereignty framework is grounded in respect for indigenous agency to self-determining language, resources (land and culture), wellness and health, and religion. Team Maryland supports Native American deep sovereignty by engaging in relationships rooted in Indigenous practices and worldviews (Django & Samy Alim, 2017). -- SOURCE: reACT Native American Client Research Report (2017)

Enos, A. D.,(2015). Deep Sovereignty: a Foundation for Indigenous Sustainability. In Indigenous innovation: universalities and peculiarities. (pp. 25–42).  Sovereignty is generally associated with governmental functions, rights, and responsibilities, particularly in terms of interactions and power relationships within and between nations. In my work as an educational researcher, I have been challenged by discussions in New Mexico Pueblo Indian communities to view sovereignty as a foundation for cultural survival that reaches more in-depth than politics and government and into the very way of life of a people.

Disko, S. (2017). Indigenous Cultural Heritage in the Implementation of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention: Opportunities, Obstacles and Challenges. In A. Xanthaki, S. Valkonen, L. Heinämäki, & P. Nuorgam (Eds.), Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Heritage: Rights, Debates, Challenges (pp. 39–77). Brill. 

Huaman, E. (2016) Indigenous Innovation: Universalities and Peculiarities. ebook. 
Rooted in diverse cultures and in distinct regions of the world, Indigenous people have for generations created, maintained, and negotiated clear and explicit relationships with their environments. Despite numerous historical disruptions and steady iterations of imperialism that continue through today, Indigenous communities embody communities of struggle/resistance and intense vitality/creativity. In this work, a fellowship of Indigenous research has emerged, and our collective intent is to share critical narratives that link together Indigenous worldviews, culturally-based notions of ecology, and educational practices in places and times where human relationships with the world that are restorative, transformative, and just are being sought.

The collector and the collected: decolonizing area studies librarianship. Browndorf, M., Pappas, E., & Arays, A. (Eds.). (2021). Library Juice Press. Challenging theories of curatorship and stewardship -- Collections are our relatives: disrupting the singular, white man's joy that shaped collections / Jessie Loyer -- Acknowledging Indigenous nationhood, sovereignties: a library's obligation / Desmond Wong -- Tracing a cosmopolitan subject: dislocation and haunting in the Southeast Asian archive / Judith Henchy -- Center and periphery -- The empire in the stacks: colonialist and orientalist legacies in the Turkish and Turkic collections of the British Library / Michael Erdman -- Unpacking the other's library: Latin American book collectors and US research libraries / Jose Guerrero -- Reconstructing "the ladder of languages" in 21st century research libraries: the elision of the North Caucasus in western scholarship and collection development / Kit Condill -- Evaluating practice -- Loosening the grip of imperialism and white supremacy in Hmong studies: the role of area studies librarianship / Maij Xyooj -- Decolonizing classification and subject headings in the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) / Wai Yi Ma -- Indonesian case studies in decolonization / Zoë McLaughlin -- Human rights-based instruction in the library classroom / Melissa Gasparotto.


“It is part of an existence when you are actively participating and living your culture.” -Mario Harley, Piscataway Indian citizen

Harley, M. Indigenous Artistry: Mario Harley.  This article was originally published on October 1, 2020, on  Mario creates traditional Native art and artisanship. He uses a variety of natural materials from the environment to create intricate handcrafted Native art, including leather, deer skins, feathers, porcupine quills, birch bark, sweet grass, gourds, beadwork and shells--just to name a few.