Activating Indigenous Knowledge to Create Supportive Educational Environments by Rethinking Family, Community, and School Partnerships

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Hollie Anderson Kulago


In this article, the author describes ways that Indigenous knowledges can be activated through social justice philosophies and pedagogies that promote equitable and fair social-educational systems to support Indigenous students. Specifically, she argues that when considering family-community-school partnerships, family and community are one and the same when viewed through the conceptual framework of k’é and that for indigenous communities, education and community are inseparable. She establishes k’é as a Diné philosophy of community that dictates ways of knowing and being that are rooted in traditional teachings and ceremonies meant to ensure survival of the people. She describes a qualitative study that employed an indigenous methodology in which she asks Diné youth how they define community. The findings of the study imply that to support the Diné youth holistically, educators must promote equity and fairness within schools serving Indigenous communities by partaking in active and critical engagement that includes acquiring an understanding of the histories, contributing to the processes of healing relationships and activating Indigenous knowledges that focuses on philosophies of community.

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Author Biography

Hollie Anderson Kulago, Elmira College

Hollie A. Kulago is an Assistant Professor of Childhood Education at Elmira College in Elmira, NY. She is Diné and originally from Arizona.