Educating for Indigenous Futurities
Applying Collective Continuance Theory in Teacher Preparation Education
K-12 classrooms are important sites for anti-colonial and Indigenous critiques of the settler-nation, neoliberalism, and globalization, all of which undermine Indigenous futurities while simultaneously fueling climate change. We draw from our experiences as Indigenous university educators, and from the experiences of our students who are training to become elementary and secondary classroom teachers in the U.S. We analyze student journals in which students documented what they were learning, reflected on how a university course on Decolonization was shaping their understanding of their own K-12 educational experiences, and articulated aspirations for their own future teaching practice. In our work with Indigenous students who are training to be classroom teachers, we frame education as part of the larger project in which we can better understand our ancestral Indigenous teachings for the purpose of deepening our Indigenous identities and knowledges; inherent in these teachings is a responsibility to our human and more than human relations. In our paper, we argue for the importance, and provide examples of, using the Western educational system in a way that supports Indigenous teachings and Indigenous identity development. Doing so is not just important diversity, equity, and inclusion work that benefits Indigenous peoples, but rather is critical work that benefits all peoples, as Indigenous knowledges contain within them answers to some of society’s most pressing problems, including climate change. In this process, we affirm the importance of Indigenous educators who are learning to become good ancestors for future generations, which is a vital part of what Potowatomi scholar, Kyle Powys Whyte (2018) calls collective continuance. Our work in educating future teachers emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinarity, something Indigenous knowledge systems have always known and which will be critical for addressing climate change. Within Indigenous cultural teachings, it makes no sense to separate the so-called hard or natural sciences from the humanities. Why would humans see themselves as separate from the natural world? Why would our histories not be interwoven in teaching and understanding our sciences? The larger goal of our work is to center Indigenous knowledges in K-12 education. To do so, we call upon Indigenous peoples to be in front of the classroom and lead within our elementary and secondary schools, to teach about caring for Lands and relations and connecting this learning to addressing climate change caused by colonial practices. We also call upon non-Indigenous educators to educate themselves about Indigenous knowledges so that they may play an important part in collective continuance and ensuring Indigenous futurities.
Copyright (c) 2022 Stephany RunningHawk Johnson, Michelle Jacob
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