Decolonizing Indigenous Education

In honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, this week's review examines how to reform indigenous education in American public schools

Indian Education for All: Decolonizing Indigenous Education in Public Schools

Hopkins, John P. Teachers College Press, 2020
216p bibl index, 9780807764596 $105.00, 9780807764589 $34.95, 9780807779194 $27.96

Hopkins (Saint Martin’s Univ.) provides the next steps forward for improving indigenous education in public schools. He engages several important questions, such as whether Native Americans and public-school educators can have authentic conversations, whether current reforms can reconcile tensions, and which reform strategies should be implemented. Hopkins first examines the historical and contemporary circumstances of Native American schooling in both broad and specific ways, providing a segue into a detailed look at Montana’s 50-year effort to establish today’s Indian Education for All policy. As Hopkins accurately points out, however, mere inclusion of Native-themed coursework is not enough to effect systemic change. Drawing on indigenous studies concepts such as survivance, he argues that a process of decolonization within the school systems must occur. Hopkins indicates that tribal critical race theory (TribalCrit) should be used to deconstruct how settler colonialism continues to pervade education for and about Native peoples. Similar in practice to critical race theory, TribalCrit incorporates indigenous perspectives and experiences. These efforts would make space for learning from reconciliation efforts and could culminate in culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy and praxis for all educational participants in Montana and other states who realize the need to incorporate indigenous education for all.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals.
F. K. Holmes, Institute for American Indian Arts.
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Native American Studies
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Education
Choice Issue: Oct 2021

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