Non-Native Teacher Activists Theorizing Justice on Stolen Land

What Will Be Required of Us?


This work is about how we can heal from settler colonialism.  Education is often thought of as the answer to social problems (as Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”). In the context of the US nation-state such liberatory claims are undermined by the weaponization of schooling for purposes of assimilation of peoples and elimination of cultures.  Within their classrooms, in the halls of government, and in the streets, teacher activists are fighting against oppressive and violent schooling practices and for students, for democracy, and for the very future of all of us on Turtle Island. 

Teacher activist identity formation is not well understood, nor is the role of activist collectives in the nurturing of new activists, so this study asks teacher activists to reflect on the ways they became activists and how they have tried to spark new teachers to become activists. A small group of non-Native activists formed a Teacher Inquiry Group (TIG) to consider these questions and also to wrestle with the concept of decolonization of teacher activism, and the possibilities of working with Native education activists to envision a future in which education contributes to self-determination for individuals and for all peoples. 

The results of our work together point not to one definitive answer; there is no “how to” pamphlet for decolonizing teacher activist work. Instead, we unveil additional questions that might need to be addressed before we can begin to envision a more just and sustainable future for all.


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

  • Settler Colonial Schooling, Then and Now
  • The Two Faces (Rana) of American Education
  • Teacher Identity, Professionalism, Agency and Activism
  • Teacher Activist Collectives
  • Theoretical Framework: democracy always-in-the-making, Indigenous Feminisms; Native Sovereignty and Democracy: Incommensurable? The Learning Spirit; Answerability; Indigenous Futurities
  • Chapter 3: Methods <–> Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results / Settler Colonialism Constrains Our Activist Work
  • Chapter 5: Healing; Theorizing a Teacher Activism Triad


I am actively looking for a gig in higher ed / teacher education. Also always open to new fun projects and ideas!

Wide-Ranging Interests:

Social Justice … all the justice!

Integrated Curriculum Design

Community-based teaching, learning, and research.

Indigenous Feminisms, Decolonizing work in education, public health, and the law.