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Empowering Indigenous Identity Through

                                 Instructional Frameworks

                               By Amber Godwin, Janelle Abela, and Kathleen Rice

              Schools are expected to empower students to develop not just academically but also socially
              and emotionally. In the United States, the typically Eurocentric ideologies that undergird
              opportunities and curricula in the schools may make such empowerment difficult for Indigenous
              students. This article explores Sabzalian’s (2019) six frameworks for instruction that can
              empower Indigenous identities in the classroom.

                ducators who seek to empower Indigenous students need to be attentive to the
            Eimpact of the underlying culture of education in the United States to ensure that
            such students find identity and opportunity in their classrooms.  What is learned in
            school  through  both  hidden  (Anyon,  1980;  Shyman,  2020)  and  direct  curriculum
            implementation indicates a social construct that may reinforce previously constructed
            power structures, historical contexts, and social relations (McLauren, 2017). Although
            schools reflect the communities in which they are situated (Vygotsky, 1978), it is no
            secret that those in the United States also adhere to and perpetuate Eurocentric ideologies
            (Abela & Dague, 2020; Rovito & Giles, 2013). Furthermore, the idea of an equal
            opportunity for a standards-based classroom education does not necessarily equate
            to equal opportunities or equal representation in school curricula (Godwin, 2021a).
            Unfortunately, schools usually act as a reinforcement of a colonial mindset (Graveline,
            2000)  and  inherent  Protestant  values  (Weber,  1905)  that  align  with  capitalism—a
            thriving root of education still today in many cases. Furthermore, scholars have been
            expressing concern for decades (Harrigan, 1983; Wilson & Jones, 1976), recounting
            how  education  is  primarily  focused  on  bureaucracy,  social  control,  and  classism.
            These observations are concerning because there is evidence that students learn socio-
            cognitive behaviors through instructional models (Bandura, 1986).
               When considering schools in such a sense, the institution exists as a reinforcing
            structure that does not allow for escape from that initial colonial mindset. Challenging
            that ideology can feel dangerous for students, particularly those with Indigenous
            identities (Johnson, 2003) but should instead be celebrated as a transformative act
            (Shirley, 2017). All students in the United States should have the opportunity to
            become liberated through their education (Freire, 1973) rather than repressed or
            underrepresented through an exclusion of their community and culture (Battiste,
            2017;  Woolford  &  Gacek,  2016).  That  dynamic  cannot  be  changed  without  a
            transforming action (Freire, 1970) on the part of the players within the school.
               Teachers  can  help  facilitate  that  liberation  through  critically  reflecting  on
            their practice (Brookfield, 2017), intentionally making changes to what and how
            they  teach,  and  then  growing  from  there  to  include  more  critical  thinking  and
            participatory learning practices (Mason et al., 2019). For the purposes of this article,
            the terms “Indigenous” and “Native” will be used to refer to those who self-identify
            as Indigenous and/or Native American. We concur with Quinn (2020), who noted,
                   The use of this term is not intended to diminish the distinctiveness of specific
                   identities, nor is it supporting Pan-Indian/Indigenous approaches to working
                   with Indigenous Peoples… it is not possible to address all Indigenous Peoples

            Changing Perspectives on Teaching and Learning                                                     13
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