Indigenous learning lab as prefigurative political action to dismantle settler-colonial system of exclusion
Bird Bear, Aaron
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Ko, D., Bal, A., Bird Bear, A., Orie, L., & Mawene, D. (2022). Indigenous learning lab as prefigurative political action to dismantle settler-colonial system of exclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, doi:10.1080/13603116.2022.2119488
American Indian students continue to experience marginalization in settler-colonial school systems in the United States. American Indian students receive disciplinary punishment more frequently and harshly than white peers. Overrepresentation of American Indian students in school discipline is a byproduct of a long history of oppressive settler-colonial schooling. To address racial disproportionality in school discipline, the Indigenous Learning Lab was enacted through building a university-school-family-community partnership at a rural high school. Learning Lab is a community-driven problem-solving process through which multiple school stakeholders take transformative actions, including identification of systemic challenges entrenched in the settler-colonial school system and design of a new, culturally responsive support system. White administrators and teachers, along with students, family, and community members from the local tribal nation, engaged in prefigurative political action as they participated in the collective design process of the new system. Prefiguration is a present embodiment of new social relations, allowing participants to try new decision-making structures that may lead to what can be considered possible futures. The purpose of this paper is to examine how school stakeholders exerted their collective agency to unpack systemic contradictions in the settler-colonial school system and design a new culturally responsive support system.
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