Educating for Sovereignty: The Development of Indigenous Knowledge and the Journey Home




Francis, Lee

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The focus of this inquiry was to gain an understanding of the process by which Indigenous people in the United States come to know their own indigeneity and specifically how local ecologies can inform the ways in which Indigenous communities can approach decolonizing their systems of knowledge while continuing to exert self and collective sovereignty and self-determination. Seven Pueblo Indigenous community members, including the researcher, participated in the inquiry. Utilizing an ethnographic approach, the inquiry looked at traditional learning within an Indigenous context and how that has played out in their lives. The community members were invited to participate as part of a research team to be learners and researchers in collaboration with the primary researcher as a way of asserting an Indigenous process throughout the inquiry. Conversations, field notes, visual media, and artifacts were utilized to collect observables which was then presented in a Readers Theater format in order to underscore the organic and Indigenous methodologies woven throughout the inquiry. Implications of this study look at the role of the sovereign leader in developing and sustaining schools and systems, which are in alignment with the local Indigenous ecology as a means of decolonizing schools that primarily serve Indigenous students in the United States.



Indigenous education, Indigenous knowledge, Native American, Pueblo, Indigeneity, Decolonization, Sovereignty


Francis, L. (2014). Educating for sovereignty: The development of indigenous knowledge and the journey home (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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