Foundations of Indigenous Education in the Pacific Northwest

Insights and expertise from learners and scholars regionwide

The Need

Indigenous education is rooted in place — and Northwest educators hoping to incorporate foundational principles of Indigenous education need to start with an understanding of Indigenous education in the Pacific Northwest. 

Indigenous education principles can improve education — and life — experiences for Native and non-Native students alike. It’s not enough to modify Western curricula: Indigenous education should be grounded in experiential, place-based learning developed from the ground up by Native educators. 

The Resource

Foundations of Indigenous Education in the Pacific Northwest was developed after our Indigenous School Improvement report to strengthen the focus on regional efforts in the Pacific Northwest. This report presents themes that emerged from conversations with key education leaders and scholars, along with examples and resources from Indigenous education leaders and scholars in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

 The report describes five foundational elements of Indigenous education models: 

  • The educational program centers Indigenous knowledge, culture, and language
  • The educational program celebrates and incorporates Indigenous resources in the community
  • The educational program is part of a broader system that fosters safety and healing in communities
  • All aspects of the educational program promote Tribal sovereignty and self-determination
  • The educational program increases the visibility of Indigenous cultures
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