Societal Issues Facing Indigenous Education: Introduction

  • Bryan McKinley Jones BrayboyEmail author
  • Megan Bang
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Wider societal issues can impact significantly on the education of Indigenous Peoples, although sometimes the connections are not obvious to everyone. This section presents the reader with a wide range of current, and ongoing, challenges across a variety of Indigenous contexts. The chapters include exploring the school-prison-community trajectory of Indigenous Peoples in the USA and Aotearoa New Zealand, human rights violations in South America, environmental education in the USA and the Pacific, and the engagement and support of Indigenous students and their families. Along with further chapters in other Indigenous contexts, they all relate to the reimagining of the role of Indigenous knowledges in education and identity formation processes.

We have forwarded in this introduction a framework (referred to as the five E’s) around which to conceptualize the narrative that informs this section (Brayboy et al., RISE: a study of indigenous boys and men. Paper prepared for RISE: boys and men of color, Philadelphia, 2017). The five E’s are empowerment, enactment, engagement, envision, and enhancement. Empowerment is how Indigenous communities come to unlock and utilize their own inherent power to change their communities and lives. Enactment is the intentional practice that communities use to teach their children to be part of the group. Engagement centers on relationships between people and place, rooted in mutual respect and sustenance. Envision is guided by creating a purpose-driven framework which, we argue, relates to community self-determination. And lastly, enhancement is a recognition that there is room for both institutional and tribal support to address the envisioning process. These important concepts, we argue, do not place us as “victims” regarding the impact of wider societal structures but provide a sense of agency (both individual and community) and hope about how to recapture, reestablish, and re-instantiate our nations of peoples. We believe that the chapters in this section highlight both the perils and the possibilities of the futures of Indigenous Peoples.


Societal issues Nation building Cultural reflexivity Community empowerment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy
    • 1
  • Megan Bang
    • 2
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityArizonaUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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