Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder

Second Advisor

Ernesto Colin

Third Advisor

João Paraskeva


American schooling and Indigenous peoples share a coarse relationship mired by devastating periods of forced removal, indoctrination, and brutal assimilation methods. Over the course of more than a century of failed education policy—though often veiled in good intentions—Indigenous peoples have yet to witness a comprehensive Indigenous education program that fundamentally honors the federal trust responsibility of the United States government. On the contrary, with a contemporary approach of apathy, invisibility, and institutionalization, it is not difficult to see the legacy of settler colonialism continuing to wield its oppressive influence on Indigenous communities. Wolfe’s (2006) claim that “invasion is a structure, not an event” (p. 388), prompts the recognition of the coloniality of power—referring to the interpellation of modern forms of exploitation and domination, long after the termination of formal colonial operations. This decolonizing interpretive approach of this dissertation served to: a) examine the historical and philosophical foundations of colonizing epistemicides and their impact on contemporary Indigenous education; and b) move toward the formulation of a decolonizing Indigenous curricular framework for contemporary Indigenous education.

Grounded in Antonia Darder’s (2012, 2019) critical bicultural theory and a decolonizing interpretive methodology, this qualitative study examined the complex factors facing the indigenization of education, while implicating the pernicious impact of epistemicides and a culture of forgetting. The study provided a robust framework by which to situate a particular curricular approach through a set of five decolonizing principles that aim to shape a meaningful reflection of Indigenous consciousness. A commitment to these decolonizing principles necessarily means an emancipatory re-reading of Indigenous relations within the scope of contemporary education. It calls on educational leaders to paradoxically ground their decision-making in the ancestral teachings of Indigenous communities, for a genuine reimagination of self-determination and sovereignty in the contemporary moment.