Posted by: MC | June 17, 2013

Native – nonNative Partnerships: One Step in Making it Real

A Minthorn, MC, R Sampsel -- ATNI office 2007

Yay!  A publication.

Lots of you know that I write pretty regularly for scholarly outlets.  I don’t mention that stuff often here, but word just came in from the Teachers College Register (TCR) of Columbia University that a very cool commentary just went live on the TCR webpage for this week.  It’s title — PARTNERSHIP WITH NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES:  CAN HIGHER EDUCATION SHOW UP?  It’s only free for a week, then TCR charges for access, so check it out and let us know what you think!

As background, here’s where the article came from.  Over the past eight years I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Roy H. Sampsel (Wyandotte/Choctaw – pictured above right) and other Native American Tribal Leaders.  A primary focus for the work Roy and I have done has been the development and delivery of a graduate-level curriculum based in contemporary and traditional indigenous ways of knowing, especially as these ways of knowing are immediately relevant to education and counseling practices in the U.S.  While this work with Roy and the many Tribal Leaders who advise and guide the curriculum has provided significant personal pleasure (like building friendships and watching students gain insights in ways immediately relevant to teaching and counseling), it has also given me a unique and rigorous opportunity to walk all this talk surrounding the growing word salad of terms like social justice, diversity, multicultural competence….

Building and sustaining these kinds of partnerships has big appeal to both partners but is anything but easy.  As we moved into our eighth year of collaboration, Roy and I decided to take a more systematic look back over out work together and to give a go at writing about our experiences for scholarly journals.  Specifically, we wanted to write about the challenges and opportunities of forming respectful working relationships between our country’s decidedly dominant-culture institutions of higher education and the Tribal Nations and peoples indigenous to this land.  One of our mutual colleagues, Antone Minthorn (Cayuse – pictured above left), the former Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation (CTUIR), speaks with studied confidence of the “renaissance in Indian Country.”  Former Chairman Minthorn’s comment reflects the cultural and economic resilience of Indigenous communities as their collective intelligence and effort remains rooted in ancestral ways of knowing, seeing and being.  While this kind of descriptor can feed into romantic notions nonNatives carry about Native American culture, there has been little romance in the onslaught of challenges Native American people have withstood and continue to endure.  Building Native/nonNative partnerships that actually support the resilience Antone Minthorne sees is the opportunity and challenge Roy and I have been engaging.  Our experience, we hope, can be instructive.

A longer manuscript is out for editorial consideration by an American Psychological Association journal, but the TCR requested that we craft a shorter version and here it is!  Check the second column just under the photo and there we’ll be.

Please give a read and let us know what you think.

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