Indigenous communities, across lands and waters, engage in and build complex knowledge systems emergent from particular values and ways of perceiving and being in the world (Cajete, 1994; Deloria & Wildcat, 2001). Indigenous knowledge systems, values, and ways of being are understood and enacted within socio-ecological systems grounded in reciprocal kin relations. Meaning: for Indigenous peoples, teaching, learning, living, and being in relation with human and more-than-human beings is central to our knowledge systems. In Issue #49 of the Bank Street Occasional Papers, Indigenous Pedagogies: Land, Water and Kinship, we bring together Indigenous educators and researchers to demonstrate how Indigenous teaching and learning takes form across contexts.
Anna Lees (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, descendant) began her career as an early childhood classroom teacher in rural northern Michigan. Now, an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Western Washington University, she partners with schools and communities in teacher preparation. Anna is committed to developing and sustaining reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities to engage community leaders as co-teacher educators, opening spaces for Indigenous values and ways of knowing and being in early childhood settings and teacher education. She is currently engaged in research around a land education professional development model led my tribal nations and a relationship-based site embedded professional development model with tribal early learning programs.
Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent) is a professor of the learning sciences and psychology at Northwestern University and recently served as the senior vice president at the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Bang studies
dynamics of culture, learning, and development broadly with a specific focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in creating and implementing more effective and just learning environments in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education. She focuses on reasoning and decision-making about complex socio-ecological systems in
ways that intersect with culture, power, and historicity. Central to this work are dimensions of identity, equity, and community engagement. She conducts research in both schools and informal settings across the life course. She has taught in and conducted research in teacher education as well as leadership preparation programs. Dr. Bang currently serves on the Board of Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences. She also serves as an executive editor of Cognition and Instruction and is on the editorial boards of several other top tiered journals in the field.