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Community Reads

Community Reads are partnerships between Eccles Health Sciences Library and the Office of Health Equity. Diversity & Inclusion (UHealth OHEDI).

Indigenous Students in Higher Education: Developing a Praxis of Survivance

Indigenous Students in Higher Education: Developing a Praxis of Survivance

Facilitator:  Michael Azarani, M.Ed., Pre-Doctoral Intern,

University Counseling Center

May 4 & 11, 2021  @ NOON via Zoom

Welcome to our May 2021 Community Read! We're excited to start virtually meeting with you. We'll have different reading and media material for each session, feel free to join in whenever you are able! Sessions qualify for attendance credit for Nursing and Dental faculty as well as CME credit.

Registration is Required to access the Zoom link and Readings.

University of Utah Land Acknowledgement


Tuesday, May 4, 2021  

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Introductory StatementBuilding a Practice of Survivance: Strategies to Support Natives Navigating the Academic Pipeline

Indigenous students face many barriers to accessing higher education, which has led to an underrepresentation of Indigenous students in universities. Additionally, scholars have noted that disparities in representation increase at the graduate level of training, with even fewer indigenous scholars represented amongst faculty in institutions of her education. Further, Indigenous students who do pursue higher education face a myriad of challenges that range from culturally incommensurate teaching approaches, a devaluation of Indigenous worldviews, and both overt and covert experiences of racism. Such experiences culminate in Indigenous students stepping out of their undergraduate and graduate training programs. As a result, indigenous approaches to knowledge and healing are often absent in professional and academic spaces, which perpetuates the genocidal notion that traditional indigenous knowledge systems are inferior, and, therefore, unneeded. Such perspectives have led to structural alienation and silencing of indigenous people, culminating deleterious health disparities. One solution is expand the representation of indigenous knowledge and people amongst knowledge producing spaces. However, given the enormous barriers that keep Indigenous people out of institutions of higher education, it is difficult for Indigenous people to cultivate the credentials and influence necessary to promote these approaches. Therefore, this community read seeks to provide education and insight to university stakeholders and community members about the barriers that Indigenous people face with the aim of transforming our education system at the University of Utah to support the goals of Indigenous students. In this community read, participants will be invited to explore Indigenous knowledge systems, values, and experiences, with the goal of challenging the colonial systems that devalue such worldviews, and ultimately serve to keep Indigenous people out of intellectual and professional spaces. Specifically, participants will be invited to reflect on differences between western systems of knowledge production and Indigenous knowledge systems, explore barriers to indigenous people accessing higher education, and explore ways to support indigenous people in dismantling barriers through developing a praxis of survivance.


WEEK 1 (Tues, May 4th)



Kimmerer, Robin. (2013) “The Gift of Strawberries.”  Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.  Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013.

Brayboy, Bryan M. et al. (2014)  Looking into the Hearts of Native Peoples: Nation Building as an Institutional Orientation for Graduate Education. American Journal of Education, Vol. 120, No. 4, Racial Diversity in Graduate Education (August 2014), pp. 575-596.

Brayboy, Bryan M. (2004)  Hiding in the Ivy: American Indian students and visibility in elite educational settings.  Harvard Educational Review, 2004, Vol.74 (2), p.125-152.

WEEK 2 (Tues, May 11th)



Brayboy, Bryan M. et al. (2015)  Indigenous Peoples in Higher Education. Journal of American Indian Education, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Spring 2015), pp. 154-186.

Brayboy, Bryan M. (2005)  Toward a Tribal Critical Race Theory in Education. The Urban Review 37.5 (2005): 425-46.

Higgins, David M. (2016)  Survivance in Indigenous Science Fictions.  Vizensor, Silko, Glancy, and the Rejection of Imperial Victimry.   Extrapolation.  Vol. 57, nos 1-2  (2016).


BOOKS (available at Marriott Library) described in Survivance in Indigenous Science Fictions.