The Gift of Education: How Indigenous Knowledges Can Transform the Future of Public Education


  • Michelle M. Jacob University of Oregon
  • Leilani Sabzalian University of Oregon
  • Joana Jansen University of Oregon
  • Tary J. Tobin University of Oregon
  • Claudia G. Vincent University of Oregon
  • Kelly M. LaChance University of Oregon



Indigenous Knowledges, culture, curriculum policy, Indian education, relationships


This article advocates for the necessity of Indigenous Knowledges in furthering Indigenous self-determination in public schools, as well as furthering the broad aims of public education. Drawing attention to past efforts across the United States to transform the public school curriculum and analyzing data from testimonies given at Oregon State Legislature Hearings, we argue that Indigenous Knowledges offer an important resource for educating all students responsibly and improving relationships within and across communities. Framing these ideas as gift-giving logic, we argue that if educators and policy-makers are open, they can learn a great deal from Indigenous Knowledges and advocacy efforts.

Author Biographies

Michelle M. Jacob, University of Oregon

Professor, Department of Education Studies

Leilani Sabzalian, University of Oregon

Assistant Proessor, Department of Education Studies

Joana Jansen, University of Oregon

Research Associate, Northwest Indian Language Institute

Tary J. Tobin, University of Oregon

Department of Special Education and Clinical Services

Claudia G. Vincent, University of Oregon

Senior Research Assistant, Center for Equity Promotion

Kelly M. LaChance, University of Oregon

Assistant Program Director, Sapsik'?a?á Program




How to Cite

Jacob, M. M., Sabzalian, L., Jansen, J., Tobin, T. J., Vincent, C. G., & LaChance, K. M. (2018). The Gift of Education: How Indigenous Knowledges Can Transform the Future of Public Education. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 20(1), 157–185.