Memes and Social Messages: Teaching a Critical Literacies Curriculum on DAPL

Becky Beucher, David Low, Amy Smith


This article documents the design and implementation of a culturally responsive critical media literacies curriculum centered around media representations of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Students (grades 6-8) were invited to discuss media imagery relating to DAPL and to create memes reflecting their understandings. To situate this work, we articulate a framework that blends critical media literacies and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy. We analyze students’ spoken and multimodal responses to a curriculum that purposefully foregrounded Native perspectives and digital media. Ultimately, we argue that students must be invited to leverage their epistemic privilege in responding to contemporary social issues.


Native American, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Critical Media Literacy, Middle School, Digital Composing

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2020 International Journal of Multicultural Education