District/College: Lane Community College
Job Assignment/Position Title: Native American Student Program Coordinator | Longhouse Steward | Contracted Faculty
Local Association: LCCEA
Years of Educator Experience: 18
What are three ways you have actively elevated equity?
For our Indigenous students at Lane, I guide and mentor my students in working within and around, and understanding “the system” in order to achieve their goals. For my colleagues, I have helped in the creation of our local Committee on Racial Equity and Social Justice at Lane Community College. For our larger Oregon community, I helped shape and breathe life into the Racial Justice Institute, of which I co-facilitate the Fellowship for 30 select educators of color.
What is your equity stance?
Equity is commitment to community. It’s an understanding that our action, or inaction, can and will affect others in profound ways. It’s the everyday decisions that we make to show up and provide support to our communities in large and small ways that align with our natural character. It’s the confidence to stand side by side with our colleagues as a means to shore up the courage to be changemakers together. It’s the understanding that our voice and hearts are the strongest and most powerful tools we possess. It’s the courage to be a leader, follower, or supporter…and sometimes being willing to do them all at once.
What is your favorite social justice quote?
Speaking about building and supporting community through Indigenous Ways of Knowing – “The way to learn of the interests and concerns of the people is to listen. Listen to their stories. For the most part, they will not tell you directly what they see as their needs and best approaches for their people. They will use stories. When you listen carefully, you will begin to hear what they value. You will begin to decern what they care about and what their concerns are. Then you can go back and check to see if you are right. But, not do not check with direct questions. Check indirectly. Then they will know you have listened.” -Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley (Yupiaq), Ed.S., Ph.D.
Can you share one equity focused resource or student read that you recommend?
I love the content created by IllumiNative (illumiNatives.org). “Created and led by Native peoples, IllumiNative is a new nonprofit initiative designed to increase the visibility of – and challenge the negative narrative about – Native Nations and peoples in American society,” particularly in the media, filmed industry, pop culture and education. There are free downloadable curriculum and visual printable resources for the classroom.