Our school provides Indigenous spaces*. These are times and places in which Indigenous culture is the expected culture. Native language, traditions, foods, customs are part of the environment.
*Examples include a culture room, Native student services, dance groups, Native Language learning etc,
Our school does not make an effort to create Indigenous spaces.
Our school has a space and/or a club and/or a cultural week, but these Indigenous spaces are limited in time and scope.
We Got This!
Our school includes physical spaces in which Native culture is the norm and students can go there and feel comfortable. Our school also includes times in which Native culture is recognized and valued with the full student body-times in which spaces that are typically western are adjusted to reflect Native culture. Our school has opportunities for students to learn Native languages, dance, and customs.
The environment of schools and colleges generally reflect the cultural norms and expectations of white middle to upperclass culture. Students spend much of their time practicing and code-shifting to best respond in this culture. Having spaces that allow students to take a break from this expectation is very healthy and is supported by research to assist in retention and academic success. Providing these spaces in high school not only can help students feel comfortable, but can help students assess how important this support is for them in considering college campuses. Exploring what colleges offer as Native student services should be included in students’ college exploration.
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Multiple sources (Adelman et al., 2013; Chen, 2012; Soria, 2015; Guillory & Wolverton, 2008) cite participation in Native student organizations or clubs as positively influencing a sense of belonging and resulting college success and persistence. Spaces for students to speak their own language and be around others with cultural comfort is evidenced as assistive to college belonging (Contreras 2011). This may be particularly aligned with Alaska Native students given the diversity and strength of Indigenous languages spoken in Alaska (Holton, n.d., n.p.).