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Explore & Practice Self-Identity Expression

In our school classroom instruction includes helping students explore self-identity.  Students have opportunities to practice how they may articulate the cultural part of themselves.  We provide students time to consider skills they could use in environments where they may confront cultural assumptions.

Not Yet

needs this here


Data are gathered and available to decision makers, but action is reliant on decision makers to take initiative to ask for the data.  It is not routine or expected 

We Got This!

Data are routinely gathered and provided to a team that analyzes proportionality.  This is done for many opportunities and classes, not justjunior and senior prep courses.Process includes action plans for addressing any disproportionality and includes consistent monitoring. 



A strong self-identiy, and specifically a strong cultural sense of self, helps students succeed and persist in college.  A cultural self-identity is not as simple as adopting what others think of your own culture, it is about your own personal experiences and family and community values.  Even within the same Native language group, many individual students have different experiences and connections to their culture.  Students need a chance to both learn about their culture and explore their own personal and cultural experiences.  Students may have very different experiences with their Native language and traditional activities. All experiences are valid, but it may take some self-exploration for students to consider their own sense of culture and how they may choose to express that to others. 

It is also important to prepare students for a college environment that may seem very unfamiliar, in which they may be a small minority, and in which others may make cultural assumptions about them.  Thinking ahead of time how they might react is preparing them.  Not all students will want to be an advocate or speak out, so helping them think about reactions that best suit them is key.

Class projects can be designed to help this exploration and counseling can be purposeful about adding the consideration of your cultural self in exploring careers and colleges.

Field Story

Tell us your story

Have a story that illustrates this issue, tell us about it.


Link to more research

"It is clear to us that calls for assimilation for Native students have failed; Native children fight assimilation in schools every day.  There is overwhelming evidence that Native students who excel in school are often also well-educated as tribal peoples (Brayboy & Lomawaima, 2018, p.87)

College Horizons is a summer bridge program for AI/AN high-potential college students.  Keene (2016) described how it  successfully combined cultural self-identification activities with college preparation tasks. Students had different past levels of participation and interaction with their traditional culture; the program helped students across the spectrum explore self-identify and practice how they may articulate the cultural part of themselves, “teaching them to think about who they are as Native people and to be prepared for the identity politics that come with being on a college campus” (Keene, 2016, p. 93).  

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