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Culturally Sustaining and Revitalizing Pedagogy

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) was offered by Paris (2012) to address the longstanding American tradition of using deficit approaches to education (Paris &Alim, 2014) that were focused on dehumanization of oppressed youth (Paris, 2012). The scholar was concern with what he viewed as the need to honor the practices that viewed the languages and literacies of marginalized populations as assets to address social and cultural justice (Paris & Alim, 2014).

The researcher claims that culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) “seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain—linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling” (McCarty & Lee, 2014, p.102). An key aspect of CSP is the acceptance of using “both traditional and evolving ways of cultural connectedness for contemporary youth” (Paris, 2012, p. 95). The idea of blending both traditional and contemporary means to generate cultural connectedness is critical for my study as I search to uncover both traditional and contemporary values deemed essential for sustaining Blackfoot culture.

McCarty & Lee (2014) connect the social and cultural justice ideas expressed by (Paris and Alim, 2014) with Native peoples’ desire for “tribal sovereignty, tribal autonomy, self-determination, and self-identification” (Brayboy, 2005; p. 429). The scholars added the concept of revitalizing to culturally sustaining to propose Culturally Sustaining/Revitalizing Pedagogy (CSRP). A central aspect of culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy is helping Indigenous communities move closer to educational sovereignty.

CSRP is highlighted by the desire to focus attention on the “sociohistorical and contemporary contexts of Native American schooling” (McCarty & Lee, 2014; p. 103) that has continued the ongoing legacy of colonization. The scholars define Indigenous CSRP as having three components explicitly designed to address issues experienced by American Indians including:

1) “attend directly to asymmetrical power relations and the goal of transforming legacies of colonization” (p.103);

2) “recognizes the need to reclaim and revitalize what has been disrupted and displaced by colonization” (p.103);

3) “the need for community-based accountability. Respect, reciprocity, responsibility, and the importance of caring relationships” (p.103)

IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to help your school community gain an understanding of one’s sense of self, as well as developing an understanding of students’ values; having an understanding of one’s values matters because research has shown that it is linked to better well-being, less stress, and increased confidence in one’s ability to succeed.

Understanding students’ values can be developed with culturally sustaining practices that reflect a student’s identity and experience. Particularly helpful is focusing efforts on cultural competence and relevance and providing opportunities for students to practice bridging differences between diverse identities in a safe environment. To learn how you can create a dynamic learning environment that honors your student community, visit our website at, or contact us at or 1800-507-2502.

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