Reclaiming, Reframing and Recreating

Decolonizing Stories in one Collaborative Early Childhood Education Policy Effort


  • Lucinda Heimer University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Thelma Nayquonabe Lac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin
  • Dianne Sullivan Center City, Minnesota


Opening pathways to higher education while still honoring the cultural identity of Indigenous students in early childhood education (ECE) is the central goal of this work. Enhancing ECE cross-cultural partnerships with Indigenous communities by decentering Euro-Western epistemologies across education systems is needed. This study explores the question: How do the stories of three lives come together in one Indigenous community in ways that inform policy for Anishinaabe children and early childhood educators? Building from a project developed across institutions and cultural contexts in the Midwest United States, Indigenous theory and duoethnography are used to interact in culturally sustaining ways. The process of connecting across cultural and political barriers reveals that representation matters; teachers who culturally and linguistically reflect the children they teach provide one possibility for recentering Indigenous knowledge. Articulation agreements, field experiences and cross-cultural courses for future teachers are created and begin to address credentialing needs of tribal members to teach in this Anishinaabe community PreK-12 school. By decolonizing our storytelling, we connect Indigenous identity with current ECE policy. The power of our work is not in a single story but in the intersections uncovered through sharing our stories.






Articles (Peer Reviewed Research)