Leilani Sabzalian

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Dr. Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq) is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies in Education and the Co-Director of the Sapsik’wałá (Teacher) Education Program at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on creating spaces to support Indigenous students and Indigenous self-determination in public schools, and preparing teachers to challenge colonialism in curriculum, policy, and practice. She is also dedicated to improving Indigenous education in the state of Oregon by serving on the American Indian/Alaska Native State Advisory Committee and collaborating with the Office of Indian Education on professional development to support the implementation of Tribal History/Shared History, a law that mandates curriculum on tribal history and sovereignty in all K-12 public schools in Oregon.

Dr. Sabzalian’s first book, Indigenous Children’s Survivance in Public Schools, uses storytelling to document the ways colonialism continues to shape educational policy and practice, and foster educators’ anticolonial literacy and commitment to supporting Indigenous students in public schools. Her latest book, Teaching Critically About Lewis and Clark: Challenging Dominant Narratives in K-12 Curriculum, co-authored with Drs. Alison Schmitke and Jeff Edmundson, complicates the Corps of Discovery and promotes students’ active and critical engagement with history.

Education: 2015 Doctor of Philosophy, Critical and Sociocultural Studies, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR; 2003 Master of Education, Educational Leadership, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR; 2002 Bachelor of Arts, Educational Studies, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Honors and Awards: 2020 Outstanding Book Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA); 2020 Human Rights Leadership Award, Springfield Alliance for Education and Respect (SAFER); 2019 Indigenous Educator of the Year, Oregon Indian Education Association; 2018 Honorable Mention, National Council of Teachers of English; English Journal Edwin M. Hopkins Award; 2017 Curriculum Inquiry Writing Institute Fellow, Ontario, CA; 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award, Narrative SIG, American Educational Research Association; 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award, Division B, American Educational Research Association; 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award Runner-Up, Qualitative Research Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association; 2015 Wayne Morse Dissertation Fellowship, Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics (declined due to other accepted award); 2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.

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