This essay features three stories of “place-based” leadership in two Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest. Author Michael Marker weaves together stories from Nisga'a Elders in the Nass Valley of British Columbia, Coast Salish Elders in Washington State, and his own experiences as a researcher, teacher educator, and community participant to connect the personal, the political, and the historical themes of Indigenous education. Marker identifies two salient concepts through the developing narrative: first, leaders from an Indigenous consciousness must invigorate traditional spiritual foundations, and, second, they must mobilize knowledge of the land and people—corroded by colonization—toward cultural renewal. Bringing to light the conflicts between local community yearnings and Western institutional goals when engaging in cross-cultural collaborations, this essay puts forth a decolonized approach to educational leadership, one that requires cultural renewal and respect for how a people experience landscape, history, and identity.


Publisher's Note: Due to an editing error, the original published version of “Geographies of Indigenous Leaders: Landscapes and Mindscapes in the Pacific Northwest” by Michael Marker misstated the present status of the Lummi Day School. The earlier version stated on page 230 that “This school is currently a U.S. government institution that serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade.” The sentence has been corrected to read: “This school was a U.S. government institution that served students from kindergarten through eighth grade.”

Updated: 2015-09-30

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