Redesigning Schools with Family Story Walks in Three Indigenous Contexts
Meixi Ng

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Minnesota

Primary Discipline

Educational Psychology
Indigenous-led public schools are critical sites for experimenting and enacting educational sovereignty. This study engages global Indigenous collaborations of families and educators to design land-based school systems that both shape and are shaped by socioecological shifts of our times. My research study asks: What forms of public schooling support Indigenous families? collective continuance across generations in the face of competing demands and rapidly changing socioecological systems? I explore this question through participatory design research and trans-Indigenous methodologies to design for distinct relational forms of learning where Indigenous family and land-based intellectual systems are the first ontological grounds of teaching and learning at school. Together with four Indigenous communities (e.g. Lahu, Akha, Mayan, Dakota) across three Indigenous-led schools in Chiang Rai, Thailand, Chiapas, Mexico, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, I study how transformed land-educator-family relationships on Family Storywalks expand possibilities for transforming the everyday practices of educators. I use a mix of qualitative inquiry, video interaction analysis, and epistemic network analysis to highlight families? complex theories of collective continuance while extrapolating generalizable patterns across them. As Indigenous communities navigate increased pressures and renewed ways to self-determine their futures, this study contributes sociocultural theories of intergenerational learning and thriving across place. In increasingly uninhabitable worlds, I offer pragmatic strategies to regenerate new forms of schooling within global Indigenous relations toward collective thriving and contribute foundational understandings to human learning that reaffirm Indigenous peoples as permanent generators of knowledge.
About Meixi Ng
Joel Mittleman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, where he is a faculty affiliate of the Gender Studies Program and the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity. As a quantitative sociologist and social demographer, Mittleman studies inequality with a focus on gender, education and LGBTQ+ populations. Across projects, his research advances innovative tools for analyzing gender inequality beyond the binary categories of female and male. Mittleman?s research has been published in the American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, Sociology of Education, the Journal of Adolescent Health and Educational Researcher. Prior to joining the faculty at Notre Dame, he earned his PhD in Sociology and Social Policy at Princeton University, where he was a trainee in the Office of Population Research.

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