Civics as Survivance: Unsettling Curriculum to Transform Democracy
Rachel Talbert

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

Social Studies
Through work with The Lenape Center this humanizing research project investigates what curricular knowledge is most important to Indigenous Nations and diaspora communities in NYC, and what knowledge Native communities feel is most important for non-Native teachers and students to know. This study will then investigate the implementation (including its feasibility and acceptability) of curriculum with a sample of teachers in NYC. Through the continued development of trusting research relationships, curriculum will be developed that values the political, social, cultural, and educational futures of Indigenous Peoples and presented to educators with support for their own process of unlearning settler curriculum using Pewewardy et al. Transformational Indigenous Praxis Model (2018) and a community assessment to encourage further action research in NYC classrooms.
About Rachel Talbert
Rachel Talbert is a 2021 graduate of the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University with the Gordon Institute for Urban and Minority Education. Her community engaged scholarship at Teachers College focuses on curriculum development with the Lenape Center in NYC and supporting teachers to teach to unsettle. Her research with urban Indigenous youth in public schools focuses on civic identity negotiation and its relationship to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. She is interested in how school climate, social studies classes and curriculum as well as out of school spaces like Native youth councils create zones of sovereignty (Lomawaima & McCarty, 2014) for and support survivance (Vizenor, 2008) of urban Indigenous youth in public schools and their Nation/s. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Indigenous Education Community for the National Council on the Social Studies and in that role works to bring experiences to inservice and preservice social studies teachers that highlight current issues of Indigenous peoples as well as powerful social studies curricula that supports Indigenous education for all students. Prior to her doctoral studies she served as the Vice President of Curriculum and Programs at the Close Up Foundation where she focused on teaching, designing and supporting civic education for every kind of student.

Pin It on Pinterest