Civics as Survivance: Unsettling Curriculum to Transform Democracy
Rachel Talbert

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

Social Studies
Through work with the Lenape Center, social studies teachers, and students in New York City, this humanizing research project investigates what curricular knowledge is most important to the Lenape, whose Land New York City is on, and the creation of PreK-12 curriculum that supports Lenape futurity. This study will then investigate the implementation (including its feasibility and acceptability) of social studies curriculum with a sample of non-Native youth and teachers in NYC. Through the continued development of trusting research relationships, social studies curriculum will be developed that values the political, social, cultural, and educational futures of the Lenape and will be presented to educators with support for their own process of unlearning settler curriculum using Cornel Pewewardy’s Transformational Indigenous Praxis Model (2022) and a community assessment to encourage further action research in NYC classrooms.
About Rachel Talbert
Talbert, Rachel
Dr. Rachel Talbert, Teachers College Columbia University is a lecturer in the Curriculum and Teaching department and Research Fellow at TC’s Gordon Institute for Advanced Studies. Her teaching and research center survivance (Vizenor, 2008) an active sense of Native presence over absence. She is committed to a curriculum that supports all students learning about Native American sovereignty and self determination. Her community engaged scholarship focuses on curriculum development with the Lenape Center in NYC and seeks to understand the impact of PreK-12 Lenape curriculum centering sovereignty and survivance on students, and what curricular supports teachers in public schools in NYC need to move toward unsettling as meaningful decolonial praxis. Her research with urban Indigenous youth in public schools focuses on civic identity negotiation and its relationship to Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. In addition to research, Rachel teaches classes for masters students in curriculum theory and technology integration as well as a course for advanced masters and doctoral students titled Indigenous Curriculum & Teaching: Sustaining Survivance through Theory & Practice

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