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 utilizes Native feminist theories to create more just and humanizing spaces for Indigenous students in public schools. Her research also prepares educators to challenge colonialism in curriculum, policy, and practice, and implement important Indigenous-led initiatives, including Tribal History/Shared History, a law that mandates curriculum on tribal history and sovereignty in all K-12 public schools in Oregon. She also serves on the American Indian/Alaska Native State Advisory Committee and collaborates with the Office of Indian Education to support professional development around the implementation of Tribal History/Shared History.
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.
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
2021 Fellow, Williams Council Fellowship Award
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
2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship
Schmitke, A., Sabzalian, L., & Edmundson, J. (2020). Teaching critically about Lewis and Clark: Challenging dominant narratives in K-12 curriculum. New York: NY. Teachers College Press. https://www.tcpress.com/teaching-critically-about-lewis-and-clark-9780807763704
Sabzalian, L. (2019). Indigenous children's survivance in public Schools. Routledge Education Series: Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education. Series Editors Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. https://www.routledge.com/Indigenous-Childrens-Survivance-in-Public-Schools/Sabzalian/p/book/9781138384507
PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES (If you cannot access an article and would like a copy, please email me.)
Brooks, S., Sabzalian, L., Springer, S., & Weiser-Nieto, R. (2023). “We should have held this in a circle”: White ignorance and answerability in outdoor education. Journal of Environamental Education, 53(7), 1-18.
Jacob, M.M., & Sabzalian, L. (2022). Reclaiming Indigenous kinship education: Lessons from the Sapsik'ʷałá Program. NEOS. 14(2), 1-7.
Sabzalian, L., (2021). Indigenous internationalism: Land-centered literacies and education for resurgence. Research in the Teaching of English 56(1), 112-115.
Sabzalian, L., Shear, S.B., & Snyder, J. (2021). Standardizing Indigenous erasure: A TribalCrit and QuantCrit analysis of K-12 US civics and governemnt standards. Theory & Research in Social Education, 47(3), 321-359.
McCoy, M.L., Sabzalian, L., & Ender, T. (2021). Alternative strategies for family history projects: Rethinking family history projects in light of Indigenous perspectives. The History Teacher, 53(3), 473-508.
Cordes, A., & Sabzalian, L. (2020). The urgent need for anticolonial literacy. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 22(2), 182-201. https://ijme-journal.org/index.php/ijme/article/view/2443/1379
Sabzalian, L., Morrill, A., & Edmo, S. (2019). Deep organizing and Indigenous studies legislation in Oregon. Journal of American Indian Education, 58(3), 34-57.
Jacob, M.M., Beavert, V., Anderson, R., Sabzalian, L., & Jansen, J. (2019). The importance of Ichishkíin in advancing Indigenous feminist education. Feminist Studies, 45(2/3), 1-22.
Jacob, M.M., Sabzalian, L., RunningHawk Johnson, S., Jansen, J., & Morse, G.S. (2019). We need to make action NOW, to help keep the language alive: Navigating tensions of engaging Indigenous educational values in university education. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64(1/2), 126-136. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajcp.12374
Sabzalian, L. (2019). The tension between Indigenous sovereignty and multicultural citizenship education: Toward an anticolonial approach to civic education. Theory and Research in Social Education. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00933104.2019.1639572
Sabzalian, L., Miyamoto-Sundahl, R., & Fong, R. (2019). The time is now: Taking initiative for Indigenous studies in elementary curriculum. Oregon Journal of the Social Studies, 7(1), 6-19. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nu7Cba5ruZKiXMsbij8ZU2QEo1GQYp_h/view
Sabzalian, L. (2018). Curricular standpoints and Native feminist theories: Why Native feminist theories should matter to curriculum studies. Curriculum Inquiry, 4(3) 1-23. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03626784.2018.1474710
Jacob, M.M., Sabzalian, L., Jansen, J., Tobin, T.J., Vincent, C.G., & LaChance, K.M. (2018). The gift of education: How Indigenous Knowledges can transform the future of public education. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 20(1), 157- 185. http://www.ijme-journal.org/index.php/ijme/article/view/1534
Sabzalian, L. (2016). Native feminisms in motion. English Journal, 106(1), 23 – 30. http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/EJ/1061_sep2016/EJ1061Native.pdf
PEER REVIEWED PRACTIONER JOURNAL ARTICLES
Turtle Island Social Studies Collective. (2019). Beyond Pocahontas: Learning from Indigenous women changemakers. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 31(3), 7-13. https://www.socialstudies.org/pulblications/ssyl/january-february2019/beyond-pocahontas-learning-from-indigenous-women-changemakers
Shear, S.B., Sabzalian, L., & Buchanan, L. (2018). Teaching Indigenous sovereignty in elementary civics education. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 31(1), 12-18. https://www.socialstudies.org/publications/ssyl/september-october2018/affirming-indigenous-sovereignty
CHAPTERS IN EDITED BOOKS
Turtle Island Social Studies Collective. (2022). Indigenous futurities and the possibilities of social studies. In A. E. Vickery & N. Naseem Rodríguez (Eds.), Critical Race Theory and social studies futures: From the nightmare of racial realism to dreaming out loud (pp. 153-163). Teachers College Press.
Turtle Island Social Studies Collective. (2022). Insurgence must be red: Connecting Indigenous studies and social studies education for anticolonial praxis. In S. B. Shear, N. H. Merchant, & W. Au (Eds). Insurgent social studies: Scholar-educators disrupting erasure and marginality (pp. 9-29). Gorham, ME: Myers Education Press.
Morrill, A., & Sabzalian, L. (2022). Survivance-based inquiries in and beyond the academy. In A. R. Tachine & Z Nicolazzo (Eds.), Weaving an otherwise: Reframing qualitative research through relational lenses (pp. 29-43). Sterline, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Sabzalian, L., Malliett, D., & Helms, H. (2020). Indigenous education on Indigenous terms: A collective effort to support Indigenous education in a public school district. In M. Jacob & S. RunningHawk Johnson (Eds.). On Indian ground: A return to Indigenous knowledge: Generating hope, leadership, and sovereignty through education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.
Sabzalian, L., & Shear, S.B.. (2018). Confronting colonial blindness in civics education: Recognizing colonization, self-determination, and sovereignty as core knowledge for elementary social studies teacher education. In S. Shear, C.M. Tschida, E. Bellows, L.B. Buchanan, & E.E. Saylor (Eds.). (Re)Imagining elementary socialsStudies: A controversial issues reader (153-176). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.
Dr. Sabzalian’s research areas of interest include: Indigenous education, Native feminisms, curriculum studies, teacher education, and elementary social studies education.