Leilani Sabzalian

Leilani Sabzalian profile picture
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-1535
  • Office: 130D Lokey Education Bldg


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 focuses on creating spaces to support Indigenous students and Indigenous self-determination in public schools, and preparing teachers to challenge colonialism in curriculum, policy, and practice. She is also dedicated to improving Indigenous education at in the state of Oregon by serving on the American Indian/Alaska Native State Advisory Council and strongly advocating for legislation such as Senate Bill 13, which requires and supports educators in teaching about tribal history and sovereignty in K-12 public schools.

Dr. Sabzalian newly published book, Indigenous Children's Survivance in Public Schools, provides educators and administrators with case studies to understand how colonialism continues to shape educational policy and practice, and fosters educators’ anticolonial literacy so that teachers can counter colonialism and better support Indigenous students in public schools.


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

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

2016                Outstanding Dissertation Award Recognition, Qualitative Research Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association

2015                Wayne Morse Dissertation Fellowship, Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics (declined due to other accepted award)

2015                Graduate Research Forum Poster Award, University of Oregon

2014                National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship


Sabzalian, L., Morrill, A., & Edmo, S. (In Press). Deep organizing and Indigenous studies legislation in Oregon. Journal of American Indian Education.

Jacob, M.M., Beavert, V., Anderson, R., Sabzalian, L., & Jansen, J. (In Press). The importance of Ichishkíin in advancing Indigenous feminist education. Feminist Studies.

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. 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. (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.crcpress.com/Indigenous-Childrens-Survivance-in-Public-Schools/Sabzalian/p/book/9781138384507

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., 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

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.J., 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 Education20(1), 157- 185. http://www.ijme-journal.org/index.php/ijme/article/view/1534

Sabzalian, L., & Shear, S. (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.

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


Dr. Sabzalian’s research areas of interest include: Indigenous education, decolonization, Native feminisms, Tribal Critical Race Theory, curriculum studies, and elementary social studies education.