Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date



This critical qualitative research study examines the racialization of Din4 (Navajo) youth in education. The study is based on a critical theoretical framework that draws on research from critical educational studies, Indigenous theory, and critical race theory. Using critical qualitative case study methods through personal interviews, this study highlights nine Din4 (Navajo) students counter narratives about their experiences with schooling and the ways they negotiate their racial and cultural identities within the historical, economic, political, and socio-cultural contexts of past and current educational policies. Particularly, an emphasis on the ways that Indigenous youth are racialized and Indigenous languages and cultural knowledge are marginalized in education implicate the need for more research that looks at the impact of white supremacy on the education of Din4 youth. The study was conducted at a major university in the southwestern region of the United States. Future implications of this study underscore the need for more critical and reflexive dialogue among Navajo (Din4) and non Navajo educators, parents, and researchers in surrounding Navajo communities to better understand the identity formation of Din4 (Navajo) youth and to redress the loss of Navajo (Din4) language and cultural knowledge at the individual and community levels. Finally, this study highlights the need for increased individual and collective agency among Indigenous scholars, activists, educators, and communities especially within the contexts of education to embrace, engage, and rearticulate an Indigenous pedagogy that is transformative and revolutionary.'


Navajo Indians--Education--Social aspects, Navajo Indians--Education--Psychological aspects, Navajo language--Study and teaching--Social aspects, Indian college students--United States--Case studies, Navajo Indians--Education--Case studies, Racism in education--United States

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Allen, Ricky Lee

Second Committee Member

Lee, Tiffany

Third Committee Member

Sims, Christine

Fourth Committee Member

Emerson, Larry