Turtle Island Social Studies Collective

Welcome to the website of the Turtle Island Social Studies Collective!

The Turtle Island Social Studies Collective is a scholarly collective committed to countering colonialism and amplifying Indigenous studies within social studies.

Together we have collective experience as school teachers, community educators, Tribal historic preservation staff, and scholars in the fields of education, history, Indigenous Studies, and American Studies. We are: Lakota Hobia (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Meredith McCoy (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe descent), Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq) and Sarah Shear (British, Cajun French, and Ashkenazi ancestry).

The idea of Turtle Island is important to us, as two of the scholars in our collective are Anishinaabekweg. For Anishinaabeg, Turtle Island is part of our/their creation story. We use the term Turtle Island to draw attention to the importance of ongoing relationships between Indigenous peoples and our homelands and to the decolonial emphasis on land back, as discussed by scholars like Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. This matters in social studies education as all education occurs on Indigenous lands.

We are glad you're here! On this site, we share resources we have created for teachers and scholars, as well as resources we believe will be useful to you in your work to counter colonialism in social studies and teach Indigenous studies.

What do we mean by Indigenous studies?

In defining Indigenous Studies, we draw upon remarks from Mvskoke/Creek scholar K. Tsianina Lomawaima at the plenary session of the Indigenous and Native Studies meeting in Oklahoma in 2007, where she described the shared values, theories, and methods of the then-emerging and interdisciplinary field of Native American/Indigenous studies:

…a commitment to the fundamental concept of sovereignty; a privileging or centering of Native names, experiences, voices, and narratives; an inclusive orientation that favors multiple, complicating, diverse perspectives over a monolithic ‘one size or story fits all’ approach; a commitment to the health, well-being and vigor of life in Indian country; responsiveness to the central issues and concerns of Native nations; a dedication to transform the institutional structures of the dominant society, such as schools, colleges, and universities – however frustratingly slow and incremental that process can be.