Dr. Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Starr Minthorn on Indigenizing the Academy

Key Points

  • It’s critical to align culture values to curriculum.

  • We have to be good caretakers: of our children, the earth, our elders — this starts with a connection to place.

Robin Minthorn Podcast

This episode of the Getting Smart Podcast is part of a new short monthly series where Mason Pashia is joined by Dr. Jason Cummins, a previous guest and a friend of the podcast, to speak with indigenous leaders and academics to discuss how indigenous ways of knowing and leading can, and should, shape the education system.  

Awaachiáookaate’, or Jason Cummins Ed.D is an enrolled member of the Apsaalooke Nation, and recently served as the Deputy Director for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, Office of the Secretary. Previously, he was the principal at Crow Agency Public School. As an Indigenous scholar and school leader he has innovatively worked to lead schools towards authentically serving Native American students PreK-12 and their communities by implementing culturally sustaining, trauma-informed, and restorative approaches. 

Dr. Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Apache, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Assiniboine and is currently the Professor and Department Chair at the College of Education at Oklahoma University. At the time of this recording, Dr. Minthorn was a professor at UW Tacoma.

Prior to her time in Washington, Dr. Minthorn served as Coordinator of Native American Affairs at Oklahoma State University and an adjunct faculty at Pawnee Nation College. Preceding that, as an academic advisor at Comanche Nation College, which is Oklahoma’s first tribal college. Dr. Minthorn also co-founded Gamma Delta Pi, American Indian Sisterhood and RAIN (Retaining American Indians Now) as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma. As an academic professional, she co-founded ONASHE (the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education) Conference.

“When we talk about the association between education and boarding schools it still lives with our youth because [the intergenerational trauma] lives in their parents and grandparents.”

Dr. Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Starr Minthorn


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