Indigenous education sovereignty: another way of ‘doing’ education

Michelle Bishop*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    With schools known to be sites of harm for many Indigenous peoples, both historically and currently, this paper re-considers ‘doing’ education another way. As a Gamilaroi woman, educator and researcher, I contemplate the ways Indigenous sovereignty is conceptualised and enacted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the country now known as Australia. This provides the foundations to apply broader understandings of sovereignty to the notion of education sovereignty. Using narrative and storytelling, I aim to show education sovereignty before considering potential elements involved in doing education sovereignty. I identify six interconnected elements that underpin education sovereignty, including: Pattern Thinking; Country; Time; Relationality; Intergenerational Reciprocity; and Agency. These elements provide a deeper understanding of what education sovereignty could look like, and therefore another way of ‘doing’ education for all students, grounded in Indigenous axiologies, ontologies and epistemologies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalCritical Studies in Education
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2020


    • Indigenous sovereignty
    • pattern thinking
    • country
    • time
    • relationality
    • intergenerational reciprocity
    • agency
    • Aboriginal education


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