Indigenizing Education: Healing From Historical Trauma and Reclaiming Power

“Ultimately our hope is that our students are empowered to not just understand injustices but also to have the strength and the support to address them and combat them.”
Kayla Dawn Begay, DEAP Co-Founder & Teacher 

DEAP (Dził Ditł'ooí School of Empowerment, Action & Perseverance) is a public charter school in the Navajo Nation that was founded by members of the local community, including Teach For America alumnae Kayla Dawn Begay and Shayla Yellowhair, with the intention of offering their children an education rooted in their Indigenous Diné culture. By providing an education that reflects the identity, history, and aspirations of their community, DEAP offers students an opportunity to explore who they are and their connection to their community, their history, and the earth. By creating spaces to honestly talk about the historical and ongoing oppression and trauma experienced by their Nation, the educators at DEAP invite students to reflect, to heal, and to reclaim their power to affect change in their lives and the world around them.