Author Bio

Tiffanie Hardbarger (Cherokee Nation) is a former Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative Fellow who is currently an Assistant Professor in the Cherokee & Indigenous Studies Department at Northeastern State University. She received a Ph.D. in Community Resources & Development (Arizona State University, 2016) focused on human rights, sustainability, Indigenous-led community development and tourism, environmental justice, and decolonizing research methodologies. Her research and teaching approaches seek to utilize a decolonizing lens and action-oriented stance to explore intersectional aspects of critical/sustainable community development and environmental justice, specifically the aspects embedded in the discourses of Western/neocolonial and Indigenous/decolonizing perspectives on “sustainability”, “development”, and “community well-being” in regard to community- and land-based practices, epistemologies and knowledges, land and water rights/stewardship, reclamation of food systems (food sovereignty and regenerative agriculture), and activism surrounding climate change and extractive industry. ord@nsuok.edu


In response to the long and harmful legacy of extractive research done on Indigenous peoples and the erasure and devaluation of Indigenous knowledge, pedagogy, and lifeways within Western educational settings, many educators and scholars are seeking to implement decolonizing methodologies into research and educational strategies. Utilizing research conducted alongside Cherokee students during an undergraduate/graduate course (2016-2018), this paper explores how the use of Indigenous Rights Education (IRE) in tandem with Indigenous Participatory Action Research (IPAR) provide pathways to navigate the difficult work of engaging with the underlying epistemological tensions that undergird U.S. settler society. In this article, a female Cherokee/EuroAmerican scholar perspective speaks to thematic narratives from student reflections that illustrate the how such approaches provide spaces for raising critical consciousness and decolonizing praxis.