Waipuk's Vision

Model of Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion

“Creating an Inclusive Culturally-Responsive and Belonging Environment”

Indigenous students have the highest dropout rate from public schools and lowest rate of academic achievement and attendance levels, and the lowest college enrollment and graduation rates of any student cohort at mainstream U.S. Colleges and universities (Cataldi and KewalRamani, 2009). Historical, socio-economic, and environmental factors have impacted the educational outcomes for Indigenous populations.

In spite of the historical legacy of exploitation, educational and environmental injustices, dispossession of cultural values, and oppression of tribal sovereignty, Indigenous studentssecure connection to their cultural heritage and community promotes resilience, a key strength among Native communities.

The Model of Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion supports SDSUs Division of Diversity and Inclusion (Innovation) vision and mission statements of making SDSU a home for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all backgrounds and identitiesand advancing the welfare of all peoples.” It is essential to cultivate a safe, nurturing, and empowering support system and a sense of belonging for Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The Model of Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion illustrates a radial-process concept map showing four centralized goals concerning the outer five areas, emphasizing how the information in the outer ring of boxes contributes to the centralized goals. The Model of Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion creates a sup- port system needed for Indigenous students to thrive in school. The following are the four centralized goals identified on the concept map:

  1. Enhance AI Educational Pathways & Opportunities

  2. Advance Tribal Connections and Partnerships

  3. Increase AI Faculty & Staff Representation & Kumeyaay Recognition

  4. Increase AI Representation, Retention, and Graduation

tribal model diagramcopyright signThus to attain these centralized goals, the Tribal Liaison will strategically work in the following five areas:

Using a participatory action research approach that leads to trust-based, mutual respect and understanding, collaboration, greater diversity, and healthy partnerships between university, tribal communities, and non-tribal communities.
Collaborating with on-campus and off-campus programs to advance opportunities for all students to learn Kumeyaay life, history, culture, and contemporary issues. 
To support education and scholarship of Indigenous student representation, retention, and graduation; support faculty and staff representation and retention; healthy University-Tribal partnerships; and the promotion of successful career pathways for Indigenous students.
This is a University-Tribal shared and collective leadership to provide a comprehensive academic, cultural, and social support for first-time, transfer, and graduate Indigenous students, while they maintain and promote cultural identity, growth, and success. 
On campus and off-campus allows students to engage in intercultural civic engagement, promotes independent and collaborative learning and reflection while reinforcing the connection to community that is important for Indigenous student retention and graduation; and prepares students to become compassionate agents of change in their communities. 

Overall, increasing diversity and inclusion isnt a cookie-cutter process. A critical starting point is Creating an Inclusive Culturally-Responsive and Belonging Environmentfor Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by institutionalizing Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion in all facets of the University. Institutionalizing Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion requires a shared vision, commitment, and participation, a support system in place, a fair representation of all constituents, customized efforts, and the use of but not limited to shared leadership, culturally relevant/responsive pedagogy, participatory action research, and collective impact approaches.