Finding Courage in the Unknown: Transformative Inquiry as Indigenist Inquiry

Michele Tanaka


Educators often wonder how to respond purposefully to vexing issues such as ecological sustainability, social justice and holistic health and wellness. The search for useful ways of proceeding can be addressed through engagement in the process of transformative inquiry, a mode of inquiry for educators that resonates with indigenous views and ways of being. At its heart, the approach seeks to support preservice  teachers in their personal journeys towards decolonizing and indigenizing. Ultimately, these efforts ripple out to affect their future students and the institutions in which they learn, teach and, hopefully, inquire. Weaving poetry written from my own experience on becoming indigenist, with the work of scholars such as Manulani Meyer, Lorna Williams, Marie Battise, Shawn Wilson, and Gregory Cajete, I highlight salient aspects of transformative inquiry that can be particularly useful in changing the trajectory of both education and educational research: welcoming spirit, deep and generous listening, connecting to place, and finding courage in the unknown.

Keywords: Transformative inquiry; indigenizing education; decolonizing research; teacher education; educational research

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