Alexis Bunten, (Unangan/Yup’ik)
Colleges and Universities are typically understood as a structure for social liberation and upward mobility for members of the lower classes, and People of Color. This presentation unpacks the tensions and dichotomies underlying this premise. In what ways do universities promote “free thinking” and the ideas that change dominant and oppressive cultural narratives, while upholding them at an institutional level? In this talk, I will share real life examples of universities supporting Indigenous scholarship and voices, while simultaneously privileging “pretendians” who reproduce imaginary ideas of what an “Indigenous academic should be.” I’ll present a series of actions that Universities can take today to make their campuses in better alignment with equity rhetoric, and ultimately create places that can foster decolonization efforts to truly support Native American students, other students of color, and economically marginalized students in a space that was not originally made for them.