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Dawn Hardison-Stevens


Contact Information

Life Center 302B Miller


My career focus supports positive change in Native communities within academic systems. Through experiential knowledge and ancestral knowing, my academic and life journey mobilized lifelong learning, instilling within me the realization that we are all learners regardless of age and where we call home. Travels abroad and in communities of original inhabitants, I listen to their stories learning of environmental interconnectedness, which brought an enjoyment to guiding students toward their potential of achievement, and allowing them to seek their passions with personal definitions of owning their success. 

The work with Native nations affirmed the basis of a belief and dissertation title, Knowing the Indigenous Leadership Journey: Indigenous People need the Academic System as much as the Academic System needs Indigenous People. The position postulates that we all learn from each other regardless of who we are.  My passion explores relationships, and how we as a human people are interconnected to the ecosystems and evidences offered by the Medicine Wheel and cycles of existence. Often life is viewed holistically and from global perspectives of experience guiding learners toward their own wisdom and individual successful perspectives. Our own stories of life's experiences develop the definitions of who we are on the journey. 

This belief views building bridges between cultures and provides learning opportunities toward academic success between Native students, families, leaders, and communities. Through personal experience as a practitioner and professional in education, efforts examine and identify perspectives from people within schools, tribal communities, and Native leadership. Scholarly research acknowledges stories and data reveal pedagogical methodologies oriented toward Native student success flourishes communities, yet often mainstream academic institutions are failing Native peoples to the detriment of tribal societies. In many tribal cultures, leadership beholds many styles, modeling modes of life amid Mother Earth, yet education needs to be bridged with these cultural philosophies. A life’s passion emerged toward Indigenous philosophy to educate in collaborative and inclusive manners bridging perceptions between educators, Native peoples, respective communities, and policy attainment, hence learning for success is intergenerational; we are our roots. 

I thank the Spirit of our ancestors for all of us every day as we grow in the moment toward our future to stand tall, and be honorably proud of a path all our relations can follow. Kitatamihin!