Bal, Bird Bear to speak at Nov. 9 seminar: ‘Decolonizing agency: Future-making with indigenous communities’

UW–Madison’s Aydin Bal and Aaron Bird Bear are participating in a seminar that is titled, “Decolonizing agency: Future-making with indigenous communities,” on Monday, Nov. 9, from 9 to 11 a.m. (Central time).

Aydin Bal and Aaron Bird Bear
Aydin Bal (left) and Aaron Bird Bear

Bal is a professor in the School of Education’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, while Bird Bear is UW–Madison’s director of tribal relations and the former assistant dean for student diversity programs in the School of Education.

Bal explains that the Indigenous Learning Lab project that he and Bird Bear are presenting on was funded through the SoE Network Transform grant. Bal adds that partners on the project include the Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Bal says this project aims to design and implement a culturally responsive behavioral support system at a rural high school to address systemic violence and disparities that American Indian students face in school disciplinary practices in northern Wisconsin.

Bal adds that “we conceptualized the study as a community-led, international project in which we partnered with the Ojibwe Nation and the school leadership. We successfully completed the first year of the project. The school developed a new system through Indigenous Learning Lab that included American Indian students, parents, community members, and educators — as well as non-Indigenous teachers, administrators, and support staff. Currently, our research team is working with the school community to implement their new system.”

The seminar is part of the RESET/CRADLE Online Seminar Series hosted by Tampere University and the University of Helsinki. The series brings together scholars who use cultural-historical activity theory and formative intervention methods derived from it to address acute societal challenges requiring transformations.

Learn more about the series and register for Bal and Bird Bear’s seminar, here.