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Decolonizing Data: A Quantitative Native Approach to Indigenous Mental Health and Higher Education

Autumn BlackDeer

2021 United States

American Indian and Alaska Native communities contend with substantial mental health disparities due to high levels of economic and social disadvantage, acculturation, and stress; however, these issues cannot be understood without the larger context of historical and ongoing trauma. Education has long been used as a tool for assimilation, resulting in less than one-fourth of the Native population holding a college degree. Current critiques of these issues are remiss to address the role of Native data in resolving these disparities. This presentation will illuminate the role of colonialism across Indigenous mental health and higher education, demonstrate the lack of Native data as a social justice issue, and conclude with decolonization as a pathway towards Indigenous data sovereignty and governance.