Some items in this collection may only be downloaded by UW users because of an embargo period. (Check “Author Requested Restriction” below for status.)

UW users may access these items by clicking on "Download (UW Login Required) "

Non-UW users may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2023

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


UWT-Muckleshoot Cohort Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Robin Minthorn

Second Advisor

Michelle Montgomery

Third Advisor

Lexie Tom


The purpose of this research is to look at how we can use the education system as a tool to restore tribal identity and create belonging. To successfully see this work through the Lummi Nation, I will have to look at ways to challenge the formalized Western Education System and acknowledge its impacts on identity development. Pre-contact, the Lummi people had education systems in place that ensured the transmission of sacred knowledge, the learning took place within the house, and it was the family's responsibility to ensure the children grew up knowing the family values. The house of learning was broken down due to colonization and forced assimilation, creating a generational gap. The traditional ways of teaching and learning were replaced with foreign knowledge systems. This research asks, “How do we use the education system as a tool to help restore tribal identity and create belonging?" and “What are the internal and external barriers preventing Lummi Nation School from implementing findings?” Through story-sharing sessions, archival research, and a case study focused on the creation story of the Blackhawk Singers, I found a common theme that focused on the importance of mentorship and transitions. Currently, the Lummi Nation follows a model for helping children identify their gifts and ensuring belonging through the Gifted and Talented Program and Transitions Program, available only in specific subjects and for students identified as special education. In this paper, I propose a new model for Gifted and Talented and Transitions to ensure students have equal access to mentorship and transition programs that can help create a sense of belonging and identity development.