When Learning Is Life Giving: Redesigning Schools With Indigenous Systems of Relationality

Meixi, Fernando Moreno-Dulcey, Lucia Alcalá, Ulrike Keyser, Emma Elliott-Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article illustrates how designing schools with Indigenous systems of relationality can be life giving for a healthier post-COVID world. Indigenous systems of relationality—the worldviews, beliefs and practices, and moral precepts of being in relation with the rest of the living world—are the cornerstone of Indigenous knowledges, and the cornerstone of Indigenous families and communities. We consider the ways in which Indigenous systems of relationality can offer strategies for educators, families, and communities to redesign approaches to learning in schools in ways that sustain and promote life. Drawing on three case studies of schools in Thailand, México, and Colombia, we show how educators might respond to the specific needs within their communities, repair the fracturing of humans from nature, and orient us to life-giving forms of activity that are beneficial beyond our current crises and into the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAERA Open
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the participating families across the lands and communities where they live and work. They also express their gratitude to Barbara Rogoff, Carrie Lane, and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Indigenous education
  • Indigenous systems of relationality
  • Land-based education
  • community schools
  • family-based learning
  • learning and well-being
  • nature–culture relations
  • school design
  • teaching strategies


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