“The violence of the education system is (in part) its strategic and gross misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples that simultaneously attempts to render Native peoples and history invisible and extinct”

“I’m not saying every teacher isn’t worth their pay,
I’m simply saying most of them don’t know of colored pain….”


by Jenell Navarro

For the past three years, I have taught a course in my department titled “Ethnic Studies 310: Hip-Hop, Politics and Poetics.” This class, a favorite of mine to teach, always generates interesting responses when we discuss Native hip-hop. Since the university I teach for is located in California, I have many students who were raised in the public education system of this state. This means that they have all conducted a “mission project” in the fourth grade during their elementary school education. This project does not implement a critical lens on the colonial and genocidal project of the mission system, nor does it offer these students accounts of Indigenous resistance to this violent and abusive system. Instead, the assignment romanticizes and celebrates these missions within California’s history to the point that, when these fourth graders become young adults and enter into their college curriculum, many of them…

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