This morning I reached out to a few friends and colleagues to ask how they would describe Super Auntie Dr. Leilani Sabzalian and her work. Here are a few descriptions they shared:
Truthful. Is inclusive of colleagues. Empathetic. Bold. Inspirational and resilient. Brilliant. Elegant, clear guidance. Visionary. Unflinching. Generous. Compassionate. Transformative. Demanding. Healing and powerful.
These are just a few of the words we use to describe one of our favorite people, Super Auntie Dr. Leilani Sabzalian. Dr. Sabzalian’s book, Indigenous Children’s Survivance in Public Schools, recently won the American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award for education research! We are celebrating Alutiiq scholar Dr. Sabzalian and her book. Both are amazing.
In her book, and in her work and relationships, Dr. Sabzalian has a fierce way of critiquing settler colonialism and in doing so centers the beauty and power of Indigenous communities. For example, on pp.3-4 of her book she states, “My hope is that by documenting the racial and colonial dynamics Native students and families navigate, as well as the nuanced intelligence, courage, artfulness, and survivance they employ as they navigate those dynamics, educators will critically examine what it means to teach in colonial contexts and teach toward Indigenous self-determination.”
Dr. Sabzalian and her book are gifts to us all. We cherish you. We celebrate you. Thank you for being a Super Auntie.