Knowing Our Past to Know Our Future with Dawn Quamahongnewa
Nov 16, 2023

Knowing Our Past to Know Our Future with Dawn Quamahongnewa


Episode Notes

If you attended our 2023 Teacher Leadership Institute, you heard a bit from Dawn Quamahongnewa, her family, and her teacher leadership. Today, Dawn is expanding on what she shared in that speech and how knowing our past informs our future. 

Dawn begins this episode by sharing how her parents first shared about the history of her family and the Hopi people. She shares the history of her family’s clans’ complex relationships with the U.S. education system, with some embracing and others wanting to reject the “pahana” way of life. Dawn talks with hosts Kathleen and Paula about how her dad saw the need for their clan to learn English and embrace the good things from the pahana way of life to be able to be the eyes, ears, and voice of their people. She reflects on how her life has continued living into her father’s philosophy.

Dawn talks about how she originally wanted to become a lawyer focused on Indian law for the preservation of her tribe, but instead, she chose teaching as a way toward preservation by fighting for equitable systems for her students.

You can read about Dawn in the 2023 Teacher Leadership Report. Learn more about the Arizona K12 Center at

Arizona K12 Center


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