James McKenzie

University Fellows Cohort Member, 2020-2021
PhD Student, Language, Reading & Culture
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James is a doctoral student in the Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies. He is interested in Indigenous language and culture revitalization, immersion education, and Indigenous culture-based education. His research will focus on how pedagogies and curricula combine language and culture in Indigenous immersion education. He will also explore how educational systems can be reconceptualized, driven by revitalization and maintenance of Indigenous languages and lifeways. Originally from the four corners area of the Navajo homelands, James has studied and lived in New Mexico, Mexico, New York, Germany, China, and Minnesota.  After years of employment in non-profit educational programs in southwestern Native American communities, he worked for the Navajo Nation’s Diné College. His most challenging and rewarding professional work was with the Center for Diné Studies and the Navajo Language Immersion Institute, where he contributed to initiating Navajo language immersion and cultural education programming, as well as development of a Bachelor’s Degree in Diné Studies. James enjoys traveling, running, hiking, camping, spending time in nature, and learning and perpetuating Diné language and teachings.