Revolutionizing Environmental Education Through Indigenous Hip Hop Culture


  • Julie Gorlewski
  • Brad Porfilio


Based upon the life histories of six Indigenous hip hop artists of the Beat Nation artist collective, this essay captures how Indigenous hip hop has the potential to revolutionize environmental education. Hip hop provides Indigenous youth an emancipatory space to raise their opposition to neocolonial controls of Indigenous territories that denigrate traditional ways of life, and to gather strength by engaging in the decolonizing processes of reclaiming their land, culture, language, and identity. Hip hop also helps youth recognize authentic dialogic education; build knowledge of Indigenous culture, language, and history; and develop strategies to change oppressive forces into resilient personal practices that transform Indigenous communities. This study is motivated by a commitment to showcase how alternative youth culture has the potential to resist neoliberal policies fueling neocolonialism and environmental devastation in Canada.

Author Biographies

Julie Gorlewski

Julie A. Gorlewski is Assistant Professor in Secondary Education in the Faculty of the School of Education at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her teaching and research concentrates on critical pedagogy, youth culture, resistance literacies, and curriculum studies. She has published numerous articles and chapters on these topics. Most recently, Julie published Power, Resistance and Literacy: Writing for Social Justice (Information Age, 2011). Forthcoming work involves transformative approaches to standardization and high-stakes testing. Contact:

Brad Porfilio

Brad J. Porfilio is Assistant Professor of Education at Lewis University, where he conducts research and teaches doctoral students to become critical scholars, social advocates, and multicultural educators. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and conference papers in the field of education. He can be reached at