To Walk in Two Worlds—Or More? Challenging a Common Metaphor of Native Education



The metaphor of teaching students to “walk in two worlds” is frequently used to describe the goals of education for indigenous groups in the United States. Far more than a poetic device, the metaphor runs deep in our collective consciousness and permeates many everyday conversations. In this article, we critically examine five assumptions that lie behind the metaphor. We argue that walking in two worlds not only masks the complexity of choices faced by Native Alaskan and American Indian students, but also dangerously reduces their options.