Cultivating Enduring and Reciprocal Relationships in Academia

An Indigenous Mentor-Mentee Model


  • Kari Chew University of Oklahoma
  • Sheilah Nicholas University of Arizona



doctoral mentorship, gift paradigm, indigenous education, language revitalization, relationships in higher education


This article takes form following an exchange of letters in which the Chickasaw and Hopi authors reflected on an Indigenous mentorship relationship in higher education as the embodiment of a carved-out space for Indigenous ways of knowing and being. They begin the story of their faculty mentor-doctoral mentee relationship with the memory of the mentee’s graduation from the doctorate program and the gifting of a shawl. This moment was both a culminating and rebirthing of a relationship, an Indigenization of the institutional university hooding graduation ceremony. The authors privilege an Indigenous gift paradigm based in values of care and notions of kinship. Together, they ask and explore questions of how such a gift paradigm is created, enacted, and sustained in higher education. They reflect on practices which cultivated, nurtured, and sustained the mentorship relationship through the years from admission and leading up to the doctoral graduation ceremony, and beyond.


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How to Cite

Chew, K., & Nicholas, S. (2021). Cultivating Enduring and Reciprocal Relationships in Academia: An Indigenous Mentor-Mentee Model. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(Summer), 65–89.



Summer 2021 Special Edition