Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa) aka Don Trent Jacobs is currently a faculty member in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University. He was previously a tenured Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University, and before that he served as Director of Education at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He holds a PhD in Health Psychology with an emphasis on employee fitness; and an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Indigenous worldview. He has authored numerous books, chapters, peer-reviewed papers and journal articles about Indigenous worldview; social/ecological justice; wellness; psycholinguistics; critical theory; teaching and learning; and neurophilosophy. He presents on these topics internationally. He is a CPED Writing Fellow and a Fulbright International Scholar. His text, Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education, was selected as one of twenty progressive education books by the Chicago Wisdom Project in 2017.
Four Arrows resides in British Columbia, Canada; Jalisco, Mexico; and Talent, Oregon, United States.
Industry Expertise (5)
Training and Development
Areas of Expertise (5)
Peace and Justice Studies
Indigenous Ways of Knowing
Moral Courage Award (professional)
Awarded by the Martin Springer Institute (2004)
Top 27 Visionary Educators (professional)
Awarded by AERO (2014)
Instrumental Creator of First National Marine Park (professional)
Four Arrows raised $30,000 to help create the first National Marine Park No Take Zone on Mexico's Mainland Pacific Coast, Costa Alegre Santuario Marino Nacional de Arroyo Seco. (September, 2014)
Boise State University: EdD, Curriculum and Instruction
Columbia Pacific University: PhD, Health Psychology
Golden Gate University: MA, Health Care Administration
Southwest Missouri State University: BS, Economics
Dominican College: Teaching Credential, Secondary Education
- American Indian Congress
- National Indian Education Association
- Alternative Education Resource Organization
Media Appearances (9)
Profile: Four Arrows
(2018) SPAGO TV tv
4-minute narration by Four Arrows describes his journey and purpose; includes historical/political/spiritual contexts, with photos and video clips. Spago profiles represent "the unpredictable thread of talents that connects the world."
Why "Indigenizing" Curriculum and Pedagogy is Vital for Our Survival
UBC Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy online
A presentation by Four Arrows + interactive engagement focusing on the partnership of critical pedagogy and spirituality; the dominant world view vs, the spirit of cooperation basic to traditional indigenous wisdom.
Trailer for 'Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-Based Social Tranformer'
(June 2018) Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers online
4-minute video trailer for book by Dr. R. M Fisher entitled 'Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows: The True Story of an Indigenous-Based Social Transformer.' The book includes 15 of Four Arrows' true stories + an epilogue by Four Arrows.
Four Arrows Interview
(2017) Spirit of Humanity Forum, Iceland online
Four Arrows is interviewed by Jim Paymar "...it's not so much about changing the world as remembering the world." --Four Arrows
Sustainable Wisdom: Integrating Indigenous Knowhow for Global Flourishing
(2016) University of Notre Dame online
Four Arrows integrates photos, native flute, sweet grass, animal totems and life stories into a presentation on what it means to embrace his mixed Irish-Cherokee heritage, and his path as an adopted Lakota Sioux. "Our elders always judge people by their hearts and minds."
The Heart of Everything That Isn’t: The Untold Story of Anti-Indianism in Drury and Clavin’s Book on Red Cloud
Indian Country online
I don’t mean for this to be a book review of The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud. An American Legend. Rather, I intend it to be an indictment of the genre of anti-Indianism it represents. Although it is unlikely that its authors consciously set out to try and prove Western civilization’s superiority over the “barbarous Indians,” they nonetheless follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to do so...
Transformative Learning and the Indigenous "Worldview"
The Stringer Independent News print
Worldwide, diverse Indigenous cultures possess a common “worldview” (IW) that contrasts significantly with that referred to as the “Western worldview.” (WW) One difference between them relates to the main source of authority for life decisions...
Four Arrows on "Teaching Truly" and We Are Change activist Eric Sayward on "Free Hugs"
American Freedom Radio radio
Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs), an education professor at Fielding Graduate University, has a new book out: Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education. It has garnered rave reviews from Noam Chomsky, Thom Hartmann, and Bill McKibben among others...
Social Justice Night: Four Arrows and Walter Block
St. Louis University
Four Arrows and Walter Block engage in a "friendly argument" regarding their divergent (and common) views on social, environmental, and economic justice and the definition of libertarianism/nonaggression in politics.
BOOK: Indigenous Sustainable Wisdom: First Nation Know-how for Global Flourishing(2019) New York: Peter Lang
Eds. Narvaez, D., Four Arrows, Halton, E., Collier, B., Enderle, G.
How can we integrate the best of modern technology and capacities with the wisdom of first nations? The book brings together an interdisciplinary set of scholars and artists ready to integrate first-nation and mainstream contemporary understandings to move toward a flourishing planet. The book looks deeply into the mindsets, practices and wisdom of first nation peoples across multiple disciplines.
BOOK: International Handbook on Critical Pedagogy(2019) Routledge
Four Arrows (section editor)
BOOK: Linking Diversity and Inclusion Programs to Indigenous Worldview(2018) IAP Book Series on Counter-hegemonic Democracy and Social Change For UNESCO’s Democracy, Global Citizenship and Transformative Education Project
Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing
BOOK: Point of Departure: Returning to Our Authentic Worldview for Education and Survival(2016) Information Age Publishing
Point of Departure offers a practical metacognitive and transformational learning strategy for human surviving and thriving. Using five foundational and interactive Indigenous worldview beliefs that contrast sharply with our dominant worldview ones, everyone can reclaim the original instructions for living on Earth. Without the resulting change in consciousness that can emerge from this learning approach, no modern technologies can save us. The five foundational Indigenous precepts relate to a radically different understanding about: (1) Trance-based learning (2) Courage and Fearlessness (3) Community Oriented Self-Authorship (4) Sacred Communications (5) Nature as Ultimate Teacher...
BOOK: Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education(2014) Peter Lang
BOOK: Differing Worldviews in Higher Education: Two Disagreeing Scholars Argue Cooperatively about Justice Education(2011) Netherlands: Sense Publishers
Four Arrows and Walter Block
Two authors, one an American Indian with an Indigenous worldview and a liberal inclination (Four Arrows), the other a Jewish atheist with a Western worldview and a libertarian orientation (Walter E. Block), employ “cooperative argumentation” to accomplish what an amazon.com reviewer said about a book on this topic (Makau and Marty, 2001): “Cooperative Argumentation gets us past the fighting in debate, and moves us toward the real power that can be found in understanding someone else’s argument.” In our book, this “power in understanding” refers specifically to one of the most controversial issues in higher education- the teaching of social justice.
BOOK: Last Song of the Whales(2011) Maui, Hawaii; Savant Press
A humpback whale mysteriously takes a mixed-blood American Indian professor to sea. While struggling to survive, the man begins to reclaim his indigenous roots and, in the process, discovers thousands of whales on a suicide mission in the North Pacific. When he theorizes the dire effects the whale's action could have for all of life on earth, he and a sympathetic woman marine biologist, influenced by a Hawaiian shaman's dream, try to warn the world in time.
CHAPTER: From a deeper place: Indigenous Worlding as the Next Step in Holistic Education(2019) International Handbook of Holistic Education
(Eds) Miller, J.P.; Nigh, K.; Binder, M.; Novak, B. Crowell, S.
New York: Taylor and Francis Publishers
CHAPTER: “Indigenizing Conscientization and Critical Pedagogy: Integrating Nature, Spirit and Fearlessness as Foundational Concepts(2019) International Handbook on Critical Pedagogy
Four Arrows and R. Michael Fisher
San Francisco: Sage Publications
CHAPTER: Our Human-Centered Focus is Killing Us(2019) Toward Critical Environmental Education: Where are we now? Current and Future Perspectives
Four Arrows; Rogers, K.; Willis, D.; Fowler, H.
Eds. Steinber, S., Gkiolmas, R.S. and Skordoulis, C.S. New York: Springer Publishing
CHAPTER: Curriculum Innovation for Sustainability(2019) The Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education
(Ed.) Walter Leal Filho New York: Springer
CHAPTER: Greening the Curriculum for Sustainable Development(2016) The Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education
(Ed.) Walter Leal Filho New York: Springer Publishing.
ARTICLE: An Unsettling Question: To Indigenize Education for All…or Not?(2019) Journal of Critical Education
No details available
ARTICLE: Deepening the Foundation of CPED’s Framework(June 2017) Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice.
(Eds) Schreiber, J and Perry, J.
ARTICLE: The CAT-FAWN connection: Using metacognition and Indigenous worldview for more effective character education and human survival(2016) Journal of Moral Education
A number of character (or moral) education researchers rightly point to the importance of metacognition as an essential component for success. Thinking about one’s thinking, however, quickly reaches a significant limitation if subconscious beliefs are not included in the reflections—and they seldom are. Concentration-Activated Transformation (CAT) suggests that trance-based learning, intentional or not, is a source for such beliefs. How they relate to Fear, Authority, Words and Nature (FAWN) determines whether learning modifications are positive or negative. Because uninvestigated beliefs about FAWN usually stem from one’s worldview, it becomes vital to use metacognition for evaluating the efficacy of our dominant worldview understandings by contrasting them to the Indigenous worldview, the only other significant historically observable existing option...
ARTICLE: An Indigenous Perspective on Peace(2016) Fetzer Institute: Invited paper and presentation
Spirit of Humanity Forum
ARTICLE: Reclaiming our Indigenous worldview: A more authentic baseline for Social/ecological justice work in education(2015) Working for social justice inside and outside the classroom: A community of students, teachers, researchers and activists
Four Arrows and Narvaez, D.
McCrary, N.E. and Ross, E. Wayne, (Eds.) New York/Oxford: Peter Lang Publisher What were once distinct professions for serving others and building knowledge are now communities of workers struggling against a tide of increasingly unregulated capitalism that is being fed by human greed. Teachers have become education workers, joining a working class that is rapidly falling behind and that is increasingly being silenced by the power elite who control nearly all the wealth that once supported a thriving middle class. Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom delivers critical counter-narratives aimed at resisting the insatiable greed of a few...
ARTICLE: Does Christianity Continue to Stifle Indigenous Political Will(2013) Critical Education
There is a correlation between the failure of Indigenous politics to achieve its goals and the sway of what Thomas Paine refers to as the false doctrine of Christian dogma. Unremitting evangelism and Christian hegemony has led to silencing or compromising authentic grassroots voices of Indigenous people. High conversion rates have weakened opportunities for resistance to colonialism and the loss of vital traditional values.