Educating the Indian, Part 2 (L20) Day Schools

Educating the Indian, Part 2 (L20)
Day Schools
Dr. Anton Treuer
Bemidji State University
How they worked
• Regular school routine during day, kids live at
home with parents
• No uniforms, no school control over home life
• Still a strict English-only policy: tribal language
use often punished or resulting in learning
disability label
• Kids sometimes suspended for long hair,
policy changes come slowly, attitude changes
even more slowly
Curriculum Issues - Columbus
Curriculum Issues - Columbus
George Bush, Sr. on the Jubilee
Great Seal for the Territory of
Whose Heroes?
Architects of American
• Constitution, rule of law
• Indian killers
• Architects of removal
policy & genocide
• Broken treaties
Bering Strait
• Fact v. Theory
• How does it feel to be told that your culture,
your parents and grandparents are
consistently wrong?
Thanksgiving / King Philip’s War
• Schools provide many opportunities to learn
about white culture, history, heroes
• How many opportunities are presented to
learn about native culture, history, heroes?
• Is there any wonder that there is a disconnect
for many native students?
• How different are day schools from boarding
George Bush, Sr.
• “We are approaching a momentous year in history, a
year that will mark the five hundredth anniversary of
one of the greatest achievements of human endeavor:
Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World...
Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a
New World, but also set an example for us all by
showing what monumental feats can be accomplished
through perseverance and faith. I strongly encourage
every American to support the Quincentenary, and to
discover the significance that this milestone in history
has in his or her own life.”
Truth Rewritten
Ronald Reagan
• “We were wrong to let
Indians have
reservations, we should
have done more to
bring them into the fold
of American life.”
Resisting Education Assimilation
• Drop out is not just from
lack of smarts or
• Often lack of participation
in education goes across
the age spectrum in
Indian communities
• 1945, 8 Indian high school
grads in MN
• 1970, 32% Indians grad
high school, 2% grad
• 1980, 55% Indians grad
high school, 5% college
• Better and better every
• Indians still 4X more likely
to drop out and 3X more
likely to be suspended
Educational Achievement
Politics & Power in Education
• Jerry-mandering reservations in school
districting (Leech Lake)
• Few native teachers and administrators
• Few educated Indians to work in schools as
teachers or administrators
• Little native control of the curriculum:
textbooks, language & culture offerings as
electives or part of the mainstream curriculum
Tribal Initiatives
• Changing attitudes, awareness of the benefits
of education, NIEA, MIEA
• Advocacy, JOM funding
• New tribal schools, culture based curriculum,
HOE in Minneapolis has more native grads
than all other schools in the metro combined
• Trying to make schools places where kids can
learn about themselves as well as the world
• Finding qualified staff
• Tribal politics, micromanagement
• Attitudinal change comes slowly – developing
an educating ethic
• Making sure that schools don’t assimilate
• Problems pervade Indian communities
• Germans still wrestle with national guilt over
the Holocaust – addressed in part by
mandated instruction about it
• America has dark chapters in its history too,
but we have yet to assume national
responsibility for them much less make them
Tribal Languages in U.S. & Canada
Tribal Language Immersion Schools
• Waadookodaading (Hayward, WI)
• Niigaane (Bena, MN)
• Hawaiians, Maori, Piegan, Mowhawk

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