Native American Education

978 Words4 Pages
In To Remain and Indian, Lomawaima and McCarty open our eyes to a different way of thinking about the history of Native American education. They prompt us to consider the “power relations at the heart of federal policy,” and view it as “a sociocultural (and therefore ideological) process in which federal authorities appropriate policy to serve particular interests and goals” (p. xxiii), noting that policy is a “practice of power.” The idea of a “safe zone” reoccurs throughout the book. This safe zone can be viewed as a moving target of federal policy, institutional practices, and Native and non-Native individual practices that the federal government deems non-threatening (p.10). Within this framework, the authors provide great detail about the struggle over cultural differences and the desire to retain traditional practices of education within Native communities. The trajectory of Native American education began when early Europeans settled in North America. They did not acknowledge the practices or structures established by many Native Americans to educate their children. Europeans used education to assimilate indigenous people into the dominant culture and as a result, Native Americans have long been stripped of their cultural identity through education. Colonists and the federal government have long established control of Native education, and thus, Native American education has been a point of contention for many decades (Chen et al, 2013). Colonial educators began many traditions attempting to control Native American education, and these traditions have been passed down and sustained for over five centuries. In chapter two, the authors outline the strengths of Native American education that include “Indigenous theories o... ... middle of paper ... ...tinue to work toward standardization. Standardization is the opposite of democracy in that it marginalizes Native people. In the wake of increasing standardization practices across the United States, what will Native Americans’ pursuit of education look like? Indeed, educational experiences and achievement of Native Americans have been dismal due to inequality, racism, low or lack of expectations, and little to no cultural relevance in classrooms. To contribute to the vision of democracy that Lomawaima and McCarty write about, it is imperative that we continue to recognize barriers to educational attainment, and begin to challenged deep-rooted structures and operations that promote discrimination against marginalized peoples. At the same time, we must deliver culturally responsive curriculum that respects and accommodates the needs and development of all students.
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