Essays in Education


“It’s ironic that Indian people are not allowed to be experts in themselves—it’s usually someone else ‘defining’ the Indian” (Pewewardy, 1992, p.5). Tragically, this is an accurate representation of much of the history of Native American education. Major changes have taken place in the last thirty years to correct this tragedy and to return the education of Native Americans to Native Americans. Progress, however has been slow; years of cultural, geographic and educational genocide by Europeans and Non-Indigenous governments have been difficult to overcome. To understand the historical underpinnings of the modern Native American education movement, three general eras of Native American education—the Pre-Colonial, Colonial, and Post-Colonial Eras (Appendix A)—are discussed, and a brief historical overview of these first two eras is provided. Changes that occurred in, and injustices incurred on, Native American education during these periods are described. The main focuses of this examination, current trends in Native American education shaping the Post-Colonial Era, are examined. The relevance of these changes for cultural recuperation and tribal and individual education and learning are enumerated.

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