The American Indian Education KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid education professionals in their efforts to improve the education of American Indian students and close the achievement gap American Indian students have faced in public, Bureau of Indian Education, and other schools.
Purpose: To ensure educators, in support of American Indian students, understand the historical principles which guides the academic journey of these students, the challenges and barriers which impacts these efforts, and current trends and research which are the basis for Indian education programs today.
American Indian tribes negotiated a multiplicity of treaties with the U.S. government, which then imposed upon them a number of laws and policies to promote the educational development of American Indian children.
The federal government has responded to treaty provisions enacted between tribal governments and the United States which required educational support for American Indian children by developing and implementing educational programs in response to the federal trust responsibility of the U.S. Government. The following Tasks will outline that response to treaty obligations.
Guideline: Educators will understand the Bureau of Indian Education's role in education and in the operation of tribal schools derived from generations of treaty obligations by the U.S. Government in return for land cessions by tribal nations.
Bureau of Indian Education
This link is to the website for the Bureau of Indian Education.
American Indian Education: The Role of Tribal Education Departments (2009)
This 2009 report was written for the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) by the Regional Education Laboratory Center administered by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (MCREL). The report describes the roles, responsibilities, organization and funding of Tribal Education Departments (TEDs), in Central Region states. Tribal education departments are departments within tribes responsible for the education of tribal members, created by sovereign governments of federally recognized American Indian tribes. This report is intended to provide the Chiefs in the Central Region and their staffs with an overview of TEDs in order to support their work in improving educational outcomes for American Indian students and facilitate partnerships, collaborations, and further research.
The document offers information on the performance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools as reported in a September 2001 Government Accountability Office report.
2014 Native Youth Report
In June 2014, President Obama embarked on his first presidential visit to Indian Country, where he and Mrs. Obama witnessed the tale of two Americas. Standing Rock Reservation, like many others, faces myriad social, economic, and educational problems. Together, those problems are coalescing into a crisis for our most vulnerable population--Native youth. The specific struggles that Native youth face often go unmentioned in our nation's discussions about America's children, and that has to change. This report proposes some broad recommendations on opportunities for tribes to engage with other governmental entities and the private and nonprofit sectors to strengthen ladders of opportunity for youth and to help rebuild more prosperous, resilient tribal nations. In doing so, this report identifies areas where promising work is already taking place and where more work is needed.
The State of Indian Youth (2016)
In 2016, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) wanted to hear from even more of their stakeholders. That is why they launched the first-ever Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) online roundtable, a new online survey for Native youth that asks them to identify the priorities that matter to them and the resources that will help them succeed. CNAY fielded this survey over the summer and heard from nearly 700 Native youth under the age of 25. Throughout this report, the CNAY will be sharing the results of this survey. This is the first in a new yearly series of reports CNAY is calling The State of Native Youth. Every year, CNAY will share what we learn through our community meetings, surveys, and other work with Native youth throughout the country. CNAY will also analyze the latest data and indicators of Native youth opportunity and success. Finally, and most important, this report will be a platform to lift up the voice of Native youth advocates and highlight the programs across Indian Country and the rest of the United States that are working to improve their lives.
Tribal Leaders Speak: The State of Indian Education (2010)
This 2010 Department of Education report details the consultations with Tribal Leaders in Indian Country by the Department of Education, an action which had never occurred before. The Obama administration committed to serve Native American Indian students better by collaborating with the people who know their students best; tribal leaders. During these consultations, tribal leaders addressed the following: failure to fulfill historic trust responsibilities; the "disconnect" between federal, state, and local government; insufficient funding; stressed the need to recruit and retain highly effective teachers and leaders; their need to collect and analyze student data; the impact of poverty and need for comprehensive student support; and the need for seamless cradle-to-career pipeline.
American Indian and Alaska Native-Serving Accredited PostSecondary Institutions
This Department of Education website provided a list of all Accredited American Indian and Alaska Native-Serving Postsecondary Minority Institutions.
Purpose: Educators will increase awareness and understanding of the breadth and scope of cultural diversity that exists among American Indian tribal communities, as well as shared values and traditions of American Indian people.
Educators will understand:
Educators will understand the process of federal recognition of tribes, tribal enrollment, and treaty making that has impacted American Indian tribal people since the founding of the United States. Educators will also learn about the structure and the importance of American Indian tribes, clans, bands, and extended families to American Indians.
Educators will understand and respect the importance of cultural values and traditional concepts which help to shape the mindset of American Indian children and their families. Educators will understand the complex challenges faced by American Indian children in today’s classroom as a result of conflicting value systems.
Purpose: Assessing American Indian students’ academic performance and developing culturally-based education approaches in collaboration with local tribes, Indian organizations and Native communities are essential for improved educational opportunities. Educators should:
Purpose: Research indicates that it is important to affirm students’ identity and one reason for the academic achievement gap that American Indian students face is that a one-size-fits-all national curriculum represented in textbooks fails to give positive recognition to American Indian histories and cultures.
It is important for American Indian and Alaska Native students to have the standard state and national curriculums they are exposed to in school be supplemented with curriculum that reflects their background and the community that they live in.
Too often, an English-only policy in American schools has suppressed American Indian languages and cultures. The Native American Languages Act passed by U.S. Congress, and signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, enforces United States Policy to support, preserve, and protect American Indian languages. Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act Act of 2006 The 2007 United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has given further support to that goal. Today, Indigenous peoples are working through Indigenous language immersion schools to revitalize their languages and cultures.
Purpose: Charter and immersion schools are offering American Indians more flexibility in working to improve the education of their children by affording American Indian communities more power to shape the schooling their children receive.
Learn about charter and immersion schools and how they can provide alternatives to public, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and tribally controlled schools, allowing American Indian communities to provide more culturally appropriate education for their children.
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and mainstream public schools have not been successful in bringing up the average test scores and graduation rates of American Indian students to national averages. Learn how Tribally Operated and Indian Charter Schools are providing alternatives that show promise in improving the academic and life success of American Indian students.
Purpose: Research suggests one reason for the achievement gap faced by American Indian students is cultural conflicts between American Indian homes and schools. Accordingly, teachers should be prepared to meet the needs of American Indian and other Indigenous students, including using culturally responsive teaching methodologies that incorporate American Indian learning styles, avoiding biased teaching and stereotypes, and addressing the needs of gifted education and other special needs students.
One-size-fits-all educational reforms, despite being somewhat “evidence based”, have left behind many American Indian students. Learn how adjusting teaching methods and materials to fit American Indian students’ cultural and experiential backgrounds can make them more engaged learners and improve their academic performance.