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: According to the U.S. Government's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), no single federal or tribal criterion establishes a person's identity as an American Indian. Enrollment criteria vary, and are determined by the tribe from which Indian blood may be derived. Generally, if linkage to an identified tribal member is far removed, one would not qualify for citizenship.
To be eligible for BIA services, an American Indian must be:
Ancestry - And How To Enroll Or Register In A Federally Recognized Tribe
This website offers information and directions on how to enroll or register with a federally recognized American Indian tribe.
What Is The Purpose Of Tribal Enrollment?
Tribal enrollment requirements preserve the unique character and traditions of each tribe. The tribes establish membership criteria based on shared customs, traditions, language and tribal blood.
What Are Tribal Membership Requirements?
Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation or ordinances. The criterion varies from tribe to tribe, so uniform membership requirements do not exist.
National Congress of American Indians
This National Congress of American Indians website provides a database of American Indian tribes with contact information for each tribe.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law, enacted by joint resolution of the Congress in 1978. Prior to the act, many aspects of various Native American religions had been prohibited by law. It was enacted to return basic civil liberties, and to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. These rights include, but are not limited to, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites, and use and possession of objects considered sacred.
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
With Congress’ passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, the government of the United States conferred citizenship on all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country.
Guide to Tracing Your American Indian Ancestry
This link is to a U.S. Department of the Interior guide addressing the purpose of tribal enrollment, membership requirements, how to apply, and how to locate an ancestral tribe.
Native American Indian Genealogy
This link to Access Genealogy provides such Native American records as tribal histories, final rolls, census, and an extensive collection of online books.
Top 50 Questions About American Indian Tribes
This Californian Indian Education site explores the Top 50 Questions about American Indian tribes.
Alabama Teacher Nurtures Native American Students
This 2016 ED Week video displays how Nicole Williams came back home to Calcedeaver Elementary School in rural Alabama to teach Native American culture, language, dance, and history in a community with a large Choctaw Indian population, mentoring many students through high school.
Who Gets To Be An Indian ? (VIDEO)
In this November 2015 challenging video, Dr. Richie Meyers, an Oglala Sioux tribal citizen, explores who gets to be an Indian and what that says about our community. Identity is ever-changing. Those who choose who is included and excluded tells as much about a society as the identities themselves. Dr. Meyers is a professionally trained cultural anthropologist with an emphasis in sociology-linguistics and cognitive functions of the mind.
Russell Means - American Indian Reservations and Dying Languages (VIDEO)
In this February 2011 video, American Indian Activist Russell Means cut his hair as a sign of mourning for the suffering of his people. In this video, he speaks about life on American Indian reservations, and about the importance of having a living language.
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.