Education: public policy and the American Indian
Scheirbeck, Helen Maynor
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A classic contradiction confronts the American Indian in United States society, and it surrounds the subject of public education for American Indian students. To some undefined extent, Indian individuals, families, and tribes value the idea of assimilation into the broader society. Simultaneously, however, they also value the autonomy and special, separate identity derived from their "Indian-ness." The price of assimilation, it appears, is a partial loss of identity, Indian philosophy and values. The price of preserving Indian-ness, similarly, presumably is a loss of the various material gains and Americanization attributed to assimilation. Individuals, families, and tribes respond differently to this dilemma. Naturally, therefore, a policy decision by the federal government or a state government affecting the dilemma is subject immediately to mixed reactions among the diverse groups of American Indians… It is held that the present unsatisfactory condition of the American Indian population in the United States, accordingly, is a consequence of this combination: Indian powerlessness, inconstant and inconsistent public policy, and actions by government not consistent with policy.
- Doctoral Dissertations