The Shifting Sands of American Indian Education

By: Tricia Hornback  

The philosophy and delivery of American Indian education has been a point of conflict and contention for generations. The struggle to determine what “good” education for the indigenous population is, who should control it, and how it should be delivered has contributed to American Indian student performance being among the lowest in the United States education system today. Conflicts of culture, worldview, politics and economic disadvantage have added to an already difficult situation for educators attempting to develop and deliver more meaningful and effective education for indigenous students. To further compound the situation, federal regulations and agencies overseeing American Indian education have been deeply influenced by the volatile nature of the shifting federal Indian policy and laws in the United States. This paper provides an overview of significant historical influences affecting American Indian Education and to identify encouraging emerging trends in American Indian Education in the Northwest. An overview of historically significant approaches to federal American Indian education is discussed. Specific examples of encouraging trends in increased tribal involvement observed in federal Bureau of Indian Education (B.I.E.) and Northwest public school districts are provided. Examples include educational partnerships with the Navajo Nation as well as northwest tribes such as the: Lummi Nation, Spokane Indian Tribe, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Inclusive Education
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Tricia Hornback

George Fox University, United States
Oregon, United States