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Old 07-03-2006, 05:28 AM   #1
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Inside Higher Ed

************************************************** ******************
This Message Is Reprinted Under The FAIR USE
Doctrine Of International Copyright Law:
_http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html_
(http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html)
************************************************** ******************
FROM: INSIDE HIGHER ED
_http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/30/indians_
(http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/30/indians)
Tribal Contact

Mistrust of education is rife among Native Americans, says Cynthia Lindquist,
president of Cankdeska Cikana (Little Hoop) Community College, in Fort
Totten, N.D.
“Education was used to force assimilation in an organized government fashion,
” she notes. “There’s that whole Great White Father myth that we live with,
and educated Indians are sometimes seen as ‘thinking they’re better’ than
reservation Indians.”
Some leaders at mainstream academic institutions believe that understanding
Indian culture and political status may play a crucial approach in getting
more Native American students to attend colleges and universities. The
population currently has the lowest college graduation rates of all student groups in
the U.S.
Many Native Americans have learned about historical injustices from family
members and community elders, some of whom were required to attend boarding
schools during the 19th and 20th centuries. At such schools, Indians were forced
by their teachers to forget about their own unique cultures and languages.
Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the California State University System, says
that in the university’s broad effort to _attract more students from
underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,_
(http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/26/intro) one of the biggest challenges it has faced is “working with Native
Americans the way Native Americans want to be worked with.” With more than 80
federally recognized tribes in his state alone, Reed says, each tribe has
unique interests, so university officials don’t anticipate results overnight.
“But we have to do better,” says Reed. “And we will do whatever we have to
do to improve the numbers.” There are about 2,850 students who identify as
Indian in the Cal State system, which enrolls 406,000 students over all.
According to U.S. Census data, about 200,000 Native Americans live in California.
In recent months, Reed has asked that presidents throughout the Cal State
system work with him to hold educational strategy meetings with tribal leaders
and Indian officials throughout the state. In the first of such meetings this
year, Reed attended a tribal council gathering, in which many leaders told
him it was essential for non-Indian educators to grasp the concept of tribal
sovereignty. The Constitutionally rooted concept means that Indians have a
unique legal status that calls for government officials to work directly with
tribal governments.
One person who has helped hammer that point home to Reed is Cyndi LaMarr,
executive director of Capitol Area Indian Resources, an academic assistance
group for Indian youth in Sacramento. She says that because Native Americans
have a unique political and legal status in the U.S. Constitution and in state
treaties, Cal State should be looking for ways to legally challenge Proposition
209 on behalf of Indian students.
Although Proposition 209, which was passed by voter referendum in 1996,
barred public agencies and entities from using affirmative action, many Indian
leaders say that the Constitutional amendment should not stop public
institutions from providing Indians special affirmative action-like educational
assistance. LaMarr says it should be the job of the state-supported Cal State
campuses to help dramatically increase the numbers of Indians in higher education,
and believes that all institutions in California, including Cal State, should
start special programs for Indian students. She’d ultimately like to see
free tuition offered to all Indian students in California to lessen the
financial burden for an overwhelmingly poor population.
Reed, who says the argument makes sense to him, has the university’s lawyers
looking into this issue. “We hadn’t thought about Proposition 209 for
several years,” he notes. “I can see the rationale for what tribal leaders are
saying in that state governments do have a certain obligation to work with na
tive peoples.”
Michael Hanitchak, director of the Native American Program at Dartmouth
University, says many Indian students are rooted in cultural and political
traditions that may be foreign to many higher education leaders. He says that
Dartmouth leaders go to reservations throughout the year, in conjunction with
recruiting teams from Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University
and other institutions.
“Our most successful strategy has been to have continued relationships with a
specific tribe, like the Navajo Nation,” says Hanitchak. “We visit there
often and become a known entity. In turn, we become a safe choice for
applicants and their families. Native people tend to go where they know and trust
folks.”
Hanitchak says that recruiting for Native American students should vary
depending on an institution’s geographic location. His own institution has often
looked West because there are not as many Indian students near Dartmouth,
compared to other areas of the United States. “We don’t have a predominant local
tribe, whereas, a place like the University of Arizona does,” he notes.
Shelly Lowe, a graduate education program facilitator at Arizona, says that
she finds it useful to conduct recruiting at Indian professional conferences,
like the annual meeting of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium,
and at tribal colleges and universities.
“We know we need to recruit in tribal communities,” says Lowe. Soon, the
university plans to begin an advertising campaign in specific tribal newspapers
and in the Tribal College Journal, in an effort to help get the word out
about the doctoral program in American Indian studies offered by the university,
one of the only such programs in the nation.
Lindquist, of Little Hoop, notes that many Indian students find it convenient
to attend one of the nation’s approximately 35 tribal colleges because they
are near their reservations, and put culture and language learning before
traditional academics. Her own institution is chartered by the Spirit Lake
Dakota Nation. She says she’s working hard to track where students go after
graduating from the two-year institution, so that the college and tribal
government can eventually attract them back to work in the community.
Lowe, despite forming bonds with reservations near the University of Arizona,
says she finds it especially difficult to recruit Indian graduate students.
“There are financial barriers and a lot of them have families and don’t want
to leave their communities,” she says.
According to Lowe, the university tries to let students know that upon
finishing their degrees, they can return to their tribal communities to mentor
younger people and to help aid in health, law, government and other tribal
affairs. “We also try to connect them with tribal communities through their
learning efforts, through research and other projects,” she says.
Nationwide, Lowe says she’s happy to see the discipline of American Indian
studies growing at institutions like the University of North Dakota. She would
also like more institutions to pursue Native American faculty to provide
mentors for Indian students on all campuses.
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:29 AM   #2
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cont...

Lowe says Reed should keep tribal sovereignty at the forefront when reaching
out to tribes. Sometimes tribal governments have special grants or
scholarships that they can offer students — especially for the few tribes that have
casinos — so student affairs officers would be wise to look into these programs
to entice students, adds Lowe.
Reed says he is committed to “hooking on” to more Indian events throughout
the state to help build trust. In October, he and several Cal State presidents
plan to attend a gathering of tribal leaders at one of the Cal State
campuses. “I know that we have to sustain this effort,” he says. “We have to keep
listening to them on their grounds.”
LaMarr, for one, believes Reed’s efforts are going beyond the lip service
that she says many politicians and other leaders often provide on Indian issues.
“You really have to acknowledge the fact that we have a chancellor who is
ready to pursue outreach,” she says. “We’ve been told that things will improve
for so long that sometimes we get too skeptical. “But I think something good
will happen this time.”
— _Rob Capriccioso_ (mailto:rob@insidehighered.com)
Comments

Isn’t this quite condescending?
So, according to the article, there is a prevalent idea among Native
Americans that higher education institutions are not for them — either because it
forces assimilation, encourages the “Great White Father” myth, causes Indian
graduates to think they’re better than other Indians, etc. So, the response of
CSU is that we need to find a way to get them to college anyway. Even if they
don’t want it, we know that it’s good for them so we should find ways to
circumvent our own state Consititution in order to entice them into the
university system.
If that’s not condescending, I don’t know what is.
Publius, at 12:25 pm EDT on June 30, 2006

Higher Education
First of all, I am Native American-Western Shoshone in Nevada. I have lately
been exposed to several articles enhancing more Native Americans into
college, which I believe is wonderful. However, I am a single parent who has since
decided to enroll into the higher education system because of negative
experiences while I working in the Government, I continued to get pushed back and
told I could not apply for certain jobs because of my lack of a college
degree. Since then, I saw no other alternatives being a single parent, but to try
again to go forward with a degree. I have been told that being a Native
American Indian, should not be a financial burden. However, each case is a
case-by-case scenario! Financially I have found it hard to economically survive. I
have been attending Great Basin College in central Nevada, driving 70 miles on
way to get to my classes. With gas prices I spend up to $90.00 or more a week,
as well as spending up to two hours during incliment weather. This was
stress. Most recently, I read an article in the Arizona Republic regarding the
same issue “encouraging more Native American Indians to further their education.”
As a result, and because of the impediments I have experienced during the
past semesters here, I am going to “try” to get into Arizona State
University.
Most importantly, it all comes down to how well the higher educational
institutions are willing to take the time in providing the proper guidance and
direction.
I believe that because of the obstacles I have faced during my previous
employment, I shall use this as a tool, to continue with my education.
Financially however, is another issue! But, how can I encourage other Native Americans
to continue their higher education, when financial economics is a major
barrier!
Shelley Lupe, Native Americans & colleges, at 3:10 pm EDT on June 30, 2006

Tribal Contact
If one reads and believes a book like Ward Churchill’s “Kill the Indian,
Save the Man: The Genociadal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools” that
takes everything negative from the history of Indian schools without any of
the positive, it is easy to see how Indians could have a very negative view
of schooling. However, American Indians have been going to colleges since the
18th Century and a few became doctors and lawyers in the 19th Century and
many in the 20th Century. I have talked to a few students who called their
Indian boarding school experience the best years of their lives and used it to go
on to college. Some terrible things went on in boarding schools, but Churchill
’s claim that “One in two children entering such facilties shared” the fate
of 16 year old Joseph Rosseau who died at Carlisle has no basis in fact (p.
51). Some, but not half of the students, died at Carlisle, some hated it an
ran away and some in later life were staunch supporters of the school. Indian
boarding schools varied both over time and from school to school. The staff
at the better ones were supportive of Indian students’ cultural identity. Some
of these boarding schools, including Chemawa, Flandreau, Sherman, and Fort
Wingate, are still open because tribes want them kept open. We need to do more
to help make college financially available to all students (the opposite of
what is going on with raised tuitions in public universities in Arizona) and
support all students once they are in college, including supporting their
American Indian or other cultural identity. Young Indian students need to know
more about academically successful Indian students. Organizations like the
American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Society for the Advancement
of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and the 35 Tribal Colleges are
making a real difference in the lives of Indian students.
_Jon Reyhner_ (http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/AIE.html) , Professor of
Education at Northern Arizona University, at 6:30 pm EDT on June 30, 2006
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