Native American Education Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

Through the years minority groups have long endured repression, poverty, and discrimination. A prime example of such a group is the Native Americans. They had their own land and basic way of life stripped from them almost constantly for decades. Although they were the actual “natives” of the land, they were forced by the government to give it up and compelled to assimilate to the white man’s way. This past scarred the Native American’s preservation of culture as many were discouraged to speak the native language and dress in traditional clothing. Because of this cultural neglect, among other things, Native Indians have not been able to come up on top in many ways. Until recently there have not been many improvements in their social standing, economic situation, and educational progress. However, despite their history of cultural repression and violence some Native American reservations have improved their educational success. Through innovative teaching techniques and a full understanding of the Native American culture schooling systems have improved in various places around the nation. These model academic curriculums can lead the way for more advancement in struggling areas such as Nebraska.
There are many factors that led up to the concurrent academic struggle with Native Americans. The government’s Americanization efforts directly repressed their culture and identity through the Indian boarding schools. There were rules put in place such as cutting the children’s hair, changing their names, diet, dress, and identity. Educators wanted Native American children to speak English, worship God, and assume American gender roles (Davis). Also, many Native American’s strongly believed that abuse of an infant would lead to the death of its soul or some physical abnormality notes Driver and so the Aztecs postponed harsh discipline until later years because of their belief in mild treatment of the youth. However, boarding schools disregarded this and severely beat and even killed some students as discipline. These policies at school clearly demonstrated how the native way of life was attacked. According to Barry Pritzker, those who attended the Indian boarding schools experienced attempts to destroy their native culture. They were taught that they were incapable of learning and succeeding. For them, with education came repression and violence. So because of previous unfortunate experiences in boarding schools mainstream education is often frowned upon.
The Native Indian history of violence and corruption changed their views and self image as well. This change later affects how they adapt to American culture and education after being pushed away from embracing their own for so long. The violence and indifference shown towards the Native Americans during the “Trail of Tears” may have contributed to this change. In this dreadful journey, Natives of all kinds were forced off their land and into a thousand mile trek during which about 4000 Cherokee...

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