Spring 2018

Why Don’t More Indians Do Better in School? The Battle between U.S. Schooling & American Indian/Alaska Native Education

Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy and K. Tsianina Lomawaima
View PDF

American Indian/Alaska Native education – the training for life of children, adolescents, and adults – has been locked in battle for centuries with colonial schooling, which continues to the present day. Settler societies have used schools to “civilize” Indigenous peoples and to train Native peoples in subservience while dispossessing them of land. Schools are the battlegrounds of American Indian education in which epistemologies, ontologies, axiologies, pedagogies, and curricula clash. In the last century, Native nations, communities, parents, and students have fought tenaciously to maintain heritage languages and cultures – their ways of being in the world – through Indigenous education and have demanded radical changes in schools. Contemporary models of how educators are braiding together Indigenous education and Indigenous schooling to better serve Native peoples provide dynamic, productive possibilities for the future.

BRYAN MCKINLEY JONES BRAYBOY is President's Professor and Senior Advisor to the President on American Indian Affairs at Arizona State University. He is the author of Post-secondary Education for American Indian and Alaska Natives: Higher Education for Nation Building and Self-Determination (with Amy J. Fann, Angelina E. Castagno, and Jessica A. Solyom, 2012) and editor of Indigenous Innovations in Higher Education: Local Knowledge and Critical Research (with Elizabeth S. Huaman, 2017).

K. TSIANINA LOMAWAIMA is Professor with Justice & Social Inquiry and the Center for Indian Education within the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She is the author of To Remain an Indian: Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (with Teresa L. McCarty, 2006) and Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law (with David E. Wilkins, 2002) and editor of Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879–9000 (with Brenda J. Child and Margaret L. Archuleta, 2000).