Indian Education Articles: Culture and Language Preservation

Culturally Responsive Schooling for Indigenous Youth: A Review of the Literature

This article reviews the literature on culturally responsive schooling (CRS) for Indigenous youth, discussing how more equitable and culturally responsive education can be provided within the current context of standardization and accountability.  Although CRS for Indigenous youth has been advocated for more than 40 years, school and classrooms are failing to meet the needs of Indigenous students.  The authors suggest that while there is much insightful writing on CRS, it has had little impact because it does not result in systemic, institutional, or lasting changes in schools serving Indigenous youth.  The authors argue for more central and explicit focus on sovereignty and self-determination, racism, and Indigenous epistemologies in future work on CRS for Indigenous youth.

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A Survey and Assessment of Culturally Based Education Programs for Native American Students in the United States

This article defines the essential features of culturally based education (CBE) and reviews the findings of a comprehensive survey of CBE programs in the United States.  A review of programs found five distinct types of CBE: culturally based instruction, Native language instruction, Native studies, Native cultural enrichment, and culturally relevant materials.  The author maintains that too few programs serve as models and schools need to be redesigned to more effectively educate Native American students.  Recommended components of school redesign include significant, long term, and sustained effort on the training of teachers from the local community; appropriate professional development strategies; locally based research to inform educators and community members involved; developing local educational standards for the education of native students; developing curricular approaches consistent with locally defined educational objectives; creating accreditation standards to evaluate the quality and accomplishment of efforts; and new knowledge necessary to guide this development among tribal leaders.

Native Language Immersion: Innovative Native Education for Children and Families

A project of the American Indian College Fund, this study examines Native American language immersion schools and projects throughout the country.  The study reviews compelling reasons for language immersion, the types of methodology used to promote language learning, the role of tribal colleges and universities in promoting language immersion, challenges associated with immersion programs and activities, funding issues, and successful Indigenous models.

Traditional Culture and Academic Success Among American Indian Children in the Upper Midwest

This research examines factors affecting school success for a sample of 196 fifth-eight grade American Indian children from three reservations in the upper Midwest.  The regression model included age, gender, family structure, parent occupation and income, maternal warmth, extracurricular activities, enculturation, and self-esteem.  The results indicate that traditional culture positively affects the academic performance of fifth-eighth grade children.  The findings are discussed in terms of resiliency effects of enculturation for American Indian children.

A Native Community’s Involvement and Empowerment to Guide Their Children’s Development in the School Setting

This study provides an empirical description of the dimensions of community values, beliefs, and opinions through a survey conducted in the Pueblo Indian community of Zuni in New Mexico. The sample was composed of 200 randomly chosen community members ranging from 21 to 103 years old. A principal component factor analysis was conducted, as well as a multivariate analysis of variance, to explore gender, age, education, language, and socioeconomic (SES) differences on values, beliefs, and opinions from survey participants. Overall, the findings suggest a strong agreement by the community on the direction to be taken by their school district in their efforts to improve classroom instruction, as well as in their efforts to guide their children’s development as Native Americans.

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The Role of Native Languages and Cultures in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Student Achievement

The policy brief examines studies that document the academic benefits of approaches that systematically include home and community language and cultural practices as integral to school curriculum.  The publication defines key terms; highlights the variability of Native American languages and cultures, and the implications of this variability for education practice; explores research on promising practices for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds; provides examples of promising practices; and gives a summary of key findings and the state of the field.

A Review of the Research Literature on the Influences of Culturally Based Education on the Academic Performance of Native American Students

This review collected and critically reviewed research literature on the impact of culturally based education programs on the school performance of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children.   The review included studies classified as experimental or quasi-experimental, with a small number of non-experimental comparative studies included.

Preparing Teachers to Support American Indian and Alaska Native Student Success and Cultural Heritage

This ERIC Digest briefly summarizes literature related to preparing educators to facilitate American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) student success and examines what “success” in life means for Indian students of all ages and their extended families.