American Indian Education, 2nd Edition: A History

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Nov 2, 2017 - History - 412 pages
Before Europeans arrived in North America, Indigenous peoples spoke more than three hundred languages and followed almost as many distinct belief systems and lifeways. But in childrearing, the different Indian societies had certain practices in common—including training for survival and teaching tribal traditions. The history of American Indian education from colonial times to the present is a story of how Euro-Americans disrupted and suppressed these common cultural practices, and how Indians actively pursued and preserved them.

American Indian Education recounts that history from the earliest missionary and government attempts to Christianize and “civilize” Indian children to the most recent efforts to revitalize Native cultures and return control of schools to Indigenous peoples. Extensive firsthand testimony from teachers and students offers unique insight into the varying experiences of Indian education.

Historians and educators Jon Reyhner and Jeanne Eder begin by discussing Indian childrearing practices and the work of colonial missionaries in New France (Canada), New England, Mexico, and California, then conduct readers through the full array of government programs aimed at educating Indian children. From the passage of the Civilization Act of 1819 to the formation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1824 and the establishment of Indian reservations and vocation-oriented boarding schools, the authors frame Native education through federal policy eras: treaties, removal, assimilation, reorganization, termination, and self-determination. Thoroughly updated for this second edition, American Indian Education is the most comprehensive single-volume account, useful for students, educators, historians, activists, and public servants interested in the history and efficacy of educational reforms past and present.


List of Illustrations
Colonial Missionaries and Their Schools
Reverend Samson Occom
Treaties and Western Removal 17761867
Reservations 18671887
Branding cattle Seger Colony School in Oklahoma 1900
Allotment and Dependency 18871923
Students at Indian Training School Chemawa Forest Grove 1882
Students and Families
Girls praying at Phoenix Indian School 1900
Daisy Pino Acoma doing onthejob training 1951
A New Deal 19231945
Front cover of Little Mans Family 1940
Termination and Relocation 19451969
Bordertown Dormitory Enrollment 19571963

Nonreservation Boarding Schools in 1905
Mission Schools
Government Boarding Schools
Pine Ridge students using a sand table 1903
Omaha boys at Carlisle 1880
Carlisle print shop 1903
Physics class at Carlisle 1915
Number of Indian Schools and Enrollments 18801930
Haskell Institutes football team 1914
Shorthand class Haskell Institute 1910
Art class Phoenix Indian School 1900
Whippoorwill Trailer School 1961
SelfDetermination 19691990
Public and BIA School Enrollments 19681986
Higher Education
Tribal Colleges Open in 2003
Language and Culture Revitalization 19902017
Location of BIA Schools in 19992000

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About the author (2017)

Jon Reyhner is Professor of Education at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. He has taught on the Navajo Reservation and served as a school administrator for the Blackfeet, Fort Peck, Havasupai, White Mountain Apache, and other communities. He is editor of Teaching Indigenous Students: Honoring Place, Community, and Culture.

Jeanne Eder (Dakota Sioux) is retired as Professor of History at the University of Alaska and is author of The Dakota Sioux and The Makah.

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