Therefore, when Alaska did achieve statehood in 1959, the state and federal school systems were still a dual presence in rural Alaska (Barnhardt, 1985). (p. 62). However, several communities that were too small to incorporate still desired some degree of regional autonomy in the management of their schools. ", Judge Lafayette Dawson's verdict and legal reply to, Alaska State Archives, Alaska State Library. (1996). American Indian education. Their silence about us: The absence of Alaska Natives in curriculum. It appropriated an annual "civilizing" fund and initiated a program whereby the federal government contracted with religious groups to operate schools for American Indian childrenãa policy that continued to influence education in Alaska long after it was discontinued (DeJong, 1993). There are three major urban areas (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau) as well as 20 smaller towns and about 180 villages. Boarding schools based on the Carlisle model fizzled out in the early 20th century. American Indian and Alaska Native people capitalized on the vigorous and supportive atmosphere of this period and became sophisticated public advocates for indigenous causes by formally organizing into advocacy groups, and by using the established tools of other activist groups (e.g. Many of the ambiguities and conflicts of interest and interpretations between tribal groups and the BIA remained, and some in Alaska would agree with Guy Senese's 1986 assessment of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act as one that provided only an "illusion of control.". Smaller community boarding home programs and foster care programs offered two more alternatives for Alaska Native … The remaining 40% of Alaska Native students are in urban schools where the majority of the student enrollment is white. Alaska has many features with which it is readily identified by people throughout the world. • The number of American Indian/Alaska Native students enrolled in colleges and universities more than doubled in the past 30 years, along with the number of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s ... federal Indian boarding school. A system of regional boarding schools was established in the 1900s. Within each of the 12 regions, nonprofit organizations were also established to administer a wide range of social service and educational programs on a contractual basis, many of which were formerly under the control of the BIA and other federal and state government agencies. Special programs often include in-school academic tutoring, community cultural events, provision of a "school-within-a-school," or Native-oriented cultural heritage activities. Polar Record, 19(122), 431-446. Durango, CO: Kinaki Press. Education was identified as both a cause and a cure of inequality, and efforts to equalize schooling opportunities assumed a position of prominence in many of the reform efforts during this time. The non-profit corporations now annually administer over one hundred million dollars for education, health, employment, and social programs in their respective regions. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Fairbanks, AK: The Alaska Native Knowledge Network ( Between 1778 and 1871, almost 400 treaties were negotiated between the United States government and Indian nations, and through the process a precedent for federal control of Indian affairs, including education, was firmly established. The Boarding School Healing Coalition is working with the International Indian Treaty Council and the Native American Rights Fund to file a submission with the United Nations to call on the United States to provide a full accounting of American Indian and Alaska Native children who were taken into government custody under the U.S. Boarding School Policy and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. All students must receive passing scores on a new state high school qualifying exam or they will be denied a diploma; All students must complete new Alaska benchmark tests at the 3rd, 6th and 8th grades, and these may serve as the basis for promotion in some districts; All rural communities and districts must do more in schools with less money and fewer resources; All schools will be placed into one of four performance categories by the year 2002 on the basis of student test scores and drop out rates; Schools in rural areas must provide quality educational experiences while facing a severe teacher shortage and decreasing numbers and percentages of Alaska Native teachers. His view that "Indians view life through a different cultural metaphor than mainstream America" is echoed by Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley (1995), Yup'ik Eskimo scholar who examines some of the marked differences that exist between Yupiaq and Western societies relative to values, lifestyles, and interrelationships among the human, natural and spiritual worlds, and elaborates on "prominent shared characteristics of the Alaska Native worldviews" (p. 8). (1992). And the fundamental question of whether or not it is possible for the federal government to maintain its legally-binding trust responsibility, as defined by constitutional, congressional and judicial actions, without maintaining some level of control has yet to be answered. Fuchs, E., & Havighurst, R. (1972). 1. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline, decentralization of the state school system, and the establishment of a network of small village high schools may not be as familiar as the geographical features of the state to non-Alaskans, but the impact of these events upon the everyday life of Alaskans is no less significant. Case (1984) notes that "many of the Indian Education Act programs "operate simultaneously with other federal programs, such as the Johnson-O'Malley Act and Title I . The policies of the BIA and territory schools attended by many Alaska Native adults forbade students to speak their Native languages and did not allow for a curriculum that reflected anything Alaskan, American Indian, or Alaska Native. New York: Doubleday & Co. Gaffney, M. (1977). Although more than half of Alaska Native children were enrolled in state public schools, a significant number were still in BIA elementary day schools. (Holst, p. 50, 1999). Fairbanks, AK: College of Rural Alaska, Center for Cross-Cultural Studies. The subcommittee work was begun under Senator Robert Kennedy and completed under Senator Edward Kennedy, and its final report, entitled Indian Education: A National TragedyãA National Challenge (U.S. Senate, 1969) is often referred to as "the Kennedy Report." Even Juneau, the state capital, can be reached only by airplane or ferry, and it is as far from communities in northern and western Alaska as Colorado is from New York. With twenty different Alaska Native languages, several Asian and European languages, and American dialects from all regions of the United States, there is an unusual linguistic diversity for such a small population. Bureau of Education schools continued to operate with the belief that it was important to transform American Indians and Alaska Natives into civilized and Christian Americans, and the best mechanism for achieving assimilation into American society was education (Dauenhauer, 1982; Ongtooguk, 1992; Shales, 1998). During the next seven years, the state invested $133 million in the development of approximately 90 more village high schools. In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement were two efforts that led to new legislation and to court decisions that directly or indirectly affected members of all ethnic and cultural minority groups. I'm convinced they won't be happy until they eventually eliminate all our fishing and hunting rights. The three primary groups are Eskimo, Indian and Aleut. It has rich oil, timber, coal, and mineral resources, and its natural environment continues to support animals now absent in other locations. Alaska's Governor's Office. Interestingly, several of these recommendations continue to be referenced, relevant, and unrealized over 70 years later. Since Alaska was not purchased until 1867, it was, of course, not involved with original treaty deliberations between the United States colonial government and Indian nations. Digitized primary sources as found on Alaska's Digital Archives found under the keyword "boarding school. Alaska Native students today have a far more diverse set of educational experiences than have any group of students in the pastãand perhaps more so than their counterparts in other states because of the unique historical context of Alaska's rural Native communities. The net effect of some of these policies continues even todayãincluding a distrust of government policies and practices. (1986). In the settlement, the state of Alaska agreed that it would establish a high school program in every community in Alaska where there was an elementary school (which required a minimum enrollment of eight students) and one or more secondary students, unless the community specifically declined such a program (Barnhardt et al, 1978). The current status of schooling in Alaska is briefly described. Alaska Native Knowledge Network. Alaska Natives claimed ownership to land that the pipeline would cross, as well as the land on which the oil fields themselves were located. and was "an indictment of both the public and federal schools' failure to provide Indian children with an education equal to that provided for non-Indians" (DeJong, 1993, pp. The majority of the residents in rural Alaska are Alaska Natives who live in villages with populations ranging between 25 and 5,000. Such services are funded primarily through federal programs (e.g. WHEREAS, the United States has never provided an accounting for the actual number of American Indian and Alaska Native children removed to Boarding schools between 1869 and 1972, or the identities, numbers, Tribal identities or causes of death of the children who passed away while in … A cadre of Alaska Native educators who not only have typical university credentials, but who have actual experience with the administrative responsibilities of developing and implementing reform efforts that are directly tied to Alaska Native interests, needs and priorities; A cadre of Alaska Native elders who are directly involved in decision-making related to educational policy and practice from K-12 curriculum to the development of tribal colleges; A momentum for school reform that builds on, and meaningfully incorporates, the cultures, languages and traditions of all groups of Alaska Native peoples. Today there are over 120 small high schools in Alaska villages, nearly all operated by the REAA in which they are located. The Act also "reaffirmed the continuing legal responsibility of both the federal government and the states to provide education for Indians. English is spoken by nearly everyone in the state. Since then, there has been progress. Educational Theory, 36(2), 153-164. Night after night, while her mother sewed by the light of a coal oil lamp, Eliza and her two brothers, snug in bed rolls atop mattresses stuffed with moose hair, would listen intently as their stepfather spun narratives of long ago when animals were people. Alaska Eskimo education. In a new documentary, called "The Indian Schools, the Survivors' Story", Native Americans in Michigan tell their memories of the boarding schools. The school operated for about ten years and again for a … And it was not until 1905 that a distinction was made between Native and non-Native residents of the territory for purposes of federal educational services" (Case, 1984, pp. "For the first time in history, the state Department of Education, in its report for the 1965-66 biennium, declared the need for special provisions to accommodate extraordinary conditions in rural Alaska" (Darnell & Hoem, 1996, p. 74). The governor of the Territory of Alaska was made the ex-officio superintendent, and new schools were established, but only "white children and children of mixed blood leading a civilized life" were entitled to attend (Case, 1984). Denali, or the Yukon River. You had to be an active listener," Eliza said. Secondary students in nearly all rural and Native communities in Alaska had been attending the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools in southeast Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, or, for a short time in the 1970s, to state boarding schools and boarding home programs in larger Alaskan communities. Bitter debates dominated the legislature, the media, and citizen forums in rural and urban communities across the state. Study of Alaska rural systemic reform: Final report. The only options open to Alaska Natives in small rural communities who wished to attend high school were the distant BIA boarding high schools, with the exception of a small number of church-affiliated boarding high schools in some regions of the state. Alaska for decades seemed remote and out of the way; no treaties were made with the natives there, few reservations were established for them, and only small appropriations were made for their benefit. The discovery of oil and the subsequent passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act provided the State of Alaska with a great deal of money, and provided Native people with power and economic status they had not previously held. Its expanded services included not only education, but medical services, the Reindeer Service (i.e. Many small, non-Native towns did this and opened schools immediately. The Indian Boarding School Policy was implemented by the federal government to strip American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children of their Indigenous identities, beliefs, and languages. Of particular consequence are the federal government's early actions in the negotiation of treaties with American Indian tribes, the establishment of reservations, and the adoption of the Civilization Fund Act. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association. 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