Native American Heritage Month ends today, but we can never forget this important fact: The U.S. education system does a terrible job at serving the country’s various populations of Native Americans.
According to former Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Acting Chief Academic Officer Brad Jupp, the U.S. government doesn’t even track the appropriate demographic data for the BIE’s diverse students, which range from Navajo to Hopi to Ojibwe and many more. And that’s just one part of how the country lets down these communities.
But there are also many success stories.
We see in med student Trey Begaye what it means to give back to one’s community—he’s studying medicine so he can be a doctor in the Navajo communities he grew up in.
And we see how language and culture can remain alive—and thrive—through the work of Philomine Lakota, an award-winning teacher who is handing down the Lakota language to young people in her community.
The responsibility for improving education for Native Americans doesn’t lie with them entirely, either. Dedicated teachers like Anna Baldwin, a self-described “middle-class White female from the East Coast,” are committed to improving outcomes for Native youth.
Check out educationpost.org/native to learn more about the challenges and triumphs in the schools of our Native communities.
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