ERIC Number: ED388478
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
American Indian Higher Education before 1974: From Colonization to Self-Determination.
Beck, David R. M.
This essay traces the development of American Indian higher education from first contact to the 1970s. English colonials took an early interest in educating Indians for cultural change. Several 17th- and 18th-century colleges, such as Harvard and Dartmouth, recruited American Indians to train as missionaries and teachers to their own peoples, but most Indian students died of disease. In the early 1800s, the Choctaws and Cherokees established training schools, and after the Civil War, churches established colleges for Indians as well. In the 19th century, the federal government did not support higher education for American Indians, whom it aimed to turn into individual land-owning farmers. At the start of the 20th century, only one state school and one church-run school served Indian higher education needs. In the 1930s, federal support for Indian higher education began to develop, and returning World War II veterans added to the impetus. By 1957, over 2,000 Indians were enrolled in colleges, and financial aid was offered by tribes, federal and state governments, and private organizations. However, Indian educational programs at all levels suffered from poor quality and high dropout rates. Programs established under the rubric of self-determination in the 1960s were shaped at first by federal, not tribal, standards. Initiatives toward community-controlled education led to the development of the tribal community college system. There are now 29 tribally controlled colleges, comprising the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. Their primary strength is in offering education at home so that students do not need to leave their communities to pursue higher education. Their largest challenge remains making higher education relevant within the community and supportive of tribally-defined community development. Contains 38 notes. (SV)
Descriptors: American Indian Education, American Indian History, American Indians, Colleges, Educational Attitudes, Educational Development, Educational History, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Self Determination, Tribally Controlled Education, Trust Responsibility (Government)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Photographs will not reproduce adequately. In: Critical Issues in American Indian Higher Education. Chicago, NAES College .