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ERIC Number: EJ841790
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
"Let's Get in and Fight!": American Indian Political Activism in an Urban Public School System, 1973
Amerman, Stephen Kent
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n3-4 p607-638 Sum-Fall 2003
In the fall of 1972, as Michael Hughes began his junior year at East High School in Phoenix, Arizona, he was one of only a few American Indians in the school. Of the approximately 2,500 students, only 35--or about 1.4 percent--were Indian. To most teachers, administrators, and even fellow students, he and the other Native students in this large, urban high school were virtually "invisible." One way in which this invisibility manifested itself was in the school's curriculum. A deficient curriculum was, unfortunately, only one of the problems that Hughes faced. The dropout rate for Native Americans in the Phoenix Union High School System as a whole was almost 25 percent, the highest dropout rate of any ethnic group in the district. Looking at how Phoenix Indians responded to these challenges can help add to readers' understanding of American Indian political activism in the 1960s and 1970s, a topic that has rightly received increasing attention in recent years. This particular Phoenix case offers readers a chance to, first of all, examine a story beyond the most well-known and well-studied aspects of 1960s and 1970s Indian activism: the occupation of Alcatraz Island, the Trail of Broken Treaties, and the standoff at Wounded Knee. Secondly, the evidence available for this Phoenix story may also offer some new insights into "how" Native communities pursued their political goals in these decades. Through the interviews and the written materials that Indians and non-Indians of Phoenix have shared, individuals can obtain a fairly detailed appreciation for the methods Indian activists used in this specific community, in this specific year, regarding the specific issue of education. This in-depth, up-close examination is one that readers can compare to the existing literature on Indian activists' methods in general, looking for reinforcements of those generalizations as well as possible modifications of them. Though this essay will analyze a single year and a single issue in the history of the Phoenix urban Indian community, its focus certainly does not mean that 1973 was the only year in which Phoenix Indians were active, nor does it mean that education was the only issue with which Phoenix Indians were grappling. (Contains 95 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona