American Indian Education Program

Monthly Newsletter - April 2021

Boozhoo District 196 Teachers!

This month's Indian Education Newsletter will focus on

1. District 196's Native American Parent Advisory Committee

2. The American Indian Education Program

3. Title VI Indian Education / MDE Indian Education

4. History of Boarding Schools and Intergenerational Trauma

Background Photo of a wood collage/mural by Ojibwe artist George Morrison (Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)

“Every society needs educated people, but the primary responsibility of educated people is to bring wisdom back into the community and make it available to others so that the lives they are leading make sense.”

- Vine Deloria Jr.

Indian Education Act of 1972

The 1972 Indian Education Act was the landmark legislation establishing a comprehensive approach to meeting the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students. The unique aspects of the original authority have been retained through subsequent legislative reauthorizing statutes, with the latest revision occurring with the amendments made by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which reauthorized the program as Title VII Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Indian Education legislation is unique in the following ways:

  1. It recognizes that American Indians have unique, educational and culturally related academic needs and distinct language and cultural needs;

  2. It is the only comprehensive Federal Indian Education legislation, that deals with American Indian education from pre-school to graduate-level education and reflects the diversity of government involvement in Indian education;

  3. It focuses national attention on the educational needs of American Indian learners, reaffirming the Federal government’s special responsibility related to the education of American Indians and Alaska Natives; and

  4. It provides services to American Indians and Alaska Natives that are not provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

History of Indian Education

The Indian Education Act empowers parents; funds student programs

Title VI: American Indian Education

The U.S. Office of Indian Education (OIE) administers the Indian Education Program of ESEA, as amended by ESSA (Title VI, Part A), which establishes policies and provides financial and technical assistance for supporting LEAs, Indian Tribes and organizations, post- secondary institutions and other entities in meeting the special educational and cultural related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives, 20 U.S.C. 3423c and 7401 et. seq.

The OIE has three primary responsibilities:

  1. To meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of Indian students, so that such students can meet the challenging State academic standards;
  2. To ensure that Indian students gain knowledge and understanding of Native communities, languages, Tribal histories, traditions, and cultures; and
  3. To ensure that teachers, principals, other school leaders, and other staff who serve Indian students have the ability to provide culturally appropriate and effective instruction and supports to such students.

MN Department of Education: Office of Indian Education

The Office of American Indian Education works to strengthen and promote positive experiences and educational outcomes for American Indian students statewide.

MDE OIE works to accomplish this mission by:

  1. Building meaningful relationships
  2. Engaging in timely and courageous conversations
  3. Providing education and professional development
  4. Proposing and supporting policies
  5. Efficiently providing guidance and resources to districts and stakeholders
  6. Actualizing the Ten Minnesota Commitments to Equity

MDE OIE values:

  1. Language, culture, and the significant and complex history of Indigenous peoples
  2. The input of Minnesota's Tribal Nations and communities
  3. The perspective of parents and students
  4. The gifts and unique cultural needs of American Indian students
  5. Effective and innovative programming options

MDE OIE Vision Statement:

American Indian students will reach their full potential within their school communities through meaningful, equitable, and targeted educational experiences that affirms and values their unique cultural identities.

"Our children are now being taught the culture, & can express their identity without fear of punishment. This painting is a reminder to our own people of the struggles of our ancestors & a reminder to others to never again do this to any people."

- David Kanietakeron Fadden (Mohawk) (quote and photo are made by the same person)

Intergenerational Trauma

Historical trauma is a form of trauma that impacts entire communities. It refers to cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, as a result of group traumatic experiences, transmitted across generations within a community (SAMHSA, 2016; Yehuda et al., 2016). This type of trauma is often associated with racial and ethnic population groups in the US who have suffered major intergenerational losses and assaults on their culture and well-being.

- Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom

American Indian Boarding School Background

By the late 1800s, assimilation became another tool the U.S. government used to address what mainstream America called the “Indian problem.”

One tactic of the program of assimilation was making indigenous children attend boarding schools that forced them to abandon their customs and traditions, with the goal of having them adopt mainstream America’s beliefs and value systems.

This system of assimilation meant that children were separated from their families and communities for long periods of time. The government oversaw around a hundred Indian boarding schools, both on and off reservations. Tens of thousands of children were either forced to attend these schools or went because there was no other school available to them.

From: Understanding the Origin of American Indian Boarding Schools; By Sarah K. Elliott | POSTED 04.13.2020

American Indian Boarding School Experience

The U.S. stole generations of Indigenous children to open the West

Indian boarding schools held Native American youth hostage in exchange for land cessions.

Nick Estes Oct. 14, 2019

Death by Civilization

Thousands of Native American children were forced to attend boarding schools created to strip them of their culture. My mother was one of them.


'I've never told anyone': Stories of life in Indian boarding schools

By: Dan Gunderson (October 3, 2019)

“Kill the Indian, save the man”: Remembering the stories of Indian boarding schools

By Addison Kliewer, Miranda Mahmud and Brooklyn Wayland (Gaylord News)

Teacher Resources:

Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000 Edited by: K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Brenda Child, Margaret Archuleta

My Name is Seepeetza

By Shirley Sterling · 1992

Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940

By Brenda J. Child · 1998

Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School

By Adam Fortunate Eagle, Laurence M. Hauptman · 2012

As Long as the Rivers Flow

By Larry Loyie, Constance Brissenden · 2005

Goodbye Buffalo Bay

By Larry Loyie (Sequel to As Long as the River Flows)

Fatty Legs: A True Story

by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton,