The impact of United States policy on Apsaalooke education

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Date

2023

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development

Abstract

This dissertation focused on the perceptions of Apsaalooke (Crow) elders, descendants who experienced first-hand the trauma of the boarding school era. Apsaalooke is used throughout this paper when indicating ancestral peoples and experiences, while Crow is used in modern context. By sharing the Apsaalooke history, culture, personal experiences, and background knowledge we can better understand the survival of the culture and the Apsaalooke language. The research questions guiding this study are (1) How do Apsaalooke Elders perceive the impact of U.S. educational policies enacted between 1819 to 1934? And (2) What shared assumptions do Apsaalooke Elders perceive as essential for helping their children overcome contemporary cultural challenges? Six Apsaalooke enrolled tribal members participated in the study. From their interviews three main themes emerged: (1) generational trauma, (2) generational oppression, and (3) mistrust. The Apsaalooke elders voiced their frustration regarding the loss of land due to the negative impact it had on the Apsaalooke culture. Some families' lifestyles impacted their children's life at home and outside of the home creating a detrimental effect the learning of the Apsaalooke language and the cultural ways. The concern and hope of the Apsaalooke language and culture may not be lost as there remains hope for the younger generations to learn and speak the Apsaalooke language. The elders believed the Apsaalooke people are carrying the traumas of their ancestors, grandparents, and parents as well as their own trauma. The impact of generational trauma is loss of land, hunger, language cultural loss, broken Apsaalooke family units, and cultural extinction. Talking about the past hurts invites this hurt back into their lives. So, they move on wanting to live peacefully. The Apsaalooke elders all agreed education is a key component for their children to succeed and Apsaalooke tribal leaders need to address these issues by offering their support to help the younger generations. This was a major concern for all participants. An essential part of the preservation effort is conveying to the next generation the life their ancestors lived and the changes they survived; thus, facilitating Apsaalooke education's evolution for a new time in history.

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Keywords

Apsaalooke (Crow)

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