Composition and aleche : Native American education, scholarship and the pedagogy of John Dewey

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This thesis approaches the historical and contemporary education of Native Americans in order to analyze and combat the American academic system's failure to educate Native students. The chapters cover 1) boarding schools aims and student resistance, 2) problems still faced by Native American students, and 3) possible solutions to these problems. Chapters 1 and 2 give an overview of history and research done by educators and scholars. Chapter 3 is a combination of suggestions by educators of Native students and John Dewey. The first sections demonstrate problems and voids in academia, and the final section attempts to show practical and realistic methods for correcting institutional mistakes and/or ignorance which result in high attrition rates. Dewey's pedagogy succinctly breaks down and challenges academic ideology, while at the same time challenging educators with progressive methods. The thesis challenges not only the error of conventional education, but also how education gets defined and placed upon Native students. Also recognized in this thesis, are those areas where an academic self-examination demonstrates difficult, or problematic, areas and situations, where the black and white, or binaries, of education, are not easily noticed, nor navigated by the student or the teacher. In general, the aim of the discussion is to further democratic methods in Native American education by literally bringing those students into consideration, and to look at what we do in academia in light of the past, present, and future, within an unbroken link of time and pedagogy.




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