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The increasing Native American enrollment at campuses across the United States is something to be celebrated. It reflects the resiliency of Native people across the country, a commitment on the part of Native students and their families to pursue educational goals, and the growing strength in tribal government and tribal economies. However, the underlying reality that the retention rate for Native American students is the lowest for any group in higher education ought be a source of tremendous concern. It is a consequence of the history of Native Americans in the United States; the state of elementary and secondary education for many Native Americans; and the lack of awareness in much of higher education to Native American students, people, and issues.
What are the trends in enrollment for Native American students? What do we know about their experiences on our campuses? What contributes to their success in pursuing their educational aspirations, and what inhibits them? How might greater awareness of contemporary issues in Indian country affect our ability to serve Native American students? How might knowledge of Native American epistemology, cultural traditions, and social structures help in our efforts to address challenges and opportunities on our campuses? In this volume of the New Directions in Student Services series, scholars and practitioners alike, most of them Native American, address these important questions.
Preface (Margaret J. Barr).
Editors’ Notes (Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche), Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo),
George S. McClellan)
Prayer (Henrietta Mann (Cheyenne)).
1. Where We Have Been: A History of Native American Higher Education (George S. McClellan, Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche), Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo)).
Drawing on the extant literature, this chapter provides an overview of Native American higher education.
2. Native American Student Retention in U.S. Postsecondary Education (James A. Larimore (Comanche), George S. McClellan).
This chapter provides a survey of the higher education literature on Native American student retention, framing the discussion in the context of the broader body of literature on retention.
3. This Is Who I Am: Experiences of Native American Students (Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo)).
This chapter provides insight into the experiences of Native American students in higher education, but it is not a story about what faculty and staff should expect from all Native American students.
4. Perspectives of American Indian Nation Parents and Leaders (Raymond D. Austin (Navajo)).
This chapter discusses tribal leaders’ and parents’ perceptions and expectations of higher education as they relate to five areas: tribal legal status, funding for Indian college students, support for Indian students, cooperative relationships between universities and Indian nations, and respect for Indian cultures and languages.
5. Voices from Within: Native American Faculty and Staff on Campus (Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche)).
The author addresses the experiences of Native American faculty and staff in mainstream institutions, the role they can play in supporting Native American students, and the ways in which they can collaborate with non-Native faculty and staff to support Native American students.
6. Native American Identity (Perry G. Horse (Kiowa)).
Indian or tribal identity is a personalized process that is influenced by legal and political considerations, psychosocial factors, proximity or access to a given culture, socialization, and one’s own sensibility.
7. American Indian Epistemologies (Gregory A. Cajete (Tewa)).
There is no word for epistemology in any American Indian language. However, there is certainly a body of understandings that can be said to compose what this branch of Western philosophy would explore as the origins, nature, and methods of coming to know a way of life.
8. Serving American Indian Students in Tribal Colleges: Lessons for Mainstream Colleges(Robert G. Martin (Cherokee)).
This chapter describes the ways in which tribally controlled colleges work to serve the needs of their students and of tribal communities.
9. American Indian Student Services at UND (Donna L. Brown (Turtle Mountain Chippewa)).
This chapter describes and discusses American Indian Student Services (AISS) at the University of North Dakota as one model for Native American student support services at predominantly white institutions.
10. From Discussion to Action (George S. McClellan, Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche), and Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo)).
The editors provide a brief summary of key recommendations and closing thoughts.