Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Work to Do at Home

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Work to Do at Home

Article excerpt

READERS won't get past the cover of this month's Kappan without noticing that a large portion of the issue is devoted to Indian education and specifically to Montana's efforts to give substance to promises made in the constitution the state adopted in 1972. And it's high time, not just for Montana. If your education was anything like mine was in the 1950s and 1960s, most of what you know about the indigenous peoples of this continent didn't come directly from your schooling. And much of what you did learn in school was suspect at best.

We owe this section to the good efforts of Bobby Ann Starnes, the Kappan columnist who brings you Thoughts on Teaching five times a year. Bobby served as a guest editor of this special section, along with Wendy Zagray Warren, Denise Juneau, and Mandy Smoker Broaddus. I should also mention the dedication of Managing Editor Rise Koben, who kept everyone focused as the initial proposal took shape and finally gelled into the articles you see here. Thanks are due to all of them.

And it's no accident that this special section appears in November, which since 1990 has been designated National American Indian Heritage Month. While a single month's focus is in no way sufficient for so important and wide-ranging a subject, such designations as this one and Black History Month make a necessary claim on our national attention.

To get an idea of just how much "attention" the Kappan had given to the issue of Indian education--construed as widely as possible--I searched the online archives and found a total of 24 "hits" for the terms Native American or Indian, dating back to 1971. Of these, seven were articles by Bobby Starnes herself, including last January's exploration of the complicated relationship between white teachers and Indian children. And one of those 24 hits referred to East Indians.

As you dip into these new articles, you'll find a good deal of history--if not history directly recounted, at least history referred to obliquely. …

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