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dent enrollment-the state's public school system. Nowhere is found the spirit of self-determination whereby the Bureau of Indian Affairs follows the lead of the people and assists with all their resources Indian people to obtain a bargaining position against the state education system that they are dissatisfied with, but who need that technical and cooperative support which will force states to recognize the education desires of American Indians.
The membership of the CICSB attests to the fact that all is not well in the education systems as far as American Indians are concerned. It also attests to the fact that American Indian people are willing to work for change even if it means rejecting the education system or undertaking change without the assistance or support of the BIA.
American Indians are constantly frustrated by the limited support they receive from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as they work to establish their own schools, or work to secure control of schools formerly operated by religious institutions. : They are generally met with discouragement against separation and encouragement to capitulate to the state public school systems. Such is the case of the Hannahville Pottawatomi Tribe of Michigan whose concerns with the Back River-Harris School District were the lack of Indian graduates proportionate to Indian students entering the high school, an unusually high drop out rate, social promotions with or without credit, regardless of achievement moved through the system without remedial effort, attendance policies which denies student rights, discrimination against students in subtle ways and refusal to hire American Indian faculty. This community has undertaken to begin their own school and have asked the Bureau for their assistance in doing so. A Tribal document states "The Hannahville Indian Community especially wishes to point out the participation of BIA representatives at this early date. The long history of BIA contact with this problem, the community feels, justifies a departure from the general Bureau refusal to contract schools where Indian students will be removed from public schools".
The BIA response was to encourage the Tribe to seek assistance through the band analysis for the Tribe. Little has been mentioned of the possibility that funds will not be available to meet the minimum $75,500.00 request for school operations. Thus the Bureau of Indian Affairs has shifted the responsibility from them on to the Tribe who must then eliminate other needed or existing programs to meet the school's needs. Such is the case of the Hammon School where the Bureau of Indian Affairs has encouraged their inclusion on the band analysis for opertional money with little expectation of new money as Agencies are told what figure cannot be excelled in establishing tribal program priorities. They are likewise told to secure on an annual basis a resolution of support from the tribe before assistance can be given. Again the BIA has shifted responsibility upon the tribe in that they are supposed to establish expenditure priorities. Such was the case of the Ramah School who were included in the Band Analysis of the tribe for $750,000. As this amount would have proved insufficient, Ramah School withdrew from the band and now have increased their budget up to 2.174 million. Such is the case of the Busby School of Busby, Montana, a BIA contract school.
Under a request for construction assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, all preliminary meetings were held with BIA representatives in Albuquerque, an architect was selected and after all plans were approved by the School Board and the BIA to begin construction in early September 1975, the Busby School Board was told that there were not funds available to begin construction. Meanwhile the Lame Deer Public School District, 20 miles from Busby received $500,000 construction monies for additional class rooms and construction has already begun.
The above examples represent the policy of self-determination in effect-BIA style. If this is self-determination it is no different than during the fifties when tribes were being openly terminated and we want no part of it.
We urge the Congress to closely review the effort of the BIA and to provide the means whereby self-determination is a cooperative venture between the BIA and the American Indian with their effort resulting in recognition of Indian education needs by the states.
This concludes our statement. Once again the CICSB extends its apreciation to the Committee for its efforts and for the opportunity to participate in these hearings.
STATEMENT OF DILLON PLATERO, DIRECTOR, NAVAJO DIVISION OF EDUCATION, THE NAVAJO TRIBE
Mr. Chairman: It is an honor to be asked to address this distinguished subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary and Vocational Education. As the lawmakers of our country, you are entrusted with seeking the guidance of the American People and to follow through with the type of legislation which will address problems that are at the very foundation of our society.
I, as an educator, am entrusted with the responsibility of cultivating the most precious resource our Nation has: the children of America. This responsibility is shared with thousands of professionals in every corner of our great land. It is a responsibility which is awesome: as awesome as any which faces this land.
Everyday, we see major changes taking place in almost every part of the United States. These changes are keeping the American People at the forefront of the International Community. But there are many areas in this great land in which educational progress is so slow that one wonders if anything is really happening. I speak of Indian Education and specifically, Navajo Education. I am sure some of you are familiar with the Navajo Nation through visits or personal contacts. The Navajo Nation, the place where I live and work, is an area vast in size and population: an area of boundless resources. Many of these resources are virtually untapped.
As it is with any section of this nation, the children of the Navajo Nation are our most vital resources. But they are deprived of adequate educational opportunities.
Let me give you an example: In the Chinle Agency, there is a Bureau of Indian Affairs school and a public school. The Bureau school is funded at nearly three thousand dollars per child, and has surplus space while the public school has less than twelve hundred dollars per child and lacks adequate facilities. Both school systems suffer from a shortage of qualified Navajo speaking personnel, bilingual and bicultural materials, and basic programs to attack educational deficiencies.
These inequities place our Navajo children into an untenable position; a clearly unequal and secondary position even compared to the worst schools in the United States.
The results of this desperate condition is that great numbers of Navajos fail to complete school and greater numbers of children are running away from schools. Those who are in school find, in many cases, that they cannot understand what the teacher is saying and when the children finally get to the point where they begin to grasp the basics of the English language, the teacher has given up because of the language barrier.
Our children do not lack the basic intelligence to be successful in school. Rather, our schools have failed to master the fundamentals of communicating with our children.
One bright star which was helping us overcome the language barrier was the Bilingual Education program administered by the U.S. Office of Education. But right at the point where many of our schools were beginning to make progress, many of our programs were severely cut back. In fact, most of the schools which had demonstrated leadership in Navajo and National bilingual education lost all of their funding.
Another problem we face is the lack of educational opportunity for our adult citizens. Right at the point where progress was being made, the U.S. Office of Education, Office of Indian Education, cut one hundred percent of the funds for the Adult Education Program of the Navajo Tribe. In traditional Navajo culture, all intellectual education used to be adult education. But the Office of Education fails to recognize this and many other relevant facts.
In 1973, after one hundred years of Federal Education, there were, in the entire Navajo Nation. less than two hundred Navajo teachers. As a result of the Navajo Teacher Education development program, recently eighty additional Navajo's received their teaching certificates. This program, funded by the U.S. Office of Education, has graduated more Navajo teachers in a period of two years, for less money, than all the graduates of the last ten put together. At the rate we are now going, we will double the number of Navajo teachers within the next two years. This program has been operated with only minor
increases in funding while the number enrolled in the program has increased dramatically. But we have no assurance whatsoever that this program that is having the greatest impact on increasing the number of Navajo professionals in the Navajo classrooms will have sufficient funds to continue a year from now. DE The Navajo child attending school on a regular basis faces many hardships. (12 Aside from the language barrier, chances are excellent that a good part of his waking hours, if the student attends a day school, will be spent traveling over substandard dirt roads and his or her ride may last several hours. If the student attends a boarding school, he or she is separated from his or her family. We Navajos still feel that family unity is the backbone of all human-including Anglo and Navajo society. Our children need the orientation to life that is provided by a close family. We Navajos are all too well acquainted with the alienation of children that results from the disorganization of families.
Faced with these situations, there is little wonder that there are so few Navajos with high school, college or graduate diplomas. As a result of this, within this abundant country of ours, there is a group of people who have yet to achieve the minimal socioeconomic levels that most every other minority group has now reached.
Where are our doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers? They are still waiting for an education on par to their ability.
The solutions to the problems are complex. We are talking of an investment of millions of dollars for the construction of schools, the building of adequate roads, the training of Navajo teachers, the building of hospitals and the provision of every other element of the necessary infrastructure that will place the Navajo Nation on a footing equal to that of the greater society.
Far beyond a simple increase in the infusion of money, there needs to be a change in the basic relationship between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Navajo People. The Bureau of Indian Affairs must shift its mission from that of being a mere trustee to one of being an active advocate for the Indian people. Along with a shift of goals on the part of the Bureau, there must be a recognition on the part of the Indian people that as the Bureau is staffed by increasing numbers of Indians, it will become the vehicle for assisting Indian people in the solution of their problems.
There are specific actions which the Congress of the United States can take to insure that the Navajo Nation will reach a level of equal educational opportunity:
1. Continue the development of legislative remedies which will provide relief for many of the artificial encumbrances placed on Indian people. Most notably, the Congress should follow through and appropriate funds to meet the provisions of the Indian Self-Determinating and Educational Assistance Act.
2. Provide relief for Public Schools serving Indian children so as to bring their level of funding on a level equivalent to that of Federal BIA schools. This especially includes the funding of adequate facilities.
3. Recognize the unique social, cultural and linguistic needs of Indian children and provide the program support necessary so our children can compete on an equal footing with every other citizen.
4. Settle on a development program which supports the construction of day schools and the roads which make day schools a reputable part of our system of education.
5. Establish educational programs which are responsive to the economic needs of the Navajo Nation. These programs should address themselves to the establishment of a vocational-technical school system designed to train Navajos to fill the jobs which directly affect the Navajo Nation.
6. Support the development of Indian-operated educational institutions, especially the Navajo Community College and the schools currently under full Navajo control.
7. Monitor the activities of the Federal agencies charged with the responsibility of implementing Federal policy. This practice should extend to all levels of the Federal bureaucracy.
8. Provide adequate funds to meet the educational needs of a developing Navajo Nation, including adequate support for Adult Education and Teacher Education Program.
9. Help to strengthen the Tribal government by supporting the self-determined efforts of Indian people. This is especially true in situations where Tribal gov ernments are attempting to assume control of programs traditionally adminis tered by state and federal governments.
10. Most important, the Government of the United States should work with and support the efforts of the Navajo people themselves. This support should be in a manner which strengthens the Navajo Tribal Government.
Indian Governments are no longer the same institutions they were one hundred years ago. The Tribal governments have reached a take-off point where they are able to assume control of many diverse programs, especially education programs.
Last month, the Navajo Tribal government sponsored the first reservation wide hearings on educational opportunity. At these hearings a common theme was sounded: The Navajo people care about the education of their children.
The Navajo People are asking for ways in which they can increase their participation in education so their children can partake of the benefits it brings. The Navajo Tribe is now in the process of compiling the testimony rendered by the citizens of the Navajo Nation, and will submit copies of the findings for the review of this Committee. Hopefully, the Committee and the Congress will consider the requests of the Navajo People on ways to improve the quality of education available to our people.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ADVOCATES FOR INDIAN EDUCATION: THE NORTHWEST TRIBES
Educational change is a slow process and no group is more aware of this truth than American Indians. Change is always expected to take place within the formal school setting alone. It has been Advocates for Indian Education's experience that unless the community activity promotes educational changes, very little happens in the teaching-learning process in classrooms.
Those situations in which Advocates have been directly involved concern Northwest Indian communities and schools with each reflecting varying degrees of desire for educational change. Certain Indian communities are putting forth every effort to improve education for their children, and are extremely frustrated and often discouraged by the barriers imposed through Office of Education and Bureau of Indian Affairs procedures. Administrative policy, program regulations and guidelines have been inconsistent, often unrealistic and ever-changing.
To cite a case in point, a small rural school located on the Colville Reservation (Washington) requested a Title IV, Part A program revision in order to provide in-service training for a Social Studies teacher before the end of the fiscal year. The amount of monies involved was minimal and had been unexpended travel funds. The acting program manager denied this request, citing the following
Part A could fund limited teacher training efforts with several restrictions in mind. The money involved in the training must be a small portion of the Title IV grant and the person who received the training must be employed by the Title IV program. In addition to this, the training must be conducted at the local level and should be directly related to an on-going Title IV project. The proposed revision involved an extended effort which was to be conducted away from the school district. No mention of such a program was in the original proposal. Lastly, the training in question involved the earning of credits. This would seem to be an individual or a district responsibility and not the responsibility of Title IV.
The Indian Parent Committee generally understood that inservice training was an important criteria for Title IV programs. Had the revision been approved, the Social Studies teacher would have acquired greater understanding and knowledge about relating to and teaching Indian children. He would also have developed a curriculum unit about the local tribe, their history and culture for the Social Studies program. The coming school year would have seen the results of one small effort institutionalized as an integral part of the educational program offering.
It is less expensive to offer inservice teacher training programs in one central location where educational experts in several specialized areas can be brought together to provide training, than it is to have each school hire these specialists to come to their community for a four-week period of time.
Frustration with the Office of Education is growing among Indian parents and educators. Since this office became a formal part of the USOE under P.L. 92-318, Title IV it has struggled unsuccessfully to function as Congress intended it should. It cannot effectively serve Indian educational needs under the present
The program originated when the members of the National Indian Educa Advisory Council were appointed for indefinite terms by former President Ne Documentation is available to show that after securing a state of nominees tha Indian tribes and organizations, eight of the fifteen members appointed we independently recruited and selected on a purely political basis over the expres opposition of tribes and individuals. No consideration was given to a de examination of their experience and ability in the field of Indian education e their commitment to find solutions to tribal educational needs.
The same Advisory Council is requesting that they be allowed to continue their membership until 1976. Advocates for Indian Education strongly opposes tis request in light of national Indian concern, and recommends that new members be appointed soon. The terms should be staggered, and selection made on a ba partisan basis with criteria clearly reflecting tribal and Indian organizatio endorsement. To form a body with the capability to advise on a board spectr of educational concerns, appointees should be required to have successful exper ences in one or more of the following areas: (1) Early childhood education (2) Elementary and secondary programs; (3) Higher education with te training competencies; (4) Adult and continuing education; (5) Indian pare committees; (6) Tribal education committees; (7) School boards; and (8) Vor tional and Career development programs.
Rather than wasting time "re-inventing the wheel," Advisory Council mee meeting the recommended criteria would be prepared to draw upon their ene ences and knowledge of educational programs and resources that have de strated some effectiveness in improving educational opportunities for Lati children, and thereby moving quality programs forward more rapidly.
Without question, Title IV administration represents the weakest component in the Office of Indian Education operations. With Title IV programs moving their third year, all program managers have been employed in an "a capacity; this results in a high turn-over rate. In many ways this problem identical to a long-standing concern that plagues small, rural and isolated munities: the constant turn-over of teaching and administrative staff.
The Deputy Commissioner has not taken advantage of the expert resources made available by the previous Office of Indian Affairs staff in preparation implementation of Title IV operations such as the carefully drawn "five year plan" designed to stabilize the new Indian education program. He has p developed an advocacy role for Indian programs within the Office of Educati or the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. We who work directly with communities are not aware of any efforts to establish a cooperative relationship with other departments and divisions in the Office of Education which, in effe could offer Indians a wider range of program selection and a broader funding base upon which to build stable educational programs.
Unfortunately, the parallel between the problem-ridden school serving Indar children and the Title IV program operations is too close in many respects f one to assist the other. This situation will not improve until new directions are taken and the Title IV Advisory and Administrative components become bilized. The many, many schools and Indian organizations which look to the of Indian Education for leadership and assistance will continue to experien frustration and disappointment as they attempt to meet the critical needs why they see must be met for their Indian pupils.
In providing education services to Northwest Indian communities, Advocate for Indian Education has found the education staff in the Portland Area Offe the Bureau of Indian Affairs very effective in responding to the needs of the communities. While providing constructive challenge to Indian education projects with a limited staff, they have maintained a flexibility which allows assistance to be directed realistically in a diversity of situations.
However, we must comment on the recent changes in Johnson-O'Malley regule tions which have proven disastrous to many schools operating Johnson-O'Maller programs in the Northwest. By specifying a set amount on a per pupil basis for program funding, rural, geographically remote but necessary schools hare su fered drastic cutbacks in funding their programs. Experience indicates that schools with a small tax base require larger grants to develop and opera supplemental programs for Indian students. In the State of Idaho, for exampl many schools have had to revise their Johnson-O'Malley programs downward to one-fourth of their original costs thereby making their programs almost inept able. As a result, Advocates recommends that Congress act to correct this defer in the regulations already published and in effect, by directing the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs to quickly initiate the necessary changes.