Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies



Waiting Patiently 500 Years–Washington Legislature Considers Requiring Tribal History in School Curriculum

Author:Hurtado, Denny and Smith, Barbara Leigh

This case tells the story of the origin and passage of House Bill 1495 in the Washington State Legislature. This bill required the inclusion of tribal history, culture and government in the social studies curriculum in the public schools. The case discusses the early stages of the process of implementing this bill as well. The case provides a good opportunity to study leadership and the policymaking process in state legislatures as well as issues in Indian education.

New!Enhancing Native Student Achievement: What Works?

Author:Tanya Altstatt Menchaca

Shortly after the Federal “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) was enacted, the Neah Bay High School on the Makah Indian Reservation was in the lowest fifth percentile of achievement for Washington State Schools. It was categorized as a “Priority School...in need of substantial improvement in whole school proficiency and growth...” by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Intensive support was requested of the school district and OSPI. Neah Bay High School’s low achieving status prompted the official label of a School Improvement Grant 1 school.  With this label Cape Flattery School District (CFSD) and Neah Bay High School were required to file School Improvement plans each year.  This case explores the steps taken to turn a failing school system into a success.

New!The Aftermath of Redskins Indian Mascot Decisions: What’s Next?

Author:Gary Arthur

For decades Indian mascot names have been generally regarded as stereotypical and racist. Because of the divisive nature of Native American mascots, school systems from middle school through college level have in the past and are now coming to terms with changing these names. The “Redskins” mascot name is particularly offensive. A number of high schools have dropped the Redskin mascot name, but the decisions, procedures, judgments, and residual effects of change within these school systems and communities differ. What happens after a mascot change and how this impacts communities who for many decades used these names in their school systems is an area that can be as critical as the decision to change itself.

Honoring Our Children: Acceptance within the Indian Community

Author:Arviso, Vivian

This case study is about the creation of safe school environments that promote tolerance and diversity in Indian communities. Native students who have a sexual orientation or gender expression which their classmates perceive as different are often subjected to bullying and harassment and many do not complete their educational goals. Sadly, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students are 30% more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers. The Story Problem is situated at a high school where a recent suicide has led an Indian student to take action to create a safe and welcoming place in the school for Indian and non-Indian LGBT students by having a support group. Student organizers hope to eliminate bullying and harassment of all students, affirm traditions and identities as Native peoples, and express acceptance to protect the lives of all students.

New!Is diversity a mask or a bridge? The Indian mascot debate

Author:By Gary Arthur

For decades the Indian Mascot issue has fostered controversy across the land. Middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities and professional athletic organizations have wrestled with the issue. Port Townsend High School in Washington State is one of the schools coming to grips with its mascot name “the Redskins.” The community is in conflict about retaining or retiring the mascot name. Newly appointed Superintendent David Engle is no stranger to the conflict, having seen the same issue in the Edmonds School District where his children attended school. The Port Townsend School Board is determined to create “a fair, mature and respectful process for dealing with the sensitive issue.” This three part case explores the process of attempting to move the discussion of this issue from black and white, toward a deeper understanding of all sides. The case can be used as an interrupted case where each part is read and discussed separately or as a single session case.

New!Two Cultures, One School

Author:Ray Barnhardt

For the past 40 years, the St. Mary's School District has pursued the goal of bringing the educational experiences provided by the school in line with the social, cultural and economic aspirations of the Yup'ik Eskimo community it serves. With strong and sustained leadership from the school board and with continuity provided by a stable and dedicated local staff, the district has sought to bring the communities wishes to bear on the school through a culturally articulated curriculum that seeks to balance the learning of Yup'ik ways with the learning needed to survive in the world beyond St. Mary's. This continues to be a delicate balancing act, but the board is committed to pushing ahead, and the higher-than-average presence of St. Mary's graduates in institutions of higher education and in leadership roles in the state, indicates that its perseverance is paying off. Drawing from the St. Mary's experience, we can extract some valuable lessons to guide other schools and communities in their efforts to establish "culturally responsive" educational programs for their students.

New!Learning to Hunt: Mini Case

Author:Barnhardt and Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley

This mini case study seeks to extend our understanding of the processes of learning that occur within and at the intersection of diverse world views and knowledge systems, drawing on experiences derived from across Fourth World contexts, with an emphasis on the Alaska context in particular. The case outlines the rationale behind a comprehensive program of educational initiatives that are closely articulated with the emergence of a new generation of indigenous scholars who are seeking to move the role of indigenous knowledge and learning from the margins to the center of the educational research arena and thus take on some of the most intractable and salient issues of our times.

Should Indian Sports Mascots Be Repealed?

Author:Gary Arthur

Concerns about racism, a lack of sensitivity to diversity, stereotyping, sexism, oppression, and lack of Native American entitlement make up a partial list of issues raised in connection with the use of Native American mascots. Those who support mascot use contend that these mascots praise the traditions and culture of the Native Americans. Language supporting the monitoring or banishment of Native American (NA) mascot use has been introduced in the courts, in school districts, and in at least one national athletic association. Besides the list of concerns voiced by those who oppose the use of NA mascots, the issue of indigenous peoples being entitled to identify for themselves how symbols of their culture are interpreted seems to be pivotal in dealing with this conflict, and may even be the focal point at which groups can begin to reach some type of understanding or agreement.

Dam Removal on the Elwha River

Author:Peter Dorman

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, whose ancestral home is on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, has made a remarkable recovery from dissolution and poverty, reclaiming tribal status and acquiring land and fishing rights. Critical to this process will be the restoration of salmon runs on the Elwha River, which had been terminated by the building of two dams early in the twentieth century. Among the steps leading to dam removal was a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This study, which was filed in 1995, forms the centerpiece of this case. Due in part to the CBA’s conclusion that the economic benefits of dam removal would exceed the economic costs, resistance to this precedent-setting decision was overcome. The case centers on an examination of the CBA and the ways it both does and does not incorporate matters of concern to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Bridging Two Worlds: Developing and Maintaining a Native American Center at a Public College

Author:Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, J.D. (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe), Longhouse Director, The Evergreen State College

This case explores some of the issues, questions, challenges and strategies in planning and implementing a Native-based facility at an educational institution. This case draws on fifteen years of public service through Native arts administration at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College.

Pathways for Native American Students in Higher Education Mini-Cases, Part 1

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith and Kayeri Akweks

The Pathways for Native Students in Higher Education mini-series includes short cases about important issues in Native student access and success in higher education. The larger research-based report that is the background document to read before tackling these cases is our attached recent report, Pathways for Native Students: A Report on Washington State Colleges and Universities, 2010. The mini cases om Part 1 include such topics as how to organize support services for Native students, what works in Native student access and success, identifying and working on trouble spots in the curriculum, diversifying the faculty, increasing completion rates, the impact of culturally relevant curriculum, college readiness and pipeline programs and others. We suggest gathering cross college groups of staff and faculty to discuss these cases. By using these cases along with the many transferable practices in the Pathways report, colleges can learn about ways they might improve their own efforts.

Aboriginal Education Funding: Who’s In Control?

Author:Alex Marshall

A budgeting decision made by a Board of Education in a school district in British Columbia, Canada helped address serious budget shortfalls in the School District but it became the basis of conflict between the school district and the Aboriginal communities. They felt the Board had not honored its commitment to support the Enhancement Agreement, a five year educational plan signed in partnership with Aboriginal communities, to improve Aboriginal student success. The Board’s decision to appropriate $44,000 of funding targeted for Aboriginal programs without consulting Aboriginal community representatives retriggered community mistrust of school systems and raised anew concerns about prejudice and racism. This case can be taught as an interrupted case with discussion at the end of Part 1 and then Part 2.

Educational Attainment for Native Americans: The Value of a College Education

Author: Meyer A. Louie

The case takes a quantitative approach in exploring the value of higher education for Native Americans. Descriptive statistical methods are applied to empirical data from the US Census Bureau. Students are asked to consider and analyze educational attainment and its correlation to median income levels, labor force participation, and poverty rates. Other statistical measures (median, ratios, and tables and charts critiques) are performed, analyzed, and interpreted. The quantitative measures and calculations can be tailored to fit the audience – depending on the level of complexity and involvement the instructor and audience wish to pursue. Hence, the questions at the end of the case are organized into two levels: Level One (treatment is less rigorous and involved, less time is available for study) and Level Two (treatment is more rigorous, more time is available to study the case. The quantitative approach of the case attempts to provide an informed answer to the all-important question: For Native Americans, is there real value in getting a college education?

Since Time Immemorial: Developing Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum for Washington’s Schools

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith, Shana Brown and Magda Costantino

This case tells the story of the attempts to implement House Bill 1495 which passed the Washington State Legislature in 2005. This bill recommended inclusion of tribal history, culture, and government in the social studies curriculum in the K-12 education system. This bill was intended to address perceived widespread misunderstanding of American Indians’ heritage, history, and contributions to society. The bill passed but did not include any funding for implementation. This case discusses the efforts to secure funding for curriculum and staff development and the approaches that were used to develop a tribal sovereignty curriculum. The tribal sovereignty curriculum project occurred as a reform effort within larger reform efforts as the State attempted to improve the K-12 education system and comply with rising federal standards and expectations. The case raises a myriad of larger questions about making change as well as questions about educational innovation, policy implementation and educational equity. This case can be taught as an interrupted case with discussion at the end of each section or as a single case with discussion at the end of the case.

The Boy Who Wasn't There

Author:Lisa Queen

This case involves a Native student with poor attendance in a first grade classroom and the series of interventions made by the classroom teacher and the school system to alleviate the problem. Issues including extended family systems, home/school cross-cultural communication, and Federal and State school reform regulations are a part of the discussion.

Making the High School Diploma Mean Something

Author:Smith, Barbara Leigh

In 1997 Washington, like many states across the nation, established a new framework for assessing student performance in K-12 education believing this was key to making the high school diploma mean something. The new standards, implemented through the WASL (the Washington Assessment of Student Learning), were gradually phased in but will eventually become graduation requirements. While student performance has improved, students of color continue to have lower achievement scores than other students. This case looks at a reservation community struggling with the question of how to improve student performance on the WASL and the various factors that might explain poor performance.

Whose History Should We Teach?

Author:Costantino, Magda and Hurtado, Denny

Washington State House Bill 1495 encourages school districts to incorporate curricula about the culture, history, and government of the nearest federally recognized tribe or tribes. The purpose is to familiarize the students with the unique heritage of their community. The case study of Whose History Should We Teach? suggests a curriculum that is a response to the mandate of the bill. It is based on a conversation that takes place in a teachers' staff room. A group of teachers expresses their deeply held beliefs about the possibility of developing a curriculum that presents Washington State history from the Native American perspective. They clash around their views of several historical milestones. Each question and each answer has a number of historical events embedded in them. The core of the curriculum is the research topics and the relevant discussion questions which guide students' learning. The intended learning outcomes state specifically what the students are expected to learn. The teaching notes describe the tasks that students will engage in, in order to investigate the issues. The curriculum can be used in K-12 or college with appropriate adaptations. It would be effective and appropriate for native as well as non-native students.