American Indian Educators in Reservation SchoolsOct 31st, 2013 | By clamb | Category: 25-2: Tribal and Behavioral Health, Media Reviews
By Terry Huffman
University of Nevada Press (2013)
Review by Carmelita Lamb
This is a story of optimism in the face of great social challenges, hope where positive change is barely evident, and deep faith which inspires American Indian teachers to do critically important work every day in reservation schools. This is a story about “Native faith.” While this book is intended to describe the results of a well-planned research project, it reads like one man’s personal journey through Indian Country. Huffman richly describes the view from behind his windshield as he travels mile upon mile through seemingly deserted country, musing over recent interviews and considering his next stop along his path of human discovery.
Twenty-one American Indian educators are the main subjects of this study. The resultant data leads to a profound discovery in regards to the personal attributes associated with these participants. Huffman suggests that two types of educators exist within reservation schools: affinitive—those who see themselves as role models who build personal relationships with their students; and facilitative—those who are strongly committed to the practical benefits of an education and who work toward being effective educators in the classroom. From this intriguing distinction, the story unfolds. The complex interrelationships between two philosophically unique educational perspectives become the context from which the heartfelt, tearful, frustrated and at times angry testimony of the 21 participants is shared.
This book is a must-read for all educators across Indian Country and would certainly benefit pre-service teachers, particularly those who are being trained at tribal colleges.
Carmelita Lamb, Ph.D. (Hispanic/Lipan Apache) is the Teacher Education Department chair at Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, North Dakota.