To Remain an Indian, Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education

Feb 15th, 2007 | By | Category: 18-3: Building Prosperity, Media Reviews

TO REMAIN AN INDIAN COVERby K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Teresa L. McCarty
Teachers College Press (2006)
New York, NY
240 pages  Paperback: $29.95, ISBN: 0807747165
Cloth: $70, ISBN: 0807747173

Review by Laura Hawes

To Remain an Indian opens with a photograph: play tipis huddled beneath an immense boarding school on an empty plain.

The authors offer a thesis that convincingly relates history, indigenous epistemologies, and American democracy.  They propose that Indian education must be returned to indigenous communities and methods, not only for the sake of those who want to remain Indian, but for the sake of democracy.

When a democracy’s constituents are disenfranchised through the elimination of their cultural and linguistic expression, the legitimacy of the entire civic society is diminished.

Meanwhile the language of “safe” and “unsafe” cultural difference persists in American education, and affects the civic potential of students from all non-dominant cultures.

The core of this book is its success stories.  From the “holistic” pedagogy of creation myths to the “New American revolution” of dual-emersion education, it offers a balm against despair.  Equally, it provides an inspiring theoretical frame for those who continue to fight for indigenous control.

Laura Hawes is advertising coordinator for the Tribal College Journal.

 

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