Systemic Barriers in Academia Continue to Affect Native Americans

Generations of Native Americans have been barred from receiving a high level education, but there is hope the tide is changing

Ken lund

Scottsdale Community College is located on the lands of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community.

Tthroughout the history of the United Statesthe Native American community has been no stranger to adversity, especially in academia.

Since boarding schools were established during tribal resettlement, education was forced upon Native American families, despite the fact that access to such education is a challenge for their communities everywhere.

According to studiesonly 19 percent Native American student ageD 18 to 24 years old are enrolled in college, against 41 percent of the entire American population. Native Americans are also more likely attend public institutions rather than private higher education institutions, and 89.5 percent of those in public institutions attended tribal colleges and universities.

To give an idea the small size of these The figures are, Native Americans are one percent of the undergraduate population in the United States and less than 1 percent of the graduate population.

There are also other roadblocks that Native American students must maneuver around., like lack of advanced placement or college preparation course in high school and the geographic disadvantages they face living on reserves with a high poverty rate.

Taking into account all these complex situations the fact clear why and how Native American students do not attend university to the rhythm of their peers.

I started in community college and got used to the environment, the expectations, the schedule and the demands of being a student.

– Dr Tahnee Baker

Despite the unlikely luck, Dr Tahnee Baker challenged them, graduated from Arizona State University in 2018 with her Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work. She is now a lecturer and coordinator of the undergraduate program at ASU‘s School of Social Work.

“I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship from my tribe so I didn’t have to worry too much about the financial part,” Dr Baker said. “I started in community college and got used to the environment, the expectations, the schedule and the demands of being a student. “

Like others across the country, Baker has received help from his tribe to pursue higher education a luxury that offers an opportunity to Native American students Who otherwise, I wouldn’t have one.

Bbut it is not a circumstance that all share. Native Americans are more likely need non-repayable aid, with 90 percent of Native American students receiving some type of scholarship compared to all other students at around 77 percent.

The scholarship opportunities are huge for Native American students, giving them the financial assistance needed to attend college. Also, not all tribes are able to help like they did for Baker and others.

Corn colleges and youUniversities are recognizing financial barriers and creating more scholarship opportunities for Indigenous students in response. The situation in the past has seemed daunting, but there is hope instilled in future students who work hard to Pause the cycle and change the norm.

“I hope that Indigenous students maintain connections with their culture, traditions, ceremonies and identity, as this is necessary for the survival of our communities.“said Boulanger. in addition, Indigenous peoples should seek and achieve goals in higher education to support families, communities and individuals for generations to come.

Nohemi M. Moore