This discusses the history and nature of Indian control of Indian education since the 1960s and its implications for the future. Local or tribal control of education is a basic principle inherent in the sovereignty status of American Indian tribes, and is also essential to reclaim and strengthen Native languages and cultures that were long targeted for destruction by assimilative educational policies. Major steps in the development of contemporary Indian control included Great Society programs of the 1960s that focused on community development and action; establishment of Rough Rock Demonstration School and Navajo Community College--the first tribally controlled college; federal legislation of the 1970s-80s that supported tribal sovereignty and tribal control of education; and the growth and success of tribal schools and colleges in the 1990s. Several observations explain the meaning and significance of tribal control, differences between tribal control and Indian community control, the link between tribal control and self-determination, the recent nature of true tribal control, and developments across tribes. It is also important to understand that most Indian students attend public schools, and the federal government has major financial responsibility for Indian education, but Indian education is often not a priority at any level of the school system. Indian-controlled schools are successful, but challenges remain in the areas of funding, student performance, Indian cultures and languages in the curriculum, parental and tribal involvement, school facilities, Indian leadership and staffing, and accreditation.
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