Dawna Hare Discusses Native American Education History

As part of Native American Heritage Month, Dawna Hare gave a lecture on Wednesday regarding Tribal Government Education at the Cultural Engagement Center. In explaining the history of Tribal Government Education, are explained the United States government’s affairs with Native Americans began as part of the War Department in 1824. As Native Americans were moved from their native lands to reservations, the United States Government created boarding schools where students were relocated from their homes. According to Hare the purpose for the boarding schools were to not only educate the Indian youth but also to, “assimilate them into United States society.” She said they were not allowed to speak their native language, wear native dress or wear their hair in traditional ways. According to Hare, the most famous of the boarding schools was Carlisle in Pennsylvania. 

Hare detailed two advocates who worked for Native American education in the 20th century. Hare said some changes were made in the 1930s when John Collyar headed the Indian Affairs Department for the United States government. She said Collyar initiated the Johnson O’Malley Program and other programs to assist Native Americans. The second was LaDonna Harris. Hare explained that Oklahoma Sen. Fred Harris and his wife LaDonna (a member of the Comanche Tribe) worked for programs to assist Native American education. Indian 101, The Indian Education Act and Indian Self-Determination Act were adopted in the 1970s continuing the process. She said that NOC began a partnership with the Pawnee Nation in 2002. The Pawnee Nation also has a partnership with Bacone University in Muskogee. “Our goal is for those that continue their education come back and help their tribes,” Hare said. 

In describing the history of Native American education Hare said that three American universities (Harvard, Dartmouth, and William & Mary) each provided education programs for Native Americans in the 1700s but the Hare is a member of the Pawnee Business Council. She is also an adjunct instructor at Oklahoma State University and an advisor for the Native American Student Association. She added that many tribes are the economic engines in their respective counties.

by Scott Cloud, "What's Happening" November 10, 2017