To Live Heroically

Institutional Racism and American Indian Education

By Delores J. Huff

Subjects: Indigenous Studies
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791432389, 236 pages, March 1997
Hardcover : 9780791432372, 236 pages, March 1997

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Table of contents



1. A History of Indians in the Public School System

2. Different Scales for Different Whales

3. The ABT Study

4. Analysis of ABT Research

5. The Madison Study: The Town, the Reservation, the Ethos

6. Community Perceptions of the Madison K through Twelve Public School System

7. The Madison Study: Classroom Evaluations K through Four

8. The Gap Widens: Grades Five through Eight

9. The Survey

10. The Legacy of Institutional Racism

11 Solutions for the Future: The Voucher Plan and Tribal Schools

Epilogue: The White House Conference on Indian Education



Analyzes American Indian education in the last century and compares the tribal, mission, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.


To Live Heroically examines American Indian education during the last century, comparing the tribal, mission, and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools and curriculums and the assumptions that each system made about the role that Indians should assume in society. This significant book analyzes the relationship between the rise of institutional racism and the fall of public education in the United States using the history of American Indian education as a model.

The author asserts that had the federal government really wanted an educated, self-sufficient Indian population, it would have selected the successful nineteenth-century tribal models of Indian education rather than the mission or BIA schools. And her description of the reservation and bordering white community demonstrates the depth of institutional racism and its impact on local politics, economics, and education. Huff wants the reader to see how policy is made about Indian education and to recognize the complex issues that Indian (and other minority) families and educators deal with in real communities.

Winston A. Van Horne is Professor in the Department of Africology, University of Wisconsin.


"Delores Huff covers a broad range of topics including the history and economic impact of institutional racism in this country; the evaluation of schools and teachers in general, and of schools specifically in relation to Indian children. This book brought me back to my own K-12 education in a public school close to the reservation; the parallels were significant. " -- Carol Cornelius, University of Wisconsin at Green Bay

"The issue is significant and current, especially since the U. S. Department of Education's Indian Education Act program is being reduced presently. With deficit reduction as the prime motivator, the dialogue about consolidating current programs into one for 'functional' reasons, is silly. This book gets behind the dialogue, behind the ostensible, and goes for the jugular. It could have been written only by someone with a keen eye and some trench experience. " -- Frank Anthony Ryan, President of Information and Management Technologies, and former Director of the Office of Indian Education and Deputy Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs