A comparative study of the factors relating to post high school educational pursuits of selected American Indians : some characteristics and self-perceptions Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zw12z865f

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  • A unique aspect of this study is that it involves an unusually large number of individuals of American Indian descent. The sample population was composed of those Indian members of the 1962 high school graduating class from a six-state area. The selected graduates came from local public, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and private secondary schools located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The graduates of the 1962 class were selected to be studied as they would have completed their educational experiences or become employed in a selected vocation and would have established a life style. The model used for data collection was designed and completed in large part by Indians. The data were collected in two parts. The first part was information of an autobiographical nature and was oriented to characteristics that included the usual vital statistics, degree of blood quantum, residence at time of interview, ability to speak an Indian language, importance of speaking an Indian language, etc. The second part of the data collected was information gathered by interviews and involved those factors of self-perception such as effect of peer group association, attained success, source of information on post high school education, educational and employment opportunities, etc. Half of the total sample population was asked to respond to 84 questions. When tabulated, significant statistical difference was found in 15 of the questions. In five categories of questions, the calculations indicated that chi square values at the .05 level of statistical significance occurred. The remaining ten calculations have chi square values at the .01 level of statistical significance. In the analysis of the areas where significant statistical differences were observed, only three questions could be classified in the areas defined as characteristics. The conclusion was reached that the Indian has been assimilated into the dominant culture in far greater degree than even the Indian realizes or is willing to admit. The remaining categories of questions, where significant statistical differences were indicated, occurred in the area of self-perception. These differences reaffirmed the conclusion that the Indian high school graduate perceived the educational experience in a negative manner. Another conclusion drawn was that the Indian's low self-image is being reinforced by his formal education. The Indian is becoming increasingly cognizant of this disparity although there have been great sums of money and effort expended to assist the Indian in overcoming these negative self-perceptions. Inherent throughout the individual responses dealing with the Indians' self-perceptions, the underlying but obvious theme was that the formal education being received was not meeting the needs of individuals. Thus, Indians could not successfully compete in employment or advanced educational opportunities. These deficiencies were perceived as detrimental to the individual Indian and are contrary to the philosophical objectives of secondary education in the United States. One of the stated objectives of Indians is to be educated and therefore able to compete on equal terms for educational and employment opportunities within the dominant society. Another goal is to retain as much of their culture as is possible to maintain and develop their Indian identity. The long history of the dominant society's attitude toward the Indian and his education is one of debasement which leaves a stigma on the individual. Such an attitude tends to minimize the Indian's individual goals and potential for self-direction, creativity, and flexibility in educational opportunity and newly emerging life styles.
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