Code-Switching: From Indian Boarding Schools to Urban Classrooms

byStephanie Zavacky


“I felt like two different people inside of one body. No, I felt like a magician slicing myself in half, with Junior living on the north side of the Spokane River and Arnold living on the South.” – Junior, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Have you ever been talking to a friend, speaking in slang, gesturing wildly - then you see someone from work and immediately change the way you talk and gesture, becoming

professional and restrained? If you have, then you know code-switching. Linguistically, code-switching is “the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.”1 For the purpose of this curricular unit, I am referring to cultural code-switching, or the practice of alternating between two or more cultures.

As teachers, we want our students to express themselves and bring a sense of voice and authenticity to their work, yet we teach them that there is a “right” or “proper” way to communicate. “To become successful, you must speak this way.” “To earn an A on this assignment, you must write this way.” Students are expected to conform to mainstream “white society,” and leave their culture at the door. When I say “white society,” I am referring to the use of Standard English or Mainstream American English (MAE) as the golden standard for all forms of communications. Jeffrey R. Allen outlines why this focus on code-switching has become a double-edged sword for students:

In recent years, code-switching has become a major focus for preparing students

who speak AAE [African American English], and other non-MAE variants, for

life in a society where Standard English is the privileged dialect and seemingly

nothing else is “culturally” acceptable.2

The ability to code-switch does have its benefits: being able to effectively communicate and interact with the dominant culture can help students do well in school, interview for a job, apply to college, and even complete day-to-day tasks. The need to code-switch, however, inhibits students from expressing themselves by reinforcing the idea that their language, religious beliefs, dress, traditions, and customs are not acceptable in certain environments.


Through the use of this unit, I want my students to understand the history and experience of American Indians in different educational environments including boarding schools, tribal schools, and traditional public schools. I want them to understand the policies made by the United States government to assimilate American Indians into mainstream society and the efforts made by tribes to stop and reverse this process.

Currently, not one student attending my school identifies as American Indian. The Pittsburgh Social Studies curriculum only mentions American Indians in the context of the French and Indian War in 8th grade, and when learning about Manifest Destiny in 11th grade. Students are not given any further information and many assume that American Indians no longer exist. I want my students to understand that American Indians are not “artifacts of past,” but are a “people with a future.”3

I also want my students to draw parallels and make connections between the forced assimilation of American Indians with their own school experiences and relationship with dominant society (white society). Students have expressed to me in the past that they feel like they are expected to “act white” while they are in school and that they feel like their culture does not have a place in the classroom. I want to challenge this by asking students if they think their culture and language have a place in the classroom and should be integrated into lessons. I will also challenge my students to decide if integration of student culture should be required by the school district.

In this unit, I question the practice of requiring students to code-switch in urban classrooms as a form of assimilation. My students will examine the detrimental effects and legacy of American Indian boarding schools, particularly at the Carlisle Indian School run by Richard Henry Pratt. My students will analyze the recent efforts of tribal schools to infuse and encourage culture in their students’ educational experience at the Rough Rock Community School and the Oneida Nation High School. My students will also examine the need for American Indians to code-switch when attending a non-reservation school using the novel, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. My students will make observations about when and where they must code-switch to “fit in.” To conclude, my students will participate in the current debate surrounding student use of slang and AAE (formerly known as Ebonics) language in the urban classroom.


My students, 9th graders at University Prep High School in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh are among the most disadvantaged in the city. The students in my school are 95% African American.

The majority of my students live in the Hill District, a neighborhood that is but a shadow of its former self.  In its heyday from the 1930s to the early 1950s, the “Lower Hill,” was a cultural hub where the culture was alive and flourishing, earning it the nickname, “Little Harlem.” The Lower Hill was home to famous jazz establishments like The Crawford Grill, which hosted musicians John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. In the mid-1950s, talk of a new arena started to circulate amongst city officials, as well as where best to build it. By this point, the Lower Hill began to resemble a slum, as dilapidated buildings and businesses fell into disrepair. Situated right next to downtown, it seemed the perfect place for the brand new arena. In 1957, the city bulldozed the Lower Hill, forever altering the neighborhood. Community members today are simultaneously nostalgic for the vibrancy their neighborhood once had and proud of their heritage and distinct cultural background.

The community is still making efforts to restore this cultural heritage through their neighborhood schools. Approximately half of my students come from Pittsburgh Miller African Centered Academy, a K-5 school also located in the Hill District. Students are encouraged to embrace their cultural heritage every day in the classroom through immersion practices and use of African American English (AAE). When these students leave elementary school and start sixth grade at University Prep, they leave this culturally-centered approach behind; not only is it discontinued, it goes virtually unacknowledged. Students must then conform to the dominant school culture of speaking and writing in Mainstream American English (MAE).

When students are prohibited from fully expressing themselves, they internalize the message that they themselves are not valued in mainstream society and that any expression other than through mainstream culture is “uneducated,” or “inappropriate.”

We all live with our feet in different worlds, ready to switch our mannerisms and speech to fit the group with whom we interact. For many students, however, they are not given the opportunity to share their home culture within the parameters of traditional school classrooms. They are asked to “jump” and put both feet in, leaving who they are behind.

Forced Code-Switching as American Indian Policy

“Kill the Indian in him and save the man.” – Richard Henry Pratt

About 190 miles north of my hometown of Pittsburgh sits what remains of the historic Carlisle Indian School. Many may recognize the name Carlisle from its famous alum, professional football player Jim Thorpe. Opened in 1879, the off-reservation school was supervised by Richard Henry Pratt. He believed that American Indians, “must be taught to reject tribal culture and adapt to white society.”4 By “killing” the Indian in his students, he could save them from eventual slaughter at the hands of the United States.

Pratt had experience fighting and living with American Indians years before opening the Carlisle Indian School. He joined the army in 1867 as second lieutenant in the Tenth United States Cavalry and was assigned Indian scouts, providing him with his first real interactions with American Indians. Pratt spent the next eight years fighting Indians on the frontier.5

In spring 1875, Pratt was the officer in charge of overseeing the movement of Indian prisoners from Fort Sill in Indian Territory to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they would be charged. The seventy-two prisoners were a mixture of tribes and ages, having been charged with a variety of crimes stemming from the Red River War of 1874.6 The “war” was a military campaign to remove tribes from the Southern plains to reservations. Unable to try the men in a military or civilian court (the men were not soldiers of the United States and a civilian trial would render a quick and unanimous guilty verdict due to current Indian sentiment), the decision was made to imprison the men in St. Augustine, Florida.7

Pratt was instructed to “oversee the incarceration of the Indians,” a vague command. He made a bold decision to open a school for the prisoners with the goal of civilizing them.8 He immediately began dictating the setup of this new kind of school – the prisoners’ leg irons were to be removed, their hair cut, and old army uniforms provided. The prisoners were also taught military drills and expected to keep their shoes shined and their uniform folded properly. Pratt would lecture his new students each evening on “white man’s civilization,” taking them on field trips, and providing religious sermons from local clergymen. He saw himself as a benevolent teacher who could, through education, bring these men into mainstream society and in turn, save their lives. Word of Pratt’s methods spread and two articles on his transformative tactics were published in The Christian Crisis.

Pratt took what he learned from starting the school in St. Augustine and applied it to the off-reservation school method. He secured funding for Carlisle through an army appropriation bill and found the site for his new school at the military barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which were going unused. He recruited 125 students for his first class to attend the school. In an 1892 speech, Pratt outlined why off-reservation education and forced code-switching was necessary for American Indian survival:

Indian schools must, of necessity, be for a time, because the Indian cannot

speak the language, and he knows nothing of the habits and forces he has to

contend with; but the highest purpose of all Indian schools ought to be only to  

prepare the young Indian to enter the public and other schools of the country.9

Pratt saw the inferiority of Indians as stemming from their culture, not their race. Believing that all people are born a blank slate, Pratt believed that by changing the environment surrounding Indians, i.e. their educational environment, civilized men and women would emerge.10 Although wildly misguided, Pratt saw complete assimilation as the only way to save American Indians from extinction.

Before and after photos were taken of each student at the Carlisle Indian School. In the before photos American Indians were shown in traditional hairstyles and clothing, while in the after photos, the same students now had their hair cut and were wearing a suit, supposedly conveying that the assimilation process was complete and they had become members of white Western society.

Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota Sioux, attended the Carlisle Indian School from 1879 to 1884. When he arrived at Carlisle, his teacher instructed him to choose an “American” name from the board; hence the Americanized first name of Luther. Standing Bear was widely known for traveling in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as well as for his books on the Sioux people. He rallied against cultural assimilation as destructive and detrimental to both American Indians and the white society that imposed it:

The pressure that has been brought to bear upon the native people, since the

cessation of armed conflict, in the attempt to force conformity of custom and

habit has caused a reaction more destructive than war, and the injury has not

only affected the Indian, but has extended to the white population as well.

Tyranny, stupidity, and lack of vision have brought about the situation now

alluded to as the 'Indian Problem.'…The white man excused his presence here

by saying that he had been guided by the will of his God; and in so saying

absolved himself of all responsibility for his appearance in a land occupied by

other men.11

The assimilation and re-education of American Indians began well before the Carlisle Indian School opened its doors. The effort to educate American Indians was from the onset two-fold: preparation for mainstream society and conversion to Christianity. Shortly after Europeans arrived on the continent, Christian missionaries began proselytizing American Indians; European clerics agreed that the Indians were “savages,” “infidels,” and “heathens,” and therefore were not fully human and did not deserve rights.12 As was the case, Christian missionaries were encouraged by their respective countries to begin converting Natives. Large numbers were converted in some tribes, particularly in the New England territory, though many tribes vehemently rejected this attempt to subvert their beliefs and traditions.13

Not until late in the 18th century did the Christianization of American Indians begin to gain momentum. Both Washington and Jefferson promoted “civilizing” as the cornerstone to U.S.-Indian policy.14 In his 1892 speech, Pratt recalls this period, arguing that, “Washington believed that commerce freely entered into between us and the Indians would bring about their civilization, and Washington was right.”15 Civilizing and conversion to Christianity soon became interchangeable concepts. Association between Christianity and civilization was the story of the American dream fulfilled and exemplified the height of man’s achievements; if you were Christian, you were civilized, and vice versa.

Adam Fortunate Eagle, a student at the Pipestone Indian School in Minnesota from 1935 to 1945, recounts his experience of attending an Indian boarding school and how church attendance was mandatory:

“Every Sunday we all have to go to church. Church is something I don’t

understand. My Aunt Anna told me my father was Episcopalian, my brother

Curtis is Catholic, and my mother and other three older brothers and sister are 

Episcopalian. On Sunday morning Mrs. Burns asks me what faith I belong to. I say, 


She just laughs. “Well, young man, you’re going to church.”

“Oh geez, do I have to?”

“You don’t have a choice.”16

Missionaries seeking to convert Indians to Christianity and subsequently, civilization, had help from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a governmental agency created in 1824 as an arm of the United States to oversee American Indian tribes. The BIA enthusiastically supported churches and their mission to convert natives, outlawing and even breaking up traditional tribal customs and practices.17

By the 1870s, after seeing the success of Pratt’s St. Augustine school, many politicians believed that the fastest and most successful means of civilizing American Indians was through education.18 Three different models were proposed by policymakers of the time – the reservation day school, the reservation boarding school, and the off-reservation boarding school.19

At the reservation day schools, students stayed at home and traveled to school each day. Classes focused mainly on language instruction through reading, writing, spelling, and speaking, though instruction in math and the singing of hymns was also included. These schools were popular as parents were still able to have their children at home. Policymakers moved away from this model as it was, “not an effective instrument of assimilation.”20 The day school allowed students to remain in their community with their family, reinforcing language and cultural practices. Reservation boarding schools were similar to reservation day schools as they allowed students to remain on the reservation, but live away from home while receiving education. Policymakers were also not in favor of this method for total assimilation as it presented the same issue that day schools did - tribal culture was reinforced by community and family. Parents could visit their children more easily if the school was located on the reservation than off. Off-reservation boarding schools became the primary approach for full assimilation. Students were removed from their home, community, and reservation and placed in schools that were prohibitively far away so that parents could not readily visit their children and tribal culture could not be reinforced.

Three decades after the opening of Carlisle Indian School, “nearly 500 schools extended all the way to California. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) controlled 25 off-reservation boarding schools while churches ran 460 boarding and day schools on reservations with government funds.”21 By starting when these children were young they could, in theory, be effectively indoctrinated into the “American way of life” and came to espouse those values. By requiring the total assimilation of American Indian youth, the code-switch to mainstream culture was initiated.

Passed in 1887, the General Allotment Act (also known as the Dawes Act) was passed by Congress and gave authorization to the BIA to break up Indian reservations into allotments (small parcels of land for each tribal member with the remaining parcels being sold to non-Indians).22 By intermingling white Americans and American Indians, Natives would have no choice but to assimilate.

American Indians also had to endure a period where their tribal lands were chipped away at in the legal system through termination, or the ending of the government-to-government relationship between reservations and the United States. These reservations would adhere to the jurisdiction of the counties and states where the reservation was located. Termination was a substantial push towards full assimilation of American Indians into mainstream society. In the words of Earl Old Person, leader of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI):

It is important to note that in our… language the only translation for termination

is to ‘wipe out’ or ‘kill off.’ We have no… words for termination…. Why is it so  

important that Indians be brought into the ‘mainstream of American life?’… The

closest I would be able to come to ‘mainstream’ would be to say in [my language],

‘a big, wide river.’ Am I to tell my people that they will be ‘thrown into the Big,

Wide River of the United States’?23

Relocation was another method used to force the assimilation of American Indians by encouraging their movement from reservations to urban environments with the promise of better jobs. The reality was poverty, substandard housing, and lower-level jobs that were not suited to the skills and talents of each individual. Indian children were also adopted into white families to further speed up the assimilation, or permanent code-switching, process.24

Through the efforts of many activist and interest groups, including the youth-driven American Indian Movement (AIM) and the more traditional National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the public was made aware of the ill effects of termination and relocation through protests and lobbying. Tribes began the process of fighting to secure their sovereign rights through legal channels using tribal leadership. The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin was even able to reverse the termination of their reservation with the passage of the Menominee Restoration Act of 1973.

In the 1970s, self-determination, or the ability for tribes to receive direct funding and the freedom to make their own decisions without the involvement of the BIA, became the official U.S. policy for Indian affairs. With this funding came new schools, initiated and run by the tribes themselves. The era of boarding schools, termination, and forced assimilation was ending and a new era of schools run by reservations and American Indians was beginning.

One tribe that used this new funding to create their own school where Indian culture was celebrated was the Rough Rock Demonstration School on the Diné (Navajo) reservation. The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), started in 1964, provided funding directly to tribes to spend the funds as they saw fit without the bureaucratic hindrance or involvement of the BIA. Using funds secured from OEO, in 1965 the tribe built the school to be run by the Diné with Diné teachers and staff and a Diné-centered curriculum. The school, “…rose from the community’s will to give its children education that both respected and integrated Navajo culture and prepared young people for dealing with the majority society.”25 The Rough Rock Community School, as it is known today, expresses the importance of combining culture and education in its philosophy statement:

The objective of this school and the community as a whole is to teach and instill

our sacred Navajo Language and way of life into each of our Navajo children

 who attends school here. These life and career enhancements are applied to the

discipline of our children to the degree that they can be competitive in any

society, whether they choose college or vocational school, knowing and

 practicing their sacred uniqueness as Navajo individuals.26

There are some American Indian schools that have taken up the mantel of the Rough Rock Community School and investing in the education of their youth. Schools such as the Oneida Nation High School in Wisconsin have focused on cultural immersion where student culture is welcome and integral to education. Jessica House, a senior and a member of the high school’s Lady Thunderhawk basketball team, states that, “Basketball is my life and so is my culture… In order to play basketball at Oneida, you have to be in the culture. You have to participate… It’s important because I think it helps [students] know who they really are ‘cause sometimes you get so caught up in the other world.”27

The Oneida Nation High School outlines their rational for combining culture and education in their schools:

Culturally, we continue to improve our learning about who we are as a

On^yote.ak^ people. Our culture and language is the foundation of encouragement

to expand our confidence in whom we are as citizens of our nation.  We strive

toward utilizing the language and cultural concepts on a daily basis to become

proficient thinkers, problem solvers and communicators.28

The Oneida Nation High School balances the culture of their students with preparing them for mainstream society. This is not the case for many high schools in the United States; students are taught that they need to code-switch to mainstream culture in order to have a future and that their native culture is a hindrance to future success.

Contemporary Code-Switching in Native America

Even though Indian boarding schools were closed and tribes began educating their youth on the reservation itself, not all reservation schools are a resounding success like Rough Rock. On some reservations, “white” schools in the border towns still offer an opportunity for a better quality education due to inequalities in funding. These non-reservation schools, however, require American Indian students to code-switch in order to fit in. Sherman Alexie, author of the semi-autobiographical fiction book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, details the experiences of Junior, an American Indian living on the Spokane Indian reservation in the state of Washington. He attends school at his reservation school, Wellpinit. Although Junior does not attend an Indian boarding school, his reservation school lacks the funds necessary to provide its students with quality teachers or materials. When he receives his geometry book, he opens it up to see his mother’s name written on the inside, hitting him with the realization that the school materials he is to be learning from are incredibly outdated. He remarks, “My school and my tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from. That is absolutely the saddest thing in the world.”29

His geometry teacher, Mr. P, emotionally tells Junior how American Indians were treated in school when he first began his career, harkening back to the words of Richard Henry Pratt:

When I first started teaching here, that’s what we did to the rowdy ones, you

know? We beat them. That’s how we were taught to teach you. We were

supposed to kill the Indian to save the child… We were supposed to make you

give up being Indian. Your songs and stories and language and dancing.

Everything. We weren’t trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill

Indian culture.”30

Mr. P also advises Junior that the only way to succeed is by attending the white school in a border town, off the reservation. He pleads with Junior, “We’re all defeated… you have to take your hope and go somewhere where other people have hope.”31 Junior takes his advice, enrolling in Rearden High School where he is the only Indian. He immediately has to begin code-switching from Indian culture to white culture to survive. Junior, known as Arnold at Rearden, describes the culture shock he experiences on his first day, “Rearden was the opposite of the rez. It was the opposite of my family. It was the opposite of me. I didn’t deserve to be there. I knew it; all those kids knew it. Indians don’t deserve shit.”32 He even graphically details the differences in dress of “Indian” and “White” students.33


Alexie’s work ultimately reveals that American Indian students who leave the reservation in search of greater educational opportunities face the need to code-switch to the dominant culture in order to fit in.

This focus on code-switching to mainstream culture as a means to a successful future is also apparent in the current debate of whether or not African American English (AAE) should be an acceptable form of communication in school. AAE is influenced by the pronunciation and grammar of several dialects and languages, such as Creole, Southern American English, and West African. The students in my school are primarily African American and use AAE when talking with family members, friends, and within their community. When they arrive at school, they are asked to code-switch to Mainstream American English (MAE) as the “proper” way to approach their academics.

In the book Ebonics: The Urban Education Debate, the authors argue that, “Unfortunately, language diversity, like ethnicity, social class, religious affiliation, and so-called racial diversity… provide a means for differences among us. These differences then provide a means for positioning people as being either superior or inferior.”35 Instead of embracing the differences between us and honoring them in the classroom, schools reinforce the message that only the dominant culture is necessary.

Similar to the anecdote of Luther Standing Bear being forced to choose an American first name, my students often see their names misspelled on grade printouts as the computer system does not accommodate non-white spellings of their names. For example, a student may spell her name Elle’anna, but the computer prints it as “Elleanna,” an MAE version of her name. She would often pull out a pen and angrily place the apostrophe in its appropriate place on the print out. Even though this may seem like a small cultural slight, when added up, these cultural slights send the message of, “your culture is not accepted here.”

In recent years, attempts have been made to bring attention to the rich diversity of student culture and its importance in the context of education through the bidialectalism movement.36 The philosophy of bidialectalism is to value student culture and actively provide students with opportunities to use their native culture in the classroom along with mainstream cultural practices and expectations. The proponents of this movement believe that by valuing student culture, the systemic eradication of student culture in classrooms can be reversed.

Encouragement of cultural differences also provides novel perspectives. The Blackfeet Tribe of Montana has founded three schools for language and cultural immersion of their youth. As part of this immersion, students are taught the Blackfeet language, which does not have gender distinctions.37 Imagine how differently these students see the world through the context of their culture. To remove this perspective is to homogenize the human experience.

The pressure on today’s students to conform to mainstream culture through code-switching is eerily reminiscent of the conversion of American Indians to Christianity and civilization through education. Mainstream society is trying to “civilize” our students by requiring them to code-switch and only express themselves through mainstream culture. Students are once again being assimilated and their culture eradicated. We live in a world of diversity where countries and cultures are no longer isolated from each other as they once were. It is time that we celebrate and welcome these differences in the classroom.

Essential Questions

What impact did boarding schools have on American Indians?

Were Pratt’s intentions noble and, therefore, acceptable?

How did boarding schools devalue the culture of American Indians?

Is culture an important part of our identity?

How did termination and relocation assist in the assimilation of American Indians?

How did American Indians fight to stop termination and assimilation?

What are American Indians doing today to reinstitute their culture and language?

What challenges do American Indians still face?

Should students code-switch when they enter a new school in order to fit in?

Is code-switching necessary to be successful in life?

Should immigrants to the United States be required to learn English?

Should Muslim girls in France be allowed to wear a headscarf to school?

Should the school district require the integration of student culture in the classroom?


This unit fulfills the following PA Common Core standards:

CC.8.5.9-10.A. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information

CC.8.5.9-10.C. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

CC.8.5.9-10.D. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

CC.8.5.9-10.F. Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.

CC.8.5.9-10.I. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


Close Reading of Text

Many of my students, when given a text, read the entire text at once and then do not comprehend the text in any meaningful way. By using the Talking to the Text (T4) close reading strategy, students slow down and annotate as they read, asking questions and making connections. The T4 strategy follows seven steps: (1) Make connections, (2) Summarize what you have read, (3) Write down questions you have, (4) Look for the answers, (5) Make predictions, (6) Relate to the text, (7) Comments, Agreements/Disagreements. Students deeply understand the text when following this method. At the beginning of the school year, students receive reinforcement of the T4 method until they are able to follow the steps on their own.

Shared Inquiry Discussion

To conduct a shared inquiry discussion, the teacher prepares open-ended questions based on what the class has been learning. The teacher asks a question and students begin to provide their view on the matter. The key to a shared inquiry discussion is to provide students with question stems (I agree with you because…, The text states that…., etc.) that they can reference during the discussion. I also preface each discussion with the following ground rules: be aware of your air time, never attack someone personally, and expect and accept non-closure. Once these ground rules are in place and reinforced by the teacher, students feel more confident in sharing their views in class.


To review a chapter or unit, I often use Kahoot.. The teacher prepares the Kahoot quiz using the free website and inputs questions with four possible answers, then selects the correct answer. Students can play using a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Students have the option of playing in teams or individually as well. This type of review is a fun way to check for student understanding of the past unit and prepare them for an upcoming summative assessment.

Classroom Activities

Students close-read the article, “Soul Wound: The Legacy of Native American Schools” and answer teacher-created document based questions (DBQs).

Students close-read the article, “France’s headscarf war: ‘It’s an attack on freedom’” and answer teacher-created document based questions (DBQs). Students can also write an argumentative response using evidence from the text.

Students examine the before and after photos of students at the Carlilse Indian School, complete a photograph analysis, and write a summary conclusion. This can also been done as a webquest.

Student read the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie using the One Book, One Philadelphia curriculum.

Students watch a video on the Oneida Nation High School and student Jessica House, player on the Lady Thunderhawks basketball team.

Students analyze the photography of Horace Poolaw in For a Love of His People.

Students analyze the painting, “Bicentennial Indian” by Fritz Scholder.


Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 1995.

Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007.

Bruch, Patrick, and Richard Marback. The Hope and the Legacy: The Past, Present, and Future of "students' Right to Their Own Language" Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2005.

Ellis, Clyde. To Change Them Forever: Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1893-1920. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.

Eagle, Adam Fortunate. Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010.

Ramirez, J. David. Ebonics: The Urban Education Debate. Clevedon, Hants, England: Multilingual Matters, 2005.

Smith, Paul Chaat., and Robert Allen. Warrior. Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. New York: New Press, 1996.

Wilkinson, Charles F. Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. New York: Norton, 2005.


  1. (accessed July 16, 2016).
  2. Allen, Jeffrey R., "The Effects of Explicit Code-Switching Instruction on Student Writing Performance for Students Who Speak NonStandard Forms of English" (2015). Education Masters. Paper 315.
  3. Paul Chatt Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane, 28.
  4. (accessed July 16, 2016).
  5. David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction, 38.
  6. Ibid, 37.
  7. Ibid, 37.
  8. Ibid, 39.
  9. (accessed July 16, 2016).
  10. David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction, 52.
  11. Land of the Spotted Eagle by Standing Bear, 249
  12. Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle, 33.
  13. Ibid, 33.
  14. Ibid, 33.
  15. (accessed July 16, 2016)
  16. Clyde Ellis, To Change Them Forever, 31.
  17. Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle, 11.
  18. Clyde Ellis, To Change Them Forever, 10.
  19. David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction, 28.
  20. Ibid, 31.
  21. (accessed July 16, 2016).
  22. Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle, 15.
  23. Paul Chatt Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane, 8.
  24. Ibid, 8.
  25. Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle, 192.
  26. (accessed July 17, 2016).
  27. (accessed July 17, 2016).
  28. (accessed July 16, 2016).
  29. Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 31.
  30. Ibid, 35.
  31. Ibid, 42-43.
  32. Ibid, 56.
  33. Ibid, 57.
  34. Ellen Forney, White Indian Image, 2007,The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 57.
  35. J. David Ramirez, Ebonics: The Urban Education Debate, xi.
  36. Wayne O’Neill, The Hope and the Legacy, 11.
  37. Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle, 363.

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