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Native Pathways to Education
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Scanned-Digitized Version
Thomas (Tom) R. Hopkins

Original Citation
Meriam, Lewis. THE PROBLEM OF INDIAN ADMINISTRATION. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1928, 872 pp.


Adequate Secondary Education Needed. At present the chief bar to the provision of higher education for such Indians as could profit by it is lack of adequate secondary school facilities. Only recently have any of the boarding schools offered schyoling beyond the tenth grade.15 Furthermore, the secondary work offered at these schools would hardly be accepted by most reputable universities throughout the United States.16 This is not primarily because of the half-day industrial plan, though this affects the situation somewhat, but mainly because of the difficulty so frequently referred to in this report, namely, low standards of personnel. Almost the first requisite for an " accredited" high school, whether the accrediting is done by the state or by regional associations, is that the teachers shall be graduates of standard four-year colleges with some professional preparation in education courses. So far as can be ascertained no government Indian school meets this minimum requirement. Indian boys and girls who graduate from these schools at present find it practically impossible to continue their education in acceptable colleges and universities, because the colleges cannot take them even when there are people interested in Indian youth who would provide the funds. The Indian young men and young women at the University of Oklahoma and other universities and colleges come almost wholly from public high schools or from specially established preparatory schools, such as the American Indian Institute at Wichita, Kansas.

Scholarship and Other Aids. Plans for higher educational opportunities for Indian young men and women should include scholarship and loan aids for students who show promise of, being especially helpful among their own people. Indian teachers and nurses, for example, are likely to have a special field of service for some time to come. It would be a very inexpensive form of investment for the national government to set aside a small sum for scholarships and loans to capable Indian youths. The principle is already recognized in the withholding of portions of the per capita payments of minors for their education. It could very well be one of the functions of a guidance and placement specialist at the Washington office to bring together the available data on scholarships, loans, and work opportunities all over the country for which Indian youth would be eligible. It might prove possible to interest wealthy Indians and Indian tribes in establishing scholarships for other Indians of their own or other tribes who are poor. In any case, however, such aid will not be effective unless the necessary high school facilities are provided for Indian boys and girls so that those who are otherwise qualified may be eligible for college admission.

15 Under the policy adopted in 1925 " senior high school grades " (through the twelfth) have been established in the larger schools.

16 Apparently one or two state universities will accept an Indian candidate from one of these schools on specific recommendation.

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Last modified April 25, 2008