For Native Americans, Harvard and other universities are inadequate

Cambridge, Massachusetts (AP) — When Samantha Marthas sets foot on the Harvard campus this fall, she will be the first member of the prestigious Aquina Wampanoag Law School. She says it’s a “roundabout moment” for college and the Martha’s Vineyards.

Over 350 years ago Caleb Cheeshah teaumuckThe Aquina Wampanoag man became the first Native American to graduate from college in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1650 charter We are calling for the education of “English in this country and young people in India”.

“I’m from the backyard tribal community and I’m very familiar with Harvard’s influence,” said Marthas, the 24-year-old daughter of the tribal chairman. “This is a symbol of the New England colonial past and this tool of assimilation that has pushed Native Americans into the background of their hometown.”

Maltese arrive on campus when Native American tribes, students, and faculty are working with Ivy League institutions and other universities to help indigenous communities do more to make up for past mistakes. .. state, Municipalities And University Weighing and in some cases Already provided Compensation for slavery and discrimination against blacks.

In Minnesota, 11 tribes are asking the state university system to return some of the land they have acquired, provide Native American students with a tuition exemption, and increase the number of Native American teachers. I will. request.

Tad Johnson, director of tribal relations at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Chipeva tribe, said the university would establish a “truth and reconciliation” process to document and determine how to correct historical mistakes.

“We are listening,” he said. “We are acting on virtually everything thrown at us.”

Meanwhile, in Colorado, state legislators Measurement method Grants state tuition to students from certain federal-approved tribes.

And in California, Native American students want a tuition exemption Other specific Returned after most public schools issued a statement acknowledging their unfortunate history on tribal lands, according to Tori McConnell, a 21-year-old member of the Yurok tribe who graduated from the University of California, Davis in June.

“It’s right for them to do these things,” she said. “Action is more eloquent than words.”

University spokesman Ryan King said authorities are “working hard” to continue to support native student and tribal communities. He cited the creation of an advisory board to university presidents, including tribal leaders and scholars, among other recent efforts.

Many American universities were the product of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, and funded the creation of public universities through the sale of federal land. But, Research Last year’s High Country News suggests that the approximately 11 million acres designated as so-called land-grant universities were actually obtained from approximately 250 tribes.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Harvard, Native American students from this past semester continue to benefit from their status as one of the original Land-Grant Universities in the United States. Dig into the heritage of.

Luke Bastian, a 22-year-old Navajo student from Phoenix, asked educational institutions for him and other students to present a class project to the MIT president earlier this month and create a Native American research program. It states.

College officials say conversations with native students are underway and Bastian is optimistic about their progress. Students have already lobbied for designated campus spaces for native students and have persuaded MIT to abolish Columbus Day. Celebrate Indigenous Day, He said.

In recent years, some universities have taken commendable steps to prioritize the needs of indigenous students, according to supporters of the indigenous community.

Colorado State University State tuition Evaluation of students from federal or state-recognized tribes. South Dakota State University will also use personal donations to provide scholarships to local tribal members and from the University’s Land Grant Trust to enhance Native American programming, research and other efforts. Providing income.

“We can’t change the past, but we can change the future of these young people,” says Barry Dan, president of the university and a member of the Rosebud Sioux. Wokini Initiative In 2017.

Already due to the coronavirus pandemic Minimum Cheryl Crazy Bull, chairman of the Native American College Foundation, which awarded Maltese a full scholarship to Harvard Law, said the country’s college graduation rate.

During the pandemic, native students The sharpest Decrease in college enrollment of racial or ethnic groups as financial difficulties, Health inequalities Challenges with Remote learning In an isolated tribal community, many students were forced to leave school, Crazy Bull said.

According to Emily Vandik, president of Harvard’s Native American Alumni Group, there are concerns that Harvard’s poor grades require native students to drop out of campus temporarily.

This suggests that native students are having a hard time coordinating when they arrive on campus, says a 39-year-old Seattle-based member of Siksika Nation, Canada. According to the report, the number of native students enrolled in more than 6,700 undergraduate schools has declined in recent years from 45 in the 2009-2010 academic year to 16 in 2019-2020. University data..

Students and graduates are also urging Harvard to formally admit that they are standing on the land where the indigenous people once lived, Van Dyck said. This is a basic first step that many universities have taken. MIT And that University of California, Davis..

“We have nowhere else to find other universities,” Van Dyck said.

A Harvard spokesman refused to comment on the concerns, but Joseph Gorn, a professor of anthropology who heads the school’s Native American program, said the university is in preliminary talks with local tribes to prepare a land approval statement. Said that.

Ghosn, a member of the Gross Bentre tribe in Montana, also claims that Harvard University has made progress since his undergraduate days in the 1990s. He is one of three incumbent Native American professors and currently offers about 10 Native American courses each semester.

Meanwhile, the school’s famous Peabody Museum is working to repatriate a large number of relics to Native American tribes, but some Native American groups have recently Criticized process.

On her side, Harvard and other schools have helped native students from remote tribal communities adapt to college life by investing more in student groups, mentorship programs, counseling and other support services. He says he needs to guarantee.

Dartmouth graduates who recently worked for the Peace Corps in Tonga also endorse the idea of ​​free or discounted tuition for native students, but emphasize that it should not be the only solution.

“Not everyone needs a flashy degree,” she said. “The only compensation for land can be land.”

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