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Self-Determination and the Social Education of Native Americans

Self-determination, a crucial conceptual development in American Indian social and educational policy and the force behind current Indian policy programs, is critically analyzed in this volume by a scholar/educator who has worked closely with Native Americans. Guy B. Senese explores the wide gulf between the rhetoric and the reality of self-determination in contemporary Native American education, an area that has received little scrutiny by students of American education policy. Senese contends that many aspects of Native American self-determination policy work against the full realization of that policy and are in fact contradictory. Arguing that self-determination is not a unified, coherent policy moving toward more community and tribal self-government and economic self-help, Senese makes a strong case for his theory that the policy has been a vehicle to promote a smooth transition toward a termination of the tribal/federal relationship. This book is an excellent addition to the developing literature that questions the pluralist assumptions of the late twentieth century liberal/progressive social policy. Each of the volume's three parts addresses a basic assumption of Native American social education policy. Part I shows how self-determination policy grew as a response to the moral requirements of reservation development in a political climate of American patriotism. Part II shifts the focus more directly to schooling, including a discussion of the concept of community control and the 1975 Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act. The concluding section analyzes the dialogue that resulted from the fragmentation of Native Americans, who were divided over the meaning of self-determination. How the concepts of trust and sovereignty have created grounds for the expropriation of the meaning of self-determination is also explored. This volume's analysis of American Indian social and educational policy makes it required reading in the areas of Ethnic St