Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mary Nienow


Social Work


Native Americans are one of the lowest preforming racial groups in the United States public education system. Native Americans have among the lowest graduation rates, low post-secondary attendance, and are overly represented in special education. A review of the literature provides insights on the dynamics of academic oppression. This research attempts to add to a great deal of quantitative research on different forces of oppression by providing the daily lived experience of Native American youth attending public schools in the United States, which has not been fully researched. The purpose of this study was to answer the question: what is the lived experience of Native Americans who went through the United States mainstream public education system? Five participants were interviewed and analyzed through an analytic induction process. Themes of connection to culture, meaning of being Native American, silencing of culture, exclusion, stereotypes, racial aggressions, family, resilience, transformative experiences, views on Indian Education, and suggestions for social workers were explored. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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