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History of Native American Education in Kansas

An overview of resources related to the history of Native American Education in Kansas.

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Notable Quote: K. T. Lomawaima

"Native people have always valued education. The educational systems designed to transmit tribal knowledge over the centuries are formally organized, consciously constructed systems that value student initiative and intellectual engagement. But tribal people also recognized the value of colonial education as a training ground for successful relations with Euro-American governments and citizens." (Lomawaima, p. 144)

Lomawaima, K. T. (2004). American Indian education: by Indians versus for Indians. In Deloria, P. Salisbury & N. (Eds)., A companion to American Indian history. (pp. 422-440) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


The history of Native American education in Kansas covers a vast span of time. Beginning centuries before White people ever came to North America to the 21st century, how Indians educated their children tells an important story about how they lived, what they valued, how they thought about the world around them and what means they employed to maintain their culture and societies.

Without a doubt, since the 18th century when Indians first encountered White people in significant numbers, their history is punctuated by tragedy and struggle on a catastrophic scale. Examining the history of education over the same period brings that history into sharper focus; education touches everything that happened in the last 250 years. Every policy, every war, every initiative, every resistance movement has related to Indian education, in some way. Though Indian culture and society are hardly monolithic, the fact that as a whole, Native Americans, as a community of people, have survived and thrived to the extent  they have is due, in part, to their embrace of educational ideals - ideals which they brought forward from centuries of their own traditions and adapted to the shifting demands and challenges of the White world. Looking at the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the newest scholarship highlights the ways Native sovereignty informs Native educational policy and practice. Within the framework of the U.S. educational system, Indians are forging new and innovative solutions in order to educate their own people.

This guide is not comprehensive. Not every book or article about Native American education is listed here. We have selected some of the more groundbreaking studies, pivotal research, influential scholars, and important resources. Where we do not have something specific to Kansas Natives, we have tried to include scholars whose work informed the field as a whole; they may not have written about educational policy or Kansas but their work is critical to understanding the historical context.