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Back in 2000 I planned on researching Aboriginal education in Australia, while I was on study abroad there, compared to Native American education in America.

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History of the Project and the Problem This project has developed over a long period of time as I experienced many setbacks. Back in 2000 I planned on researching Aboriginal education in Australia, while I was on study abroad there, compared to Native American education in America. However, contrary to the reservations here in Montana, the public is not allowed on reservations in Australia without special approval and information on the Aboriginal education system in Australia is not readily available. Therefore, I was only able to write a brief paper on the Australian Aboriginal education system, but was not able to acquire enough information to do the full comparative study between Aboriginal education and Native American education systems. I then decided to do an extensive research of the history of MSU's involvement with the tribal alliance. I planned on looking at the reconsideration of the quincentennial and how its offshoot was the writing of MSU's original multicultural grant and mentoring relation with Augsburg College, as well as the employment of Ken Briggs in the International Programs office. Then I would focus on the Science and Technology Alliance, which intended to engage Native American students in the fields related to science and mathematics and phase tribal students from a two year tribal college setting to a four year liberal arts education. The grant resulted in the employment of Carolyn Pease-Lopez and the establishment of the Native American office. ...read more.


I then put the information from the surveys into the SPSS database, which plotted my results and allowed me to find the frequencies and cross tabulations for my questions. I have been interested in Native American racism for many years, starting with the first Native American class I took at MSU-B from Jeff Sanders. But, even before that I always had an interest in other cultures. When I transferred to MSU, a Native American studies minor was not offered, but arranged to do a specialized minor in Native American studies. I also became involved with MSU's Indian Club and I saw and heard about the racism the Native American students experienced here at Rocky. Even as the Native American students discussed the racism they experienced, they in turn were often racist toward me for being "white." I have been told that I have Ojibwa ancestors, but I cannot verify it, as much of my mother's heritage has been lost. Just recently my sister, who is attempting to trace my mother's heritage, came across some records that could prove that not only I do have Ojibwa ancestors, but Crow also. So, even though I may have Native American ancestors in two different tribes, I am still only thought of as "white" by Native Americans and, consequently, very often seen as their "enemy." This led me to want to study more about racism and what causes it. ...read more.


However, the stories only talked about how to encourage Native American students to be strong and express themselves and grow into strong mature adults, not how to stop the racism that occurs. Therefore, I knew my research project would be quite helpful in the world of Native American racism, as it does not seem like there are too many ideas out there for ways to stop racism from occurring. There was one article that I felt had a great deal to say about Native American racism, though. Marjane Ambler wrote Without Racism: Indian Students could be both Indian and Students and in it she wrote, "Ignorance contributes as much to racism as ill will, even amongst close neighbors. We tend to tear and ridicule what we don't understand." I felt this was a very strong statement, which made a lot of sense and needed to be more closely scrutinized. Finally, I decided on the title of my project: Changing "The Combine's" Course: Stopping Racism Through Education. In Ken Kesey's novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next," Chief Bromden talks about "The Combine," which was ran by the whites. "The Combine" did not understand him and his family's way of life, just as they did not understand "the Combine" in return. Thus, it changed his life forever. With that thought and Marjane Ambler's statement in mind I went forward with my research to try and find a way to stop racism, a way I believe can be achieved by combating ignorance with education. ...read more.

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