chapter  5
20 Pages

Toward emancipatory education: an application of Habermasian theory to Native American educational policy

WithFred Edward Knowles

The history of the education of Native Americans at the hands of European conquerors, settlers, and governments has been a story of oppression and attempts at cultural genocide. Education has been used to reproduce the ideology of the dominant culture and to inculcate all recipients into submissiveness to that allpervasive ideology (Adams 1995; Reyhner and Eder 1989; Spring 1997). A primary aspect of the subjugation of Native Americans, as with other colonized people, has been destruction of indigenous culture. As has been the case with other minority populations, education has been used to deculturalize, acculturate, and subjugate the Native American (Adams 1995; Deloria 1994; Maybury-Lewis 1997). The US education leaders established and used schools in accordance with the phenomena that have been identified and defined by the functionalist perspective in sociology (Lindsey and Beach 2000). As such, one of the primary objectives of education has been to minimize dissenting ideas, and indeed any that conflict with the dominant worldview, through socialization and forced compliance with the dominant ideology (Adams 1995; Spring 1997).