Historically, American Indians have had negative relationships with government agencies, and many Native people are likely to be realistically cautious with White authorities. The problems are vast and based on 500 years of mistreatment of Native peoples. This is understandable considering the destruction of culture, language, and human lives inflicted on all Indian populations throughout U.S. history.

Early educational history of American Indians is about how non-Indian policymakers sought to use the school-house, specifically the boarding schools, as an instrument for acculturating Indian youth to “American” ways of thinking and living (Adams, 1995). As a result of this experience, intergenerational distrust of non-Indians may be combined with anger and confusion. Indian peoples realize the atrocities that have been committed against them far better than the greater society. Even today, in government, education, films, sports competitions, and society in general, Indian peoples are presented in a derogatory fashion (Roop, 1993).