Title

An Analysis of Selected Knowledge of Indian Culture Held by Indian Students Enrolled in the Grand Forks, North Dakota Public Schools

Date of Award

8-1-1975

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Teaching & Learning

Abstract

The Problem: The purpose of this investigation is to determine: (1) the attitudes that Indian children in the Grand Forks Public Schools have about themselves as Indian, as measured by the Native American Self- Concept and Attitude Inventory; (2) how much information Indian children in the Grand Forks Public Schools have about Indian Culture, as measured by the Native American Culture Knowledge Inventory; and (3) the attitudes that Indian children in the Grand Forks Public Schools have about school in comparison to a matched sample of non-Indian children, as measured by the School Sentiment Index.

The Procedure: The population for the investigation included 130 Indian students in grades K-12 and 130 non-Indian students in grades K-12 enrolled in the Grand Forks, North Dakota Public Schools.

The 130 Indian students comprising the sample for the investigation were identified by school officials in Grand Forks and/or through a process in which students identified themselves as being Indian. The 130 non-Indian students were selected by random sample for a comparative evaluation in relation to attitudes toward school.

Three instruments were used in the research. The Native American Self-Concept and Attitude Inventory and the Native American Culture Knowledge Inventory were given to 118 Indian students comprising the sample. Each of the instruments had two forms; one for the primary grades (K-3) and one for the intermediate and secondary grades (4-12). The School Sentiment Index was given to the 118 Indian and 118 non- Indian students comprising the sample. The School Sentiment Index was employed in three different levels, the primary (grades K-6), intermediate (grades 7-9) and secondary (grades 10-12). The test instruments used in this study were administered during the time period of February 24, 1975 through March 14, 1975.

The Analysis of data involved a tabulation of responses for the Native American Self-Concept and Attitude Inventory and Native American Culture Knowledge Inventory. A t-test was applied to data pertaining to Indian and non-Indian children's attitudes as measured by the School Sentiment Index.

Conclusions: The following conclusions are based on the findings of this study involving the Indian children and a sample of non-Indian children from the Grand Forks Public Schools. The data used to formulate these conclusions were gathered via the Native American Self-Concept and Attitude Inventory, the Native American Culture Knowledge Inventory, the School Sentiment Index and an interview format.

1. The Indian students have a positive self-concept of themselves and possess a positive attitude about their school, their peers and their environment as measured by the Native American Self-Concept and Attitude Inventory. They do not feel there is resentment toward them because they are Native Americans and take pride in the fact that they are members of this racial group.

2. The students have a lack of knowledge about their heritage and Indian history as measured by the Native American Culture Knowledge Inventory. Both the younger and older students scored less than fifty percent correct on the Inventory which tested their knowledge about Indian history and culture.

Even though the Indian students, as a whole, scored very lox-7 on their knowledge of Indian history, they agreed overwhelmingly that they would like to know more about the Indian way of life, culture and history. They also indicated that they believed that learning Indian history was just as important to them as learning non-Indian history.

3. There is very little significant difference, as measured by the School Sentiment Index, in the attitudes of the Indian students and the attitudes of the non-Indian students toward school, teachers or peers. Both the students in the experimental group, Indian, and in the control group, non-Indians, indicated they felt the same way about their teachers, their school, their subjects, other students and the general operation of their school. There were only two areas of significant difference at the .05 level, that being about Teachers for students in K-3 and about their Peers for students in grades 4-6. Non-Indian students were more positive in both cases.

4. The Indian students, selected at random from grades 5-12 for an interview, indicated that they were quite positive about their self-concept and attitudes. They were also prideful of the fact that they were members of a Native American tribe and did not feel that this detracted from their characters or their persons. They did not feel they were being treated differently by their teachers or peers, and did not feel that being Indian should be a handicap to them. These students also indicated unanimously their desire to know more about the Indian culture.

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