Native American Bilingual Education: An Ethnography of Powerful Forces

Cheryl K. Crawley
Independent Scholar

Product Details
06 Nov 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
272 pages - 152 x 229mm
Studies in Educational Ethnography
For over thirty years, a political and social battle over bilingual education raged in the U.S. and in and around the Crow Indian Reservation of Montana. This book, a period piece rich in political, historical, and local western context, is the story of language, education, inequality and power clashes between the dominant society and the Indian tribe as historical events unfolded. 

This is a classic ethnography that documents eight years of the author’s day-to-day experience as a teacher, bilingual education coordinator, and central office administrator during the socio-political dispute. The author showcases the familial, linguistic, and ancestral place-based strengths of the Crow families that empowered children to succeed in school against the odds, providing a secure foundation for their future leadership within the tribe. In doing this, the author builds strong support for bridging Native and Euro-American philosophies within a bilingual framework. 

This book is important reading for teachers, administrators, and policy-makers. It provides hope, ideas, and concrete actions for those who would engage in change management to improve learning environments and better serve diverse students.
Chapter 1. A Study In The Anthropology Of Education
Chapter 2. Crow Country
Chapter 3. The Language of Education in Crow Country
Chapter 4. Indian Bilingual Education
Chapter 5. Complex Organizations Change Theory
Chapter 6. The Bilingual and Bicultural Project on the Crow Reservation
Chapter 7. Speak English; Talk Indian. Conclusions and Implications
Cheryl K. Crawley has served in education administration for forty years. A third generation Montanan, she is a leadership coach, speaker, process facilitator, and a practicing anthropologist in socio-linguistics, cognitive science, policy, and change leadership.
'Scholarly and beautifully written, [this book] presents a unique perspective and case. The author writes about the Crow and the bilingual education program with deep insight, knowledge, and compassion, grounded in her experience directing the program for several years and her perspective more generally as an educational (school district) administrator. … It documents an important case of U.S. Native American education and U.S. bilingual education, that is not documented elsewhere.' - Nancy Hornberger, Professor Emerita, University of Pennsylvania, USA

‘In the end, Crawley makes the reader want to meet those Crow. Her appreciation, respect, understanding, and love for that people come through clearly. That is the best compliment one can pay any ethnographer.’ - Stanley Brandes, UCBerkeley

‘Dr Crawley is uniquely positioned to illuminate the battle that exists in public education for the rights of American Indian students and their families to have culture and language represented and affirmed by an educational system that is designed to eradicate American Indian culture and language. The purpose of the American system of education as it relates to American Indians has been one of assimilation. To that end, the perpetuation of Native languages continues to be a hard-fought battle. Dr Crawley’s experiences in public education and lifelong relationships developed within the Crow community provided a lens into the complex relationships between the need to perpetuate Native language and the public-school mission to assimilate.’ - Dr Sandra L. Boham, President, Salish Kootenai College

‘Dr Cheryl Crawley has been a noteworthy education leader for decades. Throughout her years of public service, she has become an expert in Native heritage language implementation in public schools. Importantly, she takes her cues from and works closely with American Indians and the Native language speakers themselves to develop her expertise. This book is necessary to ensure these stories about Native heritage languages in schools are expressed and championed. When I was Montana’s state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr Crawley was at the forefront of leading her district in our state’s Indian Education for All movement, which integrated accurate and truthful information about American Indians into all curricular areas. Her district was one that I held up as a model to follow on Indian education. I am happy to call Dr Crawley among the leaders I have learned from as she led a district that focused on equity, positive change, listening to community, and centering students in decision-making.’ - Denise Juneau (Mandan/Hidatsa/Blackfeet), former Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent

‘As a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, I conducted a doctoral study of language maintenance on the Crow Reservation in the mid-1970s, just before Cheryl Crawley came on the scene. I recognized then that the Crow represented a special case of a Native American community that has sustained its socio-cultural identity to a remarkable degree. Drawing on her much longer engagement with the tribe, Dr. Crawley offers a very rich ethnographic account of life in Crow Country as background for a description of the exemplary bilingual education program that she implemented there. She is obviously an accomplished educational administrator and her passionate commitment to addressing the often intractable challenges in educating young Native American students is evident throughout the book.’ - John Read, Professor Emeritus, University of Auckland, New Zealand

'Cheryl always understood the dynamics in our diverse community and schools. I followed Cheryl’s leadership from the Crow School bilingual program into central office administration, and I expect that this book will serve to help many more educators come to better understand the children they serve.' - Marlene WalkingBear, Retired Federal Programs Director - Hardin, Crow Agency, and Fort Smith Public Schools, Member of the Crow Tribe

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