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Historical Education Experience

In most cases, many nations globally turn to the United States for inspiration on many aspects of social and economic development, including education. However, the US has had different experiences and stages in education where some groups have had to go through different challenges to acquire education. For example, African Americans and Native Americans have gone through many challenges and experiences in the past to have the privileges they have today regarding higher and lower education acquisition. It is imperative to study their past to understand the contemporary history of the two minority groups’ educational experiences. Therefore, this paper aims at comparing and contrasting the Native and African Americans’ historical education experiences.

Native Americans Experiences

For Native Americans, education was not brought quickly, and the Indian Boarding Schools’ impact might impact them to this day. As colonizers spread across the lands, they introduced different models or versions of Indian schools in North America. Some of these versions included common, charity, and day schools. The colonizers warred with the Indians and established their authorities and governments without considering the people living there and their culture. To assimilate the Indians, the governments identified education as the most effective tool.

Traditionally, Native Americans learned all they needed to know through their tribes, clans, and families. This type of education upheld their communities. However, this was the opposite of what Western education stood for since it did not promote individualism and competition. Therefore, for the Western assimilation to take place, the Indians had to learn to say “mine” instead of “ours” and “I” instead of “we.” Thus, when the boarding schools were introduced to the Indians in the late 1800s, this was the motive behind it. The education model also aimed at teaching Indians militaristic and vocational skills to ensure they became valuable. They were deemed incapable of doing more and inferior to white Americans. The schools developed policies that restricted contact between families or communities and the Indian children. However, even though the boarding schools introduced disrupted the Indians’ children’s lives, some Native students found a sense of belonging and community in these institutions.

African Americans

In contrast, African American children had a rough time successfully matriculating, assimilating, and integrating into schools. First, black people were viewed as private properties, later fewer citizens, and then citizens who could not enjoy all the Whites’ rights due to segregation. For students of African descent, segregation provided a significant obstacle when they entered an academic institution. Some people argued that segregation in schools offered African American students a better learning environment and safety. However, the two learning environments proved inferior and superior education platforms existed since White students received much better educational resources and better-qualified teachers than what was provided to African students.

Before the segregation form of education, African American students did not have formal or organized public education platforms until later after the end of the Civil War. During that time, Freedman’s Bureau was the only source of training and education for African Americans. The bureau provided training for enslaved people who had been freed during the Reconstruction period. Though this form of schooling served an essential role in the labor force and social life, it did not provide the education that African American children needed. Therefore, Africans started taking advantage of the education and social programs created since they provided an avenue for free public schooling. However, most black people lived in the South, but most schools built in those regions were segregated. The segregation created a lot of debate, with many arguing that it created resources and funding imbalances for each learning environment. From the moment segregation’s necessity and effectiveness began to receive questions, legal battles rose, with many arguing that it was not legitimate. After long and complex legal actions, African American students were integrated into the same learning environment as White Americans.

Current Experiences

Currently, Native Americans and African Americans receive the same education and curriculum as White Americans. Although a lot of energy and court battles had to be used to ensure equality, such as open admission in higher education institutions, the segregation practices ended. In Minnesota schools, minority groups are protected against unequal or unfair treatment based on specific characteristics such as marital status, national origin, religion, color, and race (Minnesota Department of Education, 2022). Therefore, any student of African or Asian descent is protected from unfair admission or discrimination like any other student.

Also, Minneapolis Public Schools include an action plan where the institutions ensure African American students have an adequate number in MPS. This represents an action where the primary objective is to ensure equitability in tackling the challenges these students experience, especially male students (Minneapolis Public Schools, 2022). The schools created and developed a course called Building Lives Acquiring Cultural Knowledge (BLACK) that engages community members, teachers, families, and students in innovative and authentic ways.

Historical Implications in Today’s Schools

Indians and African students have gone through numerous challenges in their quest for education, equitability, and fairness. However, the challenges and experiences have made it possible for schools and higher education institutions to develop measures to ensure that the students feel more appreciated and included in the US curriculum and courses. Therefore, without the harsh and challenging experiences, these students would not have the privileges they have today in an academic institution. They would not be as appreciated as they are today.


Bradford, K. (2021). The Higher education experiences of native American students: a qualitative study of historical trauma, identity, and institutional support. Escholarship. Retrieved from

Evans, A. (2015). A historical overview of the challenges for African Americans K12 through college education in America. South Florida Education Research Conference.

Minneapolis Public Schools. (2022). Action plan. Retrieved from

Minnesota Department of Education. (2022). Discrimination. Retrieved from


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