A Review of the Research Literature on the Influences of Culturally Based Education on the Academic Performance of Native American Students


September 2003


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One of the major tasks facing Native American communities (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians) is to create lifelong learning opportunities that allow all the members to improve their quality of life, and to meet their tribal responsibilities through meaningful contributions to the local, national, and world communities in which they live and interact. The greatest educational challenge for many is to build learning environments that allow each of their young children to obtain an education that "creates good people that are knowledgeable and wise." The formal reports cited in this review of the literature present the position that knowing, understanding, and appreciating one's cultural base are necessary starting points for initiating a young child's formal education. The theory is that it sets the stage for what occurs in a youngster's later life. The task of this report is to review the research literature to determine whether there is a direct relationship between a culturally based education curriculum and improved academic performance among Native American students.