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HuffPo: Carri Jones and Chase Iron Eyes on Indian education

Huffington Post: How The Feds Are Failing Native American Children

The Huffington Post interviewed Carri Jones, the chairwoman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Chase Iron Eyes, the founder of Last Real Indians, about Indian education.

Jones said her tribe in Minnesota has been lobbying the federal government for years to replace the aging Bug O Nay Ge Shig School. But there's been little to no money for school replacement for more than a decade.

"Our students pretty much are going to school in a metal pole barn," Jones told The Huffington Post. "It's just not a safe environment for them."

Iron Eyes said the government is failing to live up to its treaty obligations to provide education for Indian students. But he said the situation won't change until tribes gain more control of their school systems.

"We have to stop relying on the federal government for anything," Iron Eyes said. "We need to be able to fund our own schools so we aren't subject to any funding cuts."

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell with students from the Bug-O-Ney-Ge-Shig School in Minnesota. Photo from Facebook

The Bureau of Indian Education used to maintain a school construction priority list that determined which projects were included in the budget request submitted to Congress. The list hasn't been updated since 2004 -- Bug O Nay Ge Shig School wasn't even on it.

The American Indian Education Study Group has called for a resumption of the funds. According to the Bronner report, the BIE needs $1.3 billion to replace or fix problems at the 68 highest-risk schools and another $967M is needed to reduce the existing repair and maintenance backlog.

Get the Story:
Sioux Tribe National Details How Native Americans Can Overcome A Crippled Education System (The Huffington Post 11/7)

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