Education | Opinion

Gyasi Ross: Congratulations to Native high school and college graduates

Graduates at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

It's graduation season and Native students across the nation are finishing high school, college and graduate school. What now? Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet), the editor at large for Indian Country Media Network, urges the 2017 class to take some time to reflect on who they are as indigenous peoples:
Dear Native students and graduates,

You are graduating. Congratulations.

That is a huge deal. Historic. You beat the odds. Your family and community should be very proud of you and you should be very proud of yourself as well. For what it matters, I’m very proud of you. Native students have the lowest graduation rates from high school in the nation. Native students also have the highest dropout rates from college in the nation. There are a myriad of reasons, heartbreaking stories and culprits why Native students have the lowest graduation rates and the highest dropout rates in the nation—those reasons, stories and culprits are all very, very real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The fact that you made it through school despite those very real things is nothing short of amazing.

Yet, you persisted dear graduates. You somehow survived this system that was intended to devour your soul.

Read More on the Story:
Gyasi Ross: A Letter to Indigenous Graduates: Protect Who You Have Always Been (Indian Country Media Network 5/4)