Only 125 Native American students are enrolled at the university where campus police stopped and questioned two young Mohawk brothers
, The Associated Press reports.
Out of student body of 33,400, that means Native students account for barely 0.37 percent of the population at Colorado State University. And while the figure seems low, it's the norm -- only 1 percent of the entire college population is Native, according to the AP.
“They might be stepping onto a campus where they are going to be one of the only Native students,” Kara Bobroff, the founder of the Native American Community Academy
in neighboring New Mexico. which helps prepare Native youth for college, told the AP. “So trying to build a strong community around them is really important from the moment they interact with that school.”
But even universities where Native students have built that community aren't always the most welcoming. In 2004, a professor at Fort Lewis College, where Native students account for about 20 percent of the population, drew criticism for portraying them as too "quiet" and "shy"
and reluctant to question authority figures. His infamous "Kokopelli Conundrum" paper
implied that tribal culture was holding them back.
“Students who are quieter are taking information and processing it and thinking about information before they speak,” Megan Red Shirt-Shaw
, a counselor at the Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, told the AP. “That shouldn’t be an indicator that a student isn’t fully engaged in the process.”
Ironically, being too "quiet" was what drew unwanted attention to Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17. They were participating in a tour of Colorado State University on April 30 when the parent of another students called police on them.
The university has since apologized to the brothers, who live in New Mexico. Their family is working with the American Civil Liberties Union as they consider how to proceed, the AP reported.
Read More on the Story:
Teens’ experience shows campus reality for Natives
(The Santa Fe New Mexican May 13, 2018)
Join the Conversation
apologizes to Native brothers who were stopped by police
(May 7, 2018)