A short response essay I wrote entitled “A Second Wave of Hopi Migration” was recently published in the History of Education Quarterly (Volume 54, No. 3, August 2014), the flagship journal of the History of Education Society.
The article is part of a special edition on Indian education histories that was edited by Adrea Lawrence, Donald R. Warren, and KuuNUx TeeRit Kroupa. In addition to the editors, various scholars contributed to this collection, including K. Tsianina Lomawaima, David Wallace Adams, Milton Gaither, Yesenia Lucia Cervera, and Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (click here for the Table of Contents).
In my essay I note that historians have primarily interpreted the American Indian boarding school experience through a frame of Indian education policies and discussions of assimilation and acculturation. But I argue that there is perhaps a more nuanced way of understanding the education history of Indigenous people.
By using my grandfather Lloyd (Quache) Gilbert as an example, who attended the Phoenix Indian School in the 1940s and early 1950s, I instead highlight the value and importance of utilizing Native ways of understanding to interpret Hopi and other American Indian education histories.
I also discuss and critique the U.S. government’s name changing policy, and explain how school officials required my grandfather (and his siblings) to change his surname from “Quache” (“friend” in the Hopi language) to the English surname “Gilbert.”
The complete essay can be downloaded by clicking the image below.
Earlier this summer the University of Illinois granted me promotion to associate professor with indefinite tenure in American Indian Studies & history. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about my path to tenure, and the road I took to get where I am now.
Thirty years ago I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, or a professional musician. I did not imagine that I would become a university professor or a “scholar.” But when I was a senior in high school, my perspective and desire changed.
I clearly remember sitting in the back of the classroom as he taught his students from the front.
I had never seen my father in this type of setting, and I was amazed at his ability to communicate to his students, present his topic with much enthusiasm, and provide his students with a safe place to learn, disagree with each other, and to think analytically.
But there was more. My father also exemplified for me how powerful a skilled Native American instructor could be, both as someone who could offer unique insights into course material, and as someone who could be a model for others.
When he lectured on the integration of western science and Navajo and Hopi cultures, he did so with authority and confidence. His teaching was grounded in who he was as an indigenous person. His students understood this, and they benefited from the unique and personal perspective he brought to his lecture.
Although the class period lasted for only an hour, my experience observing my father had a major influence on my life.
In this brief moment, my father demonstrated to me the characteristics of a successful teacher. And he showed me how to excel as an American Indian faculty in a classroom of Native and non-Native students.
My observation job shadowing my father in the College of Education at NAU set in motion my eventual career as an academic.
It launched me on a path toward college and graduate school, and a tenure track faculty position at the University of Illinois.
As an assistant professor, I worked hard to fulfill my obligations and responsibilities to the academy and my Hopi community. But I did not do it alone.
I had the support of my wife and children, my parents and other extended family members, colleagues and friends at Illinois and beyond, and many people back home.
Now on sabbatical, and on the other side of tenure, I find myself thinking a lot about the past seven years at Illinois.
But I also keep recalling the time when I job shadowed my father, and the significance this experience had, and continues to have, on my career and life.
*My father, Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, is professor of Bilingual and Multicultural Education at Northern Arizona University (NAU). He grew up on the Hopi and Navajo Indian reservations in Arizona, and he received his Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) at the University of New Mexico. He has published a number of articles and book chapters, and once served as President of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA).
Are you a Hopi alum? If so, please consider donating to this year’s Hopi Education Endowment Fund Alumni Challenge. This is a great opportunity to give back to HEEF and further opportunities for other Hopi students. As a non-gaming nation, we have to depend on other ways to raise funds for our students. The Alumni Challenge is one of those ways. As of today, HEEF has received $2, 218 of its $6,000 goal. There is still time to donate. Click here for more information. The Alumni Challenge ends this Friday November 18. Let’s do what we can to ensure educational opportunities for our people!
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
Hopi Education Endowment Fund Board Member
For those who live in the San Bernardino/Riverside area, Beyond the Mesas will air tonight at 9PM PST on KVCR, Digital Channel 24.2, First Nations Experience, a new Native American channel. See below for additional information.
Indian Boarding Schools: Keeping the Culture Alive: Beyond the Mesas #101
Wednesday, September 28, 09:00 pm PST on FNX (First Nations Experience) Digital 24.2
Broadcast In: English
Description: Produced with the full participation of The Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, Beyond The Mesas tells the stories of the federal government’s efforts to assimilate and acculturate Hopis, the visit by four Hopi chiefs to Washington, the subsequent Oraibi split, and the forced removal and experiences of Hopi children in off-reservation boarding schools such as the Sherman Institute and the Phoenix and Stewart Indian Schools. Faced with the enforced loss of their language in their children, vastly outnumbered by a technologically advanced military that had the power to annihilate them, enlightened Hopi leadership sought a peaceful middle ground that would preserve the best of Hopi culture and combine it with the best of the white man’s culture. Both federal policies and pressure to resist from within the Hopi community challenged this strategy.
Run Time: 0:26:45
Captions: 608 Captions
I am pleased to announce that Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010) is temporarily available for free download through Project MUSE.
It has always been my desire that people on and off the Hopi Reservation will have access to my research, and the University of Nebraska Press’s decision to allow my book to be featured on Project MUSE, is a major step in that direction.
However, free access to Education beyond the Mesas via Project MUSE will only last until January 2012. See the Project MUSE website for more details.
To download Education beyond the Mesas, please click on the above image or visit the following link: http://beta.muse.jhu.edu/books/9780803234444
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
On October 9-12, the Indiana University Graduate Program will host a fall recruitment event titled “Getting You Into IU.” The purpose of the event is to attract minority students who are underrepresented in IU’s Ph.D. programs.
This is a great opportunity for Hopi and other Native students who are thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. “Getting You Into IU” is especially geared for students who want to pursue the professoriate or a career in academic research.
Students must be nominated by an adviser, faculty member, or mentor to participate. Those who have been nominated and accepted to attend the event will receive full funding for travel, lodging, and food.
For additional information, click on the above image or visit the following website: http://graduate.indiana.edu/agep/campusvisit.php
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert