Thesis: Career Developmental Needs of Native Americans

Pages: 11 (2882 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Native Americans  ·  Buy This Paper

Career Developmental Needs of Native Americans

The objective of this work is to examine the career developmental needs of Native Americans and primarily those residing in urban areas and reservations and specifically those in the Southwestern portion of the United States.

Historically, and as noted in the work of Delcruz (1978) social reality and historical relationships are much slower to change than "congressional wisdom," or in other words that which is legislated is often slow in application and implementation in changing the method that has been used throughout history in deal with relationships and the everyday real-life experiences of certain minorities and in this study specifically that of the Native American Indian.

Background of the Study

The work of Joseph B. Delzcruz entitled: "Educational Programs for Native Americans: Implications for Vocational Education Research and Development" states that legislation was enacted in the early 1960s by Congress and the Kennedy-Johnson Administration that was "...more responsive to Native Americans." (1978) Delcruz relates that these legislative changes ..."advanced to passage of the Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act of 1975 (P.L. 93-638) which states in part, that 'the Congress hereby recognizes the obligation of the Indian People for self-determination... [and' "the Indian people will never surrender their desire to control their relationships both among themselves and non-Indian governments, organizations, and persons." (Delcruz, 1978) Delcruz writes that the problem was that the treaties "contained provisions for vocational training, but the training was superimposed with assumptions by non-Indians as to the type of training and the process of instruction." (1978) Delcruz states that congressional legislation focused on reservation-based development. The Indian self-determination Act provides contracting authority for Indian Tribes to assume programs previously administrated by the BIA or Indian Health Service." (Delcruz, 1978)

According to the historical review written by Delcruz (1978) various training programs and specifically the BIA's Indian Action Teams which were started in 1972 and the Department of Labor's CETA programs have made the provision of employment on reservations to support tribal development. Delcruz states specifically that the U.S. Office of Education's setting aside of a mere 'one percent' for Indians "...is blatant indication that historical relationships change slower than congressional wisdom or social realities." (Delcruz, 1978)

IV. Methodology of Study

The methodology of this study is qualitative in nature and is conducted through an extensive review of literature available in this specific area of study and in the nature of a historical review of the literature and on through the most relevant and recent information available in this area of study. This review while much in the way of a review of the law is also ethnographic in nature as it will share the personal stories of the experience of being a Native American Indian in the legal climate of the United States both in principle and in application.

V. Literature Review

A. 1970s

At the time that Delcruz wrote his report in 1978 it was stated that vocational training had not be gearing society at that time toward:

"...utilization of our land of natural resources and has not equipped us to do anything to assume jobs that were related to development of the land and natural resources...If we control our natural resources, then we should develop those natural resources. We can only develop those natural resources if we have the technical skills and manpower to do so...Our people never had the opportunity to participate to any effective degree in the development of their human resources so that they can do these things with their natural resources. People do not realize that we control vast amounts of natural resources and the only reason that we aren't developing them and utilizing them to our benefit is because we don't have the human resources, the trained, experienced people that do it..." (Delcruz, 1978)

The foregoing words are reported by Delcruz to have been stated in June 1977 by Warren Means a Native American as well as former member of the National Advisory Council on Vocational Education.

B. 1980s

It is reported in the work entitled: "Transition and Native American Youth: A Follow-up Study of School Leavers on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation" (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995) that in the 1980s and specifically the year of 1988 that there was a dropout rate of 35.5% among American Indians compared to 28.8% for the U.S. population. In the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, 19% of the American Indians in the 8th grade indicated that they expected they would drop out of high school or that high school graduation would be the terminal point of their education." (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

Additionally it is stated that only a "very small percentage of American Indian parents expected their children to attend college (National Center for Education Statistics, 1988 in: Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995) it was reported that a study conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1980s made identification 6,816 school-aged students between 5-21 years as disabled and cited in the work of O'Connell, 1987 as Shafer and Rangasamy further report that the most prevalent handicapping conditions included learning disability, speech impairment, and mental retardation. The other less visible types of disabilities found in Native American youth are those associated with psychosocial problems." (1995)

At that time the suicide rate among Native American Indian youth was in some places "...3 to 10 times the rates for the general population..." And again O'Connell (1987) is cited. (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995) Adding to the already difficult situation for Native American Indian youth was the factor of substance and alcohol abuse which is stated to have been two to three times the rate of their peers. All of this results in Native American Indian youth being "...at greater risk for educational failure and, ultimately, economic disability." (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

During the 1990s it is reported that the U.S. Congress undertook:

"...a number of legislative initiatives designed specifically to enhance the employment opportunity for persons with disabilities. First, the 1986 re-authorization of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act (P.L. 99-506), provided specific mandates for the provision of supported employment and rehabilitation engineering services. Second, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (P.L. 101-336) in 1990 provides for specific safeguards and accommodations for persons with disabilities who are seeking entry to the world of work. Third, and perhaps most essential to this project, the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) of 1990 provides specific mandates for transition planning and rehabilitation counseling services for students with disabilities." (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

Share and Rangasamy (1995) state that these initiatives were combined with modifications in the Social Security Administration as well as other federal programs and that this "...signaled a comprehensive and coordinate effort on the part of the federal government to enhance the employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, these initiatives have not been fully implemented among Native American reservation communities." Therefore, the failures of the 1980s were also the failure of the 1990s insofar as any true assistance in this area to Native American Indian youth.

Stated as one of the primary reasons that the transition had not been made to a full degree on the part of Native American Indian communities is that "…the concept is itself based upon the values of an urban, Anglo culture.' (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995) Stated as two primary themes in such transition and as defined by Federal policy are those of:

(1) gainful, competitive employment; and (2) emancipation from the family home. (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

The problem is however stated to be due to the fact that "…these experiences, however, are not universally valued by Native Americans and, in particular, those Native Americans residing on reservations and maintaining traditional tribal customs. In these communities, the values of cooperation, interdependence and communal responsibility and action often conflict with the values of independence and competition that are often implied by transition services." (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

Adding to the problem was the factor of the reservation locations as most of them were quite isolated and lacked such as 'post-secondary services, and training opportunities" and an economic base located near the reservation was also in absence. These factors serve to "…significantly impede the opportunities for young adult Native Americans to become productive members of their tribal communities."(Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995) Also, the view that culture attaches to the factor of disability along with the responses of society to the disabled individual is one that has a significant variation from that of Anglo culture and is one that is stated to be of the nature that greatly "… impacts upon the opportunities for post-school adjustment." (Shafer and Rangasamy, 1995)

C. 2000s

The 'Pathways to Possibilities: Supporting the Transition of American Indian High School Youth' project is one that is described as a "...comprehensive and collaborative model developed to support the successful transition of American Indian high school youth. The college preparatory model is designed to increase competency and skills in challenging subject matter, including mathematics and science, in a culturally relevant… [END OF PREVIEW]

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