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cultural backgrounds of American Indian

The differences described confuse both schools and students. Schools that fail to acknowledge the cultural backgrounds of their American Indian and Alaska Native students create barriers to their success, sometimes unknowingly. School communities—staff, parents, students, and the community—need to be more aware of how they are and are not meeting the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students in their school. That is the purpose for the school inventory tool provided in this booklet. With knowledge about how a school is doing in various areas that influence student learning, a school community can move forward to create a more inclusive environment for American Indian and Alaska Native students and so create more opportunities for all the students to succeed. I would like to dedicate this guide to the memory of Joseph Coburn, former director of the NWREL Research and Development Program for Indian Education, who spent his life improving educational opportunities for Native American people. Many people sought him out to learn “Coburn’s 10 easy steps to effective Indian education.” Joe would begin with his wry Klamath wit, “Step one, learn the 100 hard steps!” We urge you to follow in Joe’s path.