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Equal Educational Opportunities for Native American Youth

by Mae Ackerman-Brimberg

This article is the second in a two-part series.

“We knew without a doubt we were the first of many voices of Indian Country. So if you hear this song, listen and learn it to sing along. We are all one family. Let’s not make this just a dream.”

– Lakota youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, after visiting the White House in November 2014.

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This two-part series is a guide for advocates and communities working to improve educational opportunities for Native American students.  Part one of the series focused on the challenges that Native American students face in accessing equal educational opportunities, and outlined potential reform goals.  This part will provide an overview of advocacy strategies, and give examples of communities in which these strategies have been used to achieve reform.

Strategies for Advocacy

Just as each tribe and community will have different reform goals, no single advocacy strategy will address every problem, nor will any one strategy be appropriate for every community.  Once advocates select their advocacy goals, they should continue to consult with students, families, and other community members about potential strategies. Advocates should also look at how various advocacy strategies have worked in other communities, and use those results to help guide their choice of strategies.

Local advocacy and community organizing

Because local school boards set much of educational policy, direct advocacy by local community groups to those boards is often a logical first approach.  It may also make sense to begin with direct advocacy with individual school staff.  In some cases, there may be resistance to changes that help Native American students because of a lack of representation of the Native American community within local educational agencies (LEAs) or because of historical conflict between LEAs and local tribes.  In other cases, LEAs may be willing to adopt policies and procedures to improve Native education, but may not know how or may not have the connections to tribal communities they need to effectively do so.  In either case, local advocacy may include electing tribal community members to positions of power in LEAs or finding creative consultative positions for community members.  It may also involve educating LEAs about Native students’ particular needs and strengths, local traditions and culture, and historical trauma, as well as creating avenues for communication and collaboration between LEAs and tribal communities.  Advocacy at the local level can be particularly effective because changes can be made quickly and be tailored closely to local needs.

For example, in Hoopa, California, community members with students in the Klamath Trinity Joint Unified School District successfully advocated for changes to the school schedule to accommodate students’ participation in Hoopa and Yurok tribal activities.  Prior to the changes, many students in the district suffered academically because they missed the first two weeks of school due to their participation in high tribal ceremonies that coincided with the start of the school year.  A committee comprised of tribal and district leaders successfully advocated for the school year to start two weeks later, allowing Native students to participate in important cultural activities without missing critical instruction time.  Some districts also allow students to earn academic credits through independent study for participation in outside cultural and community events.1

When histories of conflict between tribal communities and LEAs exist, strategies such as formal mediation may better facilitate communication and community involvement.  One organization, Indian Dispute Resolution Services (IDRS), specializes in helping school districts and other government agencies communicate, negotiate, and ultimately agree upon educational reforms with Native community groups and governing bodies.  IDRS’s Tribal School Collaboration Project has successfully completed trainings and mediations between districts and Indian tribes in at least four LEAs within California, including in Hoopa, Alpine County, and Owens Valley, and has conducted trainings and mediations in hundreds of other districts.2

State level advocacy

Advocacy to state departments of education or legislatures can also be useful, and holds the promise of reaching more students.  Advocacy at this level has resulted in more culturally competent curriculum that includes Native American history, language, and culture.  A number of states, including Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico have incorporated some level of Native American studies into their statewide content standards.3  Montana and Wisconsin have both passed legislation requiring all students to learn about the histories and contributions of Native Americans.

Alternatively, advocates can seek changes through state education departments, which often control federal and state funding and dictate content standards, assessments of teachers and students, and staff certifications.4 Advocacy at the state level can be key to making sure funding is available for programs established to support Native students.

Over the last four decades in Montana, student and community advocacy to the state legislature was the driving force behind changes to education policy and curriculum, including incorporation of more culturally-responsive practices and a widespread recognition of the importance of Native American contributions in the state. In the early 1970s, as Montana prepared to revise its state Constitution, Native students petitioned the constitutional committee for recognition of Native people in the state Constitution.  The result was a constitutional provision recognizing the significance of Native Americans to the state’s history and committing to preserve Native culture through education.  Subsequently, the legislature passed a statute, Indian Education for All, encouraging all Montanans to be taught about the heritage of Native Americans in a culturally-responsive way, requiring LEAs to collaborate with tribes, and directing all school personnel to have an understanding of and appreciation for Native tribes.5 The state’s Office of Public Instruction oversees and provides resources to LEAs implementing Indian Education for All.

Federal policy advocacy

Recently, President Obama voiced his commitment to addressing the “state of emergency” in Native American education.  In doing so, he follows in the footsteps of only a handful of presidents before him.  On December 3, 2014, at the sixth annual Tribal Nations Conference at the White House, he announced his plans to focus federal attention and funding on improving awareness of issues faced by Native American youth, and to increase supports to Native students, their schools, and communities.  President Obama’s plans include publishing a new report on the challenges Native students face; cultivating a new generation of youth leaders through a project called Generation Indigenous; and investing more robustly in youth and community development.  It remains to be seen how these plans will be implemented, but this increased federal attention provides an opportunity for advocates to seek broader changes to improve educational opportunities for Native youth.6

Administrative complaints

Administrative bodies oversee the enforcement of many civil rights and education laws.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforce Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other laws.7   Similarly, state education departments oversee LEAs, and state human and civil rights commissions enforce state level laws and policies.  These agencies have the authority to investigate complaints of violations of these laws, issue findings, and order relief or enter into resolution agreements committing the entities to fix legal violations.  The Department of Justice also has authority to sue on behalf of the United States or intervene in private lawsuits for violations of federal laws.8

OCR has investigated a number of complaints on behalf of Native American students based on race-based disparate treatment, school discipline, and harassment.  For example, prior to filing the Antoine v. Winner School District lawsuit in 2006, community members from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe made at least two formal complaints to OCR about racial discrimination in the South Dakota school district.  The families complained that White students called Native American students derogatory names and school officials disparately disciplined Native American students, leading many Native students to leave the district to avoid harassment and discriminatory discipline.9  OCR investigated the complaints, and entered into resolution agreements with the district, requiring reforms to the discipline system, racial discrimination policies, and record keeping.10

OCR also investigated complaints of race-based harassment, including racially derogatory remarks and threats of physical violence, of Native American students at the University of North Dakota.  OCR and the university entered into a resolution agreement requiring updated harassment policies, complaint and investigation procedures, and training for staff about race-based harassment.11

Administrative advocacy efforts can also catalyze changes by drawing attention to legal violations, bringing about change with less cost and time than litigation.  As an example, two tribes recently filed OCR complaints alleging discrimination in two California school districts, including the use of racial slurs, disparate discipline, and inconsistent enforcement of school rules against Native American students.12 The tribes seek a range of remedies, including reforms to the discipline system to eliminate racially discriminatory treatment and create an inclusive school environment for Native American students.13  Although the investigations are still pending, the superintendent of the district in Loleta, California who was the subject of a number of the tribe’s complaints resigned from her position months after the complaint was filed.14

Litigation

Through litigation, Native students, parents, and tribes can seek to enforce laws that protect Native American students from discrimination and unequal treatment based on race, religion, or their status as members of Indian tribes.  These laws include the Equal Protection Clause and First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and state laws and constitutional protections prohibiting discrimination or entitling students to equal educational opportunities.15

Although litigation does not guarantee any particular remedies, advocates can ask courts to grant a wide range of remedies, from monetary damages for students under some state laws to broad injunctive relief through the court’s equitable powers.  The U.S. Department of Justice has suggested that schools with racially hostile environments or racially disparate discipline practices may be required to implement system-wide remedies, including changing policies, professional development, and school-wide programs.16   Litigation, or even the threat of litigation, can also lead to settlement agreements or consent decrees, in which the parties agree to implement reforms.17 These reforms can be wide-ranging, including provisions such as:

  • Creating culturally sensitive school curricula that incorporate local Native American history and culture;
  • Establishing Native parent advisory committees;
  • Implementing early interventions for academically struggling students;
  • Making efforts to recruit and hire diverse staff;
  • Revising disciplinary policies and practices; and
  • Amending dress codes to allow Native students to wear traditional hair styles, clothing, or regalia, such as eagle feathers at graduation ceremonies.18

Several cases are particularly useful models for advocates because of the broad scope of remedies obtained through settlement.  These cases are: Sinajini v. Board of Education, Antione v. Winner School District, Bishop Unified Elementary School District, and Gensaw v. Del Norte County Unified School District.19 The Winner and Del Norte cases originated primarily with claims about disparate discipline of Native students.  However, the settlements included broad-ranging remedies to transform school climate for Native American students in recognition of the connection between school discipline, insufficient educational supports, and unwelcoming school climates.  Both settlements were modified and extended in 2014, signifying both continued commitments from community members and the district to improvements, as well as the complex nature of these types of reform efforts.

Sinajini v. Board of Education (San Juan County, Utah):

In 1995, Meyers v. Board of Education, referred to by some as “the Brown v. Board of Education of Indian Country” was the first federal case of its kind to declare the equal educational opportunity of Native students as a result of their state citizenship.20 Following that case, and after two decades of prior litigation between the United States, the school district, the Navajo Nation, and individual plaintiffs, a settlement was reached in a related case, Sinajini.  The consent decree set forth a funding structure for the building of new school facilities on Navajo land, required the provision of appropriate bilingual education for students of the Navajo Nation, created a cultural awareness program, and established a Curriculum Committee to make revisions to the district curriculum, half of whose members were to be appointed by the plaintiffs.21

Antoine v. Winner School District (Winner, South Dakota):

The road to reform in Winner began first with two separate OCR complaints, in 2000 and 2005.  When the OCR resolutions failed to bring about the desired change, families, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) Racial Justice Program, the ACLU of the Dakotas, and the Attorney General of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe sued the district in 2006.  The litigation ultimately lead to a settlement and the adoption of two consent decrees.22  The consent decrees included specific actions that the district was required to take, and set forth a process for measuring outcomes and tracking progress in the future.  Among other provisions, the district is required to provide staff with regular training by recognized experts about disciplinary procedures, and culturally sensitive pedagogy and curriculum, and must provide additional training to school administration to build leadership committed to culturally-sensitive education.23  The Winner consent decrees also provided for extracurricular activities such as dance and drum classes, a Lakota club, and celebration of Lakota holidays and American Indian Heritage Month.24  The consent decrees also require early academic interventions to reduce the dropout rate for Native American students, such as individual intervention plans and teacher-to-student tutoring.25

The Winner reform effort also put parent and community engagement front-and-center.  One outcome measure focused on increasing parent participation in parent-teacher conferences.26  Parents also participated in determining the goals and objectives of the reform, program planning and,allocating annual spending and reviewing ongoing school practices.  Further, parents and community representatives were part of a Benchmark Committee established to flesh out the original benchmarks and goals of the consent decree in 2007, and later met to revise and extend the consent decree in 2014.27 The Superintendent’s Advisory Committee (“SAC”), made up of parents, community members, and district personnel, is now permanently incorporated into the administrative structure of the district.  The SAC meets regularly to review documentation related to discipline of Native American students, and to discuss implementation of the consent decree and other matters affecting Native students in Winner.  The consent decree also established regular meetings with the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Education Department during which the district presented data about Native students and the tribe could discuss concerns and strategies for implementing the decree.28  Finally, the consent decrees included the creation of a Native American Ombudsman/Advocate position whose job is to be present during questioning of Native American students in discipline investigations, to tell Native students their due process rights, to write reports about all disciplinary incidents involving Native students, to assist Native parents in understanding disciplinary incidents involving their children, and to conduct mediations and counseling to quell problems between students.29  The Winner consent decrees also required the district to review and revise its complaint process, in consultation with the Native American Advocate.30

Bishop Unified Elementary School District (Bishop, California)

In Bishop, California, the ACLU of Northern California and California Indian Legal Services became involved with the local school district after a school resource officer turned violent in response to a minor disciplinary incident with several Native American students, and the students were suspended from school in response.31 The advocates, on behalf of Native American community members, wrote a demand letter outlining students’ complaints of discriminatory discipline and harassment in district schools.  The advocacy and threat of litigation was sufficiently forceful that the parties entered into an agreement without engaging in full-scale litigation.  The agreement included measures to improve the district’s handling of disciplinary issues, increase staff diversity, provide instruction to students and staff on cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution, and improve record keeping.32

Gensaw v. Del Norte County Unified School District (Del Norte, California):

In Del Norte, litigation by the ACLU of Northern California and Covington & Burling, LLP, has resulted in the development of culturally-sensitive curriculum and non-discriminatory school discipline policies and practices.33  As a result of the Del Norte settlement, the school district has been working closely with the Yurok tribe to develop and implement curriculum for six grades that incorporates local culture, language, and history.  A community group charged with implementing and monitoring the reform efforts has been formalized as the American Indian Education Advisory Council (“AIEAC”), and will soon become an official committee of the District School Board.  A subcommittee of the AIEAC works with the Yurok tribe to draft new culturally-competent curriculum, meets quarterly to review data on Native American student achievement, and monitors compliance with the settlement.34  The collaboration has successfully developed curriculum for three grades, and the extended settlement agreement provides more detail and a framework for its continuing work.35  Teachers were also trained and coached through implementation of the new curriculum in Del Norte; through a partnership with the Yurok tribe and a local university, Humboldt State University, teachers received continuing education credit for this professional development.36

Additionally, the Del Norte settlement agreement sets forth clear guidelines for the issues to be covered in professional development, including:

  • District policies on discrimination and harassment;
  • The historical context of discrimination;
  • Concrete strategies for incorporating culturally sensitive education;
  • How to talk to students about diversity and discrimination;
  • Addressing peer-to-peer harassment;
  • School discipline; and
  • Data collection.37

The Del Norte settlement agreement also required revisions to the district policies to state—in a conspicuous and easily understandable language—that discrimination and harassment, including discriminatory discipline, based on race are prohibited.

Funding Reforms for Native American Students

A variety of funding sources are available to support improvement of education of Native American students.  The federal government provides funding to school districts through Title VII and Title VIII (Impact Aid) of the No Child Left Behind Act,38 and the Johnson O’Malley Act.39 In his recent address to the Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama committed to continue funding of programs to improve education for Native American students.40 Additionally, states may have other funding sources that can be leveraged to support Native American students.41 When schools receive funding because of their Native students, advocates and community members should keep a close eye on whether the money is actually used to support Native students.

These funding sources serve two important purposes. Most fundamentally, more funding means more programming and supports for Native students.  Second, many funding sources require community involvement in spending decision-making, data collection and reporting, or other substantive requirements.  Having these requirements tied to ongoing funding may give them more bite.

Keeping Tabs on the Reform Effort

The best reforms fall short if they are not implemented fully and with fidelity.  Data and monitoring are critical to making sure that the system is accountable, and that reform efforts actually improve education for Native American students.  In some places, tribal representatives may be the best monitors, because they have longevity and understand the context and nuances of the local community.  In others, a mutually-agreed upon independent monitor may better serve to overcome mutual distrust.  A combination of those two may also work: an outside monitor collects data and reports on the progress, and the district is required to regularly present its progress to the community.  This combined system ensures that the data is accurate and unbiased, while also improving lines of communication between the district and the community representatives.

For effective monitoring to occur, a school district must have a data collection system that tracks relevant measures, and does so completely and accurately.  Depending on the state of the data collection system, LEAs may require technical assistance to get the system into a sufficient condition to collect and report out on the required data. In addition, district employees must be trained on what types of records to keep, data to collect, and how to input information into the data system.  Ideally, data monitoring allows districts to internalize systematic data review that can trigger ongoing policies and practices review as stakeholders use data to identify intervention points, what is working, and areas for further improvement.

The more accurate data collected about a problem, the more stakeholders can understand the dimensions of the problem, and come up with effective ways to address it.  For example, if data demonstrated that a few teachers accounted for the majority of suspensions of Native American students, schools could require those teachers to undergo additional training on discipline procedures, cultural competence, or classroom management.  Alternatively, if the data showed that schools suspended Native American students more often for subjectively defined offenses, such as “willful defiance of authority” whereas schools suspended White students mostly for objectively defined offenses, such as carrying a knife, then interventions could be developed to cabin disciplinary subjectivity.

Advocates should also consider how long monitoring efforts should last, and remedies for noncompliance.  Often monitoring lasts between three and five years, with provisions for extension if the district has not met its obligations.  Alternatively, some agreements contemplate that the district will be released from an obligation after meeting it for a certain amount of time.  At that point, the hope is that the requirement is institutionalized. The monitoring plan should also include a structure for identifying problem areas, creating performance improvement plans, and holding districts accountable if they do not meet the reform goals.  In cases where reform results from litigation, advocates may request that the court maintain jurisdiction throughout the monitoring period.  Alternatively, the parties could agree to alternative dispute resolution, such as a binding or non-binding arbitration.   Parties could also agree to bring in outside consultants or experts to address problem areas.

Past reform efforts provide concrete examples of these various monitoring structures.  In Del Norte, the Task Force on Indian Education (later institutionalized as the American Indian Education Advisory Council), made up of the district, tribal representatives, and Native parents, creates an annual Native American Report Card, which includes graphs showing Native American students’ participation in extracurricular activities, graduation rates, GPAs, attendance and disciplinary action.  This tool allows stakeholders to track performance and needs of Native students, and assists in program planning and development.  The district also presents annual monitoring reports to the ACLU, the legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the case.42 In Winner, the parties selected an outside monitor to conduct on-site reviews twice a year, and to measure and report on the district’s progress.  A Benchmark Committee, made up of the monitor and stakeholders, including district and community members, developed benchmarks related to improving graduation rates, reducing discipline disparities, dropout rates, and truancy, increasing participation in extracurricular activities, and improvement of school climate.43  The Winner Amended Consent Decree ultimately included specific targets, such as reducing suspensions to fewer than 40 Native students per year, as well as action steps to achieve those targets, including annual anti-bullying training, conflict resolution, early academic interventions, cultural sensitivity training for staff, and individual counseling.44

There is a long road ahead for advocates and communities working to undo centuries of educational discrimination and segregation of Native youth and to provide them with the opportunities they deserve.  However, armed with a range of strategies, examples of recent successes around the country, and the wisdom of students themselves, families, and community members, there is a way forward.  Well planned reform efforts and monitoring structures, carried out with the input of community members, tribes, and students, can help to ensure that districts are held accountable to students and communities, and that Native students get the opportunities and supports they deserve.

Mae Ackerman-Brimberg was a Social Justice Fellow at the National Center for Youth Law until August 2014. At NCYL, Mae worked on Federal civil rights complaints involving the treatment of Native american students in the Loleta Union School District and the Eureka City Schools District. She is currently clerking for a federal judge.

1 Telephone Interview with Jim McQuillen, Education Director, Yurok Tribe (Aug. 4, 2014).
2 See Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc., http://www.idrsinc.org/conflict-resolution/ (last visited Dec. 7, 2014); Telephone Interview with Steven Haberfeld, Executive Director & Senior Mediator/Facilitator, IDRS, Inc. (July 22, 2014).
3 American Indian Education Contributions: How Are These Incorporated Into States Social Studies Standards? (North Central Comprehensive Center for the Minnesota Dep’t of Educ.), 2009, at 4;Alaska Standards for Culturally-Responsive Schools (Alaska Native Knowledge Network) Feb. 3, 1998, ankn.uaf.edu/Publications/CulturalStandards.pdf .
4 California, for example, funds American Indian Education Centers to identify students at risk of not meeting state standards, and to provide tutoring, professional development, counseling and other services for Native students. See, e.g., California Dep’t of Educ., Programs & Services,http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/ps/ (last visited Dec. 7, 2014).California’s Department of Education also has an American Indian Education Oversight Committee, which reports and makes recommendations to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction on American Indian education programs. Telephone Interview with Andre Cramblit, Northern California Indian Development Council (July 18, 2014).
5 Tammy Elser, The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All (Montana Office of Public Instruction) 2010,http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/IndianEd/Resources/Framework_ImplementationGuide_IEFA.pdf; Telephone Interview with Maylinn Smith, Associate Professor of Law/Director, Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, University of Montana School of Law (July 29, 2014).
6 Remarks by the President at the Tribal Nations Conference (Dec. 3, 2014),http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/03/remarks-president-tribal-nations-conference ; Sari Horwitz & Katie Zezima, How the Stories of Native American Youths Made President Obama Cry in the Oval Office, The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/03/how-a-trip-to-north-dakota-spurred-obama-to-act-on-native-american-issues/.
7 See Dep’t of Justice, Educational Opportunities Section, http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/edu/(last visited Dec. 7, 2014); U.S. Dep’t of Education, Regulations Enforced by the Office for Civil Rights, http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/index.html (last visited Dec. 7, 2014).
8 See Dep’t of Justice, supra note 7.
9 Letter from American Civil Liberties Union to U.S. Dep’t of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Winner School District 59-2, Office for Civil Rights Ref. No. 07985009, June 2, 2005,https://www.aclu.org/files/FilesPDFs/ocr%20complaint.pdf
10 Despite the resolution agreement in 2000, Native students in Winner continued to experience unfair discipline and other discrimination. Thus, the ACLU ultimately filed a lawsuit to put additional pressure on the district to reform. (see supra not 9)
11 Univ. of North Dakota, U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Office for Civil Rights Ref No. 07012025 (April 22, 2002), (on file with author); see also David Dodds, University Makes Changes After Civil Rights Check, The Arbiter, Sept. 19, 2002, https://arbiteronline.com/2002/09/19/university-makes-changes-after-civil-rights-check/ .
12 Letter from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, National Center for Youth Law, and California Indian Legal Services to U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Office for Civil Rights, San Francisco Office (Dec. 18, 2013),https://www.aclunc.org/sites/default/files/2013.12.18%20Loleta%20OCR%20Complaint.pdf; Telephone Interview with Delia Parr, Directing Attorney, California Indian Legal Services (July 7, 2014) (discussing OCR complaint filed in Burney, California alleging discrimination against Native American students).

OCR also investigated a complaint brought on behalf of Native American students against Seattle School District No. 1 alleging that the district reassigned Native American students to an alternative school based on their race. OCR closed the case because the evidence was insufficient to establish a violation. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, U.S Dep’t of Educ., Office for Civil Rights Ref. No. 10091258 (Feb. 16, 2010), www.civilrightsusa.gov/pdf/Seattle-School-District-No-1-Complaint-Resolution-021610.pdf .

OCR declined to investigate a complaint by the Michigan Department of Human Rights alleging that the use of American Indian mascots, names, and other imagery violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. See Letter from Catherine D. Criswell, Director, U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Office for Civil Rights Region XV, to Daniel M. Levy, Director of Law and Policy, Mich. Dep’t of Human Rights (May 29, 2013) (OCR Docket Ref. Nos. 15-13-1120 to 15-13- 1154),www.michigan.gov/documents/mdcr/USDofEd5-31_423125_7.pdf
13 Will Houston, Feds to Investigate Loleta School; Claim Alleges Discrimination, Student Abuse, Eureka Times Standard, Jan. 24, 2014, http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20140124/feds-to-investigate-loleta-school-claim-alleges-discrimination-student-abuse; Telephone Interview with Delia Parr, supra note 12.
14 Will Houston, Loleta School District Administrator to Resign Amid Discrimination Allegations, Eureka Times Standard, June 27, 2014, http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_26050865/

loleta-school-district-superintendent-resign-amid-discrimination-allegations .
15 See, e.g., California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal, Civ. Code § 51.
16 U.S. Dep’t of Educ., Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter (Oct. 26, 2010),
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.pdf .
For more information about the Department of Justice’s and Department of Education’s 2014 Guidance on racial disparities in school discipline, see Hannah Benton, Federal Guidance Seeks to End Discriminatory School Discipline, 33 Youth Law News 1, Jan. – March 2014,
http://www.youthlaw.org/publications/yln/2014/jan_mar_2014/
federal_guidance_seeks_to_end_discriminatory_school_discipline/
.
17 ACLU of Northern California, Stopping Abuse of Native-American Schoolchildren (Sept. 5, 2008),
https://www.aclunc.org/blog/stopping-abuse-native-american-schoolchildren ; Letter from ACLU of Northern California to Richard Anthony, Interim Superintendent of Bishop Unified Elementary School District (Oct. 3, 2006),
https://www.aclunc.org/docs/Racial_Justice/070918_Bishop_Settlement/
061003_ACLU_Ltr_to_BUESD_on_Verfied_Concerns.pdf
 ; Settlement Agreement with Bishop Unified Elementary School District (Sept. 11, 2007),
https://www.aclunc.org/sites/default/files/buesd_settlement_agreement.pdf .
18 Telephone Interview with Delia Parr, supra note 12; see, e.g., Tanya Lee, High Schooler First Not Allowed, Then Allowed, to Wear an Eagle Feather in Graduation Cap, Indian Country Today Media Network, Nov. 28, 2011,
indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/11/28/high-schooler-first-not-allowed-then-allowed-wear-eagle-feather-graduation-cap-63373 ; Lewis Griswold, Lemoore High’s Native American Grads Allowed to Wear Eagle Feathers, The Fresno Bee, June 5, 2014,www.fresnobee.com/2014/06/05/3963837_native-grads-get-to-don-feathers.html .
19 Sinajini v. Board of Educ., 964 F. Supp. 319 (D. Utah 1997).
20 905 F.Supp. 1544 (D.Utah 1995); Lawrence R. Baca, Meyers v. Board Education, the Brown v. Board of Indian Country, 2006 Ill. L. R. 1155 (2006),
http://www.illinoislawreview.org/wp-content/ilr-content/articles/2004/5/Baca.pdf
21 Sinajini v. Board of Educ., 964 F. Supp. 319 (D. Utah 1997).
22 The consent decrees were entered into in 2007 (“Winner Consent Decree”) and 2014 (“Winner Amended Consent Decree”). See American Civil Liberties Union, Antoine v. Winner School District,
https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/antoine-v-winner-school-district  (last visited Dec. 7, 2014); Telephone Interview with Courtney Bowie, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program (Aug. 1, 2014).
23 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 11-12; Winner Consent Decree at 8-9.
24 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 6-7, 10; Winner Consent Decree, at 9.
25 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 8-9.
26 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 7-8.
27 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 2-10; Winner Consent Decree, at 13-14.
28 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 12-13;
29 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 12; Winner Consent Decree at 6.
30 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 9.
31 ACLU of Northern California, Stopping Abuse of Native-American Schoolchildren (Sept. 5, 2008), https://www.aclunc.org/blog/stopping-abuse-native-american-schoolchildren.
32 Letter from ACLU of Northern California to Richard Anthony, Interim Superintendent of Bishop Unified Elementary School District (Oct. 3, 2006),
https://www.aclunc.org/docs/Racial_Justice/070918_Bishop_Settlement/
061003_ACLU_Ltr_to_BUESD_on_Verfied_Concerns.pdf
 ; Settlement Agreement with Bishop Unified Elementary School District (Sept. 11, 2007),https://www.aclunc.org/sites/default/files/buesd_settlement_agreement.pdf .
33 Litigation in Del Norte resulted in two settlement agreements, in 2009 (“Del Norte Agreement”) and 2014 (“Del Norte Addendum Agreement”). In addition to addressing discriminatory discipline and curriculum issues, the ACLU case in Del Norte sought to serve students impacted by a closure of a school that provided the only classes on Yurok language and culture in the district. ACLU of Northern California, ACLU Reaches Settlement on Behalf of Students Impacted by School Closure (June 10, 2010),
https://www.aclunc.org/news/aclu-reaches-settlement-behalf-native-american-students-impacted-school-closure  .
34 Telephone Interview with Jim McQuillen, supra note 1.
35 Id.; Del Norte Addendum Agreement, at 3.
36 Telephone Interview with Jim McQuillen, supra note 1.
37 Del Norte Agreement, at 2-3.
38 20 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 7702 et seq.
39 25 U.S.C. 452 et seq.
40 See supra note 6.
41 In California, for example, the Local Control Funding Formula provides extra money to school districts who serve students with particular needs, such as low income students, English Language Learners and students in foster care. Given high levels of poverty and use of foster care in many Native American communities, Native students may be covered by the LCFF, and may entitle school districts to additional funds.
42 Del Norte Agreement, at 7-8.
43 Winner Consent Decree, at 13-14.
44 Winner Amended Consent Decree, at 4.

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