The “Tribal-State Partnerships: Cooperating to Improve Indian Education” Paper was prepared for NCAI’s Mid-Year Session in 2000. An excerpt:
Tribes are increasingly exercising their sovereignty over education, including over public schools that serve tribal children. The exercise of tribal sovereignty over schools and education can improve learning and teaching for tribal students. Cooperative agreements and intergovernmental collaboration are a valid means of exercising tribal sovereignty. They do not in and of themselves compromise tribal sovereignty.
“[P]ositive political relationships between tribes and state[s] … are important to students’ self-image and success in school.”Indian Nations at Risk at 20; see also Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and The Northwest Regional Assistance Center of the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory, Draft Report of Findings and Criteria for Design of Training and Technical Assistance, Models for Collaboration: Relationships Between Tribes and School Districts in the Northwest at 9 (Apr. 28, 2000) (“where there was a hostile relationship … educational services for Indian students suffer ….”). For Indian education to continue to improve, more – and more effective – Tribal-State Partnerships are needed. Finally, those Partnerships that already exist are unfortunately not always readily available to others by normal research means, and thus we commend the National Congress of American Indians for this opportunity to share this information.