Gifted Native American Students – Overlooked and Underserved: A Long-Overdue Call for Research and Action
The researchers in this article conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on gifted Native Americans. Using focus groups from three American Indian tribes, assumptions about Native American students were reviewed and addressed with regard to identifying and serving gifted Native American Students. Data from three sites revealed differences and nuances among these three different population groups. The process resulted in more accurate and current assumptions for these three groups of students, as well as a replicable procedure for use with other Native populations. An initial research agenda was generated in collaboration with participants.
The content of this paper is reasonably balanced, accurate, and free of bias. The content is especially interesting to those involved in Native American education, as the research findings dissipate common stereotypes of young American Indian students, in particular commonly held beliefs that AI youth are familiar with their native language, as compared with English, and that they tend to feel strongly connected to AI traditions. Indeed, many AI youth, according to this study, are just as materialistic as non-AI youth tend to be, and they are increasingly detached from their own AI culture. One interesting portion begins as follows: “Finally, we would like to refer to a comment made by one Ojibwe teacher when asked to participate. ‘I will not fill this out. If you need research about Natives, come and live with us for a year and visit with the families around here. It’s not even accurate because there are different degrees of being traditional.” The methods used are appropriate. Communications quality is average, although the length and language make it easy to read. Utility should be quite high, especially for those working in the AI education field. The paper does not offer evidence of its effectiveness as a resource, but the high quality of this paper suggests a potential positive effect on learning.