Diné (Navajo) Youth Experiences in Education from 1928 to 1946

Author: Monique Yvette Davila

  • Diné (Navajo) Youth Experiences in Education from 1928 to 1946


    Diné (Navajo) Youth Experiences in Education from 1928 to 1946



In 1928, a group of researchers from the Brookings Institute released a report, The Problem of Indian Administration, popularly known as the Meriam Report, which heavily criticized the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), including the disturbing conditions of Native American boarding schools. This report led to significant changes in federal policies for Native Americans between 1928 to 1946. During the 1930s, newly appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier and other progressive U.S. officials believed they knew how to adjust the “Indian Problem.” Their new policies however, greatly troubled some Native American communities, including the Diné. This paper argues that despite the fact that the Meriam Report praised some of the educational efforts made on the Navajo Reservation, the new assimilationist policies continued to hinder Diné youth education. Building on a rich scholarly literature on the history of Native American education and using historical research methods, this study analyzes archival primary documents to uncover and interpret Diné youth experiences during this era of changing U.S. federal policies of Native American education from 1928 to 1946. The documents analyzed included correspondence between various individuals such as U.S officials and school coordinators, letters and report cards from Diné students, school curricula, legal documents, and images. These archival records reveal the voices of Diné youth and their experiences during this time frame.

How to Cite:

Davila, M. Y., (2020) “Diné (Navajo) Youth Experiences in Education from 1928 to 1946”, Footnotes: A Journal of History 4, 130-149.

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Published on
11 Jun 2020
Peer Reviewed