Indigenous Education and Self-Determination in a Global Context

The Case of New Zealand and the United States

Authored by: Susan C. Faircloth , Anne S. Hynds

Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804371
eBook ISBN: 9781315753041
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619864


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In this chapter, we discuss the importance of education and self-determination among the Indigenous peoples of New Zealand (Aotearoa) and the United States. Although these two countries are separated by thousands of miles of land and water, there are multiple historical, social and political parallels with regard to their histories and treatments of their Indigenous peoples. This shared history and treatment is rooted and grounded in these nations’ settler colonialist histories, which Wolfe (2006, cited in Hoxie, 2008) describes as being intent ‘on the elimination of native societies’ (p. 1160). In both cases, ‘the coloniser [came] to stay’ (ibid., p. 1160). With the arrival of these colonising forces, the Indigenous Māori peoples of New Zealand and the American Indian and Alaska Native tribes of the Americas have endured the intentional and forceful taking of their lands, as well as the loss of cultures, languages and important social, economic and cultural capitals (Bourdieu, 1986). As a result, the Indigenous peoples of both New Zealand and the United States find themselves in the minority within their own lands – with Māoris constituting approximately 15% of the population of New Zealand (Statistics New Zealand, 2013) and American Indians and Alaska Natives constituting less than 1% of the population of the United States (Norris, Vines & Hoeffel, 2012). In both countries, Indigenous peoples experience disproportionate levels of unemployment, reduced educational attainment, poor health conditions and other indicators of social and economic well-being that place them at risk.

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