Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Native Enrollment Statistics 1953 - 1977
by Thomas (Tom) R. Hopkins, Ed.D.
The pdf verion of this document is:
Starting in fiscal year 1953 the BIA published annually, “Statistics
Concerning Indian Education.”(U.S. Department of Interior) The BIA
ceased publication in 1977. My last job with the BIA was division chief for
Evaluation and Research. This office was abolished by a Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Interior in 1979, the year I left BIA. My division had the file
all the statistical publications from Fiscal Years 1953 – 1977 . Since
they were to be trashed I took them with me. The enrollment statistics reflect
a history of BIA Education Policy regarding Alaska Natives. The enrollment
report was developed during the summer at the end of the school year, i.e.
Year was for the school year 1952-53. The data have a general accuracy that
can be useful to researchers and/or community people. It is assumed that
will have complete sets of the Statistics.
Regarding myself, I worked at three
BIA Alaska Native schools: Barrow 1953-54; Shungnak 1954-56 and Mt. Edgecumbe
1958 – 63. I continued my involvement in Native education from 1964 – 79
as a member of the BIA’s Washington Office. At the Washington Office
level I was able to stay involved through initiating and supporting Bilingual
a needs assessment and school evaluations.
It is important that during the
years covered in the statistics BIA Education employees, including teachers,
civil servants and worked twelve months a year. The Statistics were developed
during the summer months when the BIA teachers conducted the, “Annual
School Census.” Later, when the Congress passed a law (95-561) removing
teachers from the Civil Service and making them nine or ten month contract
on the pattern of public schools, the Annual Census was lost.
pages to the Statistical reports contained excellent descriptions of
Education Program objectives. For example, The FY 1957 report includes an historical
sketch as well as an expression of the Education Program’s objective.
For more than three centuries Indian education in the United States
largely under the direction of missionaries. As early as 1568 the Jesuit
Fathers organized a school at Havana, Cuba, for Indian children from Florida.
was the first school attended by Indian children who lived within the
The primary objective of Federal schools is to prepare Indians for
successful living. In Federal schools children develop basic academic skills,
an understanding of the social and economic world, learn improved
standards of living,
follow practices which assure optimum health, acquire the necessary
vocational training to qualify for gainful employment, and obtain sufficient
to enter special schools and institutions of higher learning. (pp.
days of high stakes testing and accountability, the FY 1957 report
expresses reasonableness that has been lost.