Next 60 Years
What does the next 60 years hold?
This is an interesting question. Honestly, I have no idea. I have some thoughts on issues of importance, however. Indigenous education scholars will likely be interested in a few things in the coming years. There will likely be a retrospective review of the impact of COVID closing down in-person classes for young people. There will be an exploration of infrastructural issues that include broadband and other technological (and related access to broadband and hardware) concerns, but also an exploration of the physical structures of school buildings. In a 2015 Inspector General Report on Indigenous schools and schooling, the role of the physical space limiting positive and productive academic achievement for American Indian children raised concerns for many of us. One area of exploration in the near term will be driven by the following question: How has learning from home changed or amplified the concern of less robust internet infrastructures?
There will be a real interest in transdisciplinary and trans-field research focused on the well-being of school children and communities. The intersections between the impact of the pandemics of global climate change, healthcare, and racism will still be of interest, but in ways where there is an overlap and intersectional views of the challenges rooted in the imbrication of these pandemics. The confluence of these pandemics will be well-documented and there will be serious engagement with finding ways to further document and address how they move together. This will be especially acute in places like Arizona where the long-term impacts of COVID (and other pandemics that have followed), immigration tensions (not just from Mexico, but also from Central America, where the number of climate refugees will have dramatically increased), and rising daily temperatures intersect in the daily lives and policies of the state. I suspect this could be true for any state that shares a border or nearby border with either Canada or Mexico.
And, there will be exciting new research on the impact of tribes taking over their schools. To date, most schools serving Native children on reservations are run and operated by the federal government and the Bureau of Indian Education. Tribal nations and communities are beginning to build capacity to assume daily operations and staffing of the schools. There will be a decade of data and experiences to explore in the area that will be worth exploring. Researchers might be asking: Are students in tribal communities thriving under Indigenous leadership and teaching than they were under the Bureau of Indian Education?; What lessons can be taken from reservation schools and introduced into non-reservation schools?; Are there local, state, national, and global trends that should be engaged?; Are there important trends and lessons from these reservation schools that will help the schooling of all children, not just Indigenous ones?
Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, Ph.D.
CIE director (2009-present)