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To understand the recent growth of American Indian controlled higher education, which began in earnest with the founding of Navajo Community College in 1968, it is necessary to comprehend the context in which American Indian higher education developed. Accordingly, the history of traditional Indian education in the pre and post colonial era and the U.S. government's influence upon Indian education will be examined. Ultimately, the twenty-four tribally controlled colleges, the two federally controlled colleges and the four independent colleges primarily serving American Indians will be analyzed. The continued development of these colleges is critical to the future of Indian education.


Originally published in:

Bohan, C. H. (1996). Islands of hope: A history of Native American higher education. Curriculum History, 5–14. Retrieved from

(c) Society for the Study of Curriculum History. Posted with permission.