Dissecting Internal Community Barriers and Subsequent Devaluation of Indigenous Graduates


  • Ethan Baptiste


There is a distressing trend in Indian Country today and this is related to the treatment of recently graduated Indigenous students. As students, there is usually an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and enjoyment after completing a degree in a foreign knowledge system existing within Western educational institutions. Countless Indigenous students move away from their reserves to attend university or college, in the hopes that after they finish their degrees, they can return home and contribute to the wellbeing of the community. Often that is not the case and, unfortunately, Indigenous graduates are not being employed by the reserves they previously committed to.

This is the current situation that I hope to unpack in this paper, which are the interlocking obstacles facing Indigenous students. I believe the first step to shaping our own horizons is the ability to filter, through an Indigenous lens, Eurocentric concepts and ideals. Only afterwards, will such ideals be truly applicable and beneficial to our communities. This conceptualization is not new and is well known by Indigenous scholars (Smith 1999; Deloria 1969). Indigenous graduates possess such a lens; unfortunately, they remain idle and devalued in both the Indigenous community and Western society abroad.

Author Biography

Ethan Baptiste