Walking two worlds: Integrating Lumbee Indian values and practices in education

Sandy K Lucas
College of Education, University of Arizona
July, 2006


This study investigates how Lumbee values and practices are integrated in a formal schooling system. A qualitative study was conducted to determine how Lumbee school administrators experience their work, and how Lumbee values and practices are integrated in formal education, and what they thought these values and practices were. The main instruments used to collect data were in-depth interviews and a survey designed by the researcher. The data was collected in Pembroke, North Carolina at the School District's Indian Education Office during 2004 and 2005. The four participants in the study are all Lumbee education administrators, employed with a school district in southeastern North Carolina. Ironically, all four administrators received their undergraduate degrees from the tribe's university, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, UNCP. The research study focused on the Lumbee tribe, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi river, which has organized the largest Indian education program of any public school district in the United States, with approximately 11,500 Indian students. This is the researcher's personal synthesis of stories and 'shared metaphors' that Lumbee Indians hold in common with regard to Tribal education and Indigenous education. This research examines the creative possibilities inherent in the introduction of an Indigenous frame of reference toward the development of a contemporary philosophy of American Indian education. Also, this study explores a 'culturally-informed alternative' in education that advocates the development of a contemporary community-based education process, which is founded upon traditional Tribal values, orientations, and principles, but simultaneously utilizes the most appropriate concepts and technologies of modern education. This study offers a creative option for thinking about the evolving expressions of American Indian values and the education of Native American students as they attempt to walk in two worlds, their own and the Non Native.