Inside the Eagle's Head
An American Indian College
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Series: Contemporary American Indians
List of Illustrations
The setting for this book is the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), a self- described National Indian Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. SIPI (pronounced “Sippy”) serves registered members of federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native...
This book is the result of the tremendous generosity of students at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute who participated in interviews and surveys, and shared their opinions and experiences. While I cannot mention them by name, I am incredibly grateful for their interest in the project and...
1. Entering the Turquoise Gates: The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
In 1971, Native American leaders were, after years of effort, able to persuade the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to fund and build a vocational- technical school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Native American students. The new school, the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, or SIPI (pronounced...
2. Thinking and Talking About SIPI: Narratives and Metaphors
It is rare to read the words of Native American college students talking about their experiences—notable exceptions are Garrod and Larimore 1997 and Huffman 2008. Tribal college students are represented even less than their peers attending mainstream institutions. Native American students are...
3. “A Standing Army of School Teachers”: American Indian Education, Assimilation, and the BIA
The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is a direct descendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many of the organizational and cultural qualities that make the institution unusual in comparison to tribally controlled colleges and mainstream...
4. Taking a New Path: The Decision to Attend SIPI
The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute—owing to its small size and the specialization of its mission—is not widely known outside the Native American community, even among longtime residents of Albuquerque. When it is known of, SIPI is seen as the less storied, less mythic younger sibling...
5. Life Within the Eagle’s Head
As with all institutions, the story of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is told not only through the big picture and the significant events, but also through myriad mundane details, the minutiae of life on campus. The organizational structure informs that culture, but it is students—through...
6. SIPI Is a Reservation: Family, Friends, and Mentors
There are multiple positive metaphors students use when describing SIPI, many of which center around the personal relationships they have built. Students say “SIPI is a haven” because it provides a microcosm of Indian Country, free of externally imposed racism, and surrounded by the larger...
7. SIPI Is What You Make It: Academics, Administration, and Working Around the System
The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is, at its most fundamental level, a community college. It shares certain qualities with other community colleges, such as the need to remediate students, small class size, and individualized attention for students from faculty and staff. Students in surveys...
8. SIPI Is an Opportunity: Giving Students the Chance to Dream
What should we make of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute? As an institution, it has tremendous potential. Surely, even with its current flawed system, SIPI is an educational asset to the Native American community. Any institution that promotes and provides low- cost and easily accessible...
Appendix. Studying the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute underwent multiple changes during my time there, and the school continues to do so. The descriptions of the campus, the school’s organizational structure, and the policies outlined in this book refer to what was in place for the majority of my time at the college...
Page Count: 241
Illustrations: 4 Illustrations
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Contemporary American Indians
Series Editor Byline: Heidi M. Altman See more Books in this Series
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