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Reviewed by:
  • Serving Native American Students (New Directions for Student Services, #109)
  • John L. Garland
Serving Native American Students (New Directions for Student Services, #109) Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox, Shelly C. Lowe, and George S. Mcclellan (eds.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005, 120 pages, $28.00 (softcover)

All too often when Native American college students are included in higher education quantitative research studies, Native American categorical data are often marked with an asterisk denoting a lack thereof, and/or an unreliable Native American student sample size and subsequently never included in most study results and discussions. Indeed, as great strides have been made through research in understanding the college going experiences of many groups of college students, knowledge of Native American student experiences remain relatively undiscovered. This highly anticipated edition of the New Directions for Student Services series, Serving Native American Students, edited by Mary Jo Tippeconnic, Shelly C. Lowe, and George S. McClellan is a welcomed resource for anyone seeking to understand the Native American college student experience, thus informing and bringing relevance to the asterisk often connected to Native American college students in research studies (Benham, 2003; Boyer, 1997; Pavel, 1998; Tierney, 1992).

Serving Native American Students

is a comprehensive look at what is currently known about the college experience of Native Americans. It covers several themes including: what is known and not known about Native American college students and their experiences, the vast within group diversity among Native Americans, how tribal sovereignty influences the overall sociopolitical sensibilities of Native Americans, the usefulness of non-Native American theoretical frameworks, indigenous theoretical frameworks, retention and navigating campus policies and practices that may be hindering Native American student success, and finally areas for future research.

This text outlines the Native American student experience in ten chapters. In chapter 1, McClellan, Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche), and Lowe (Navajo) provide a Native American context of education since Euro-American colonization. Essentially the authors discuss the three chronological eras influencing Native American education, colonial, federal, and [End Page 612] tribal self-determination. Following tribal self-determination, the authors discuss the emergence of Tribal Colleges and Universities, Native American Studies departments and an increased awareness of Native Americans attending non-Native or predominately White institutions of higher education.

In chapter 2, Larimore (Comanche) and McClellan include a comprehensive overview of the retention literature on Native American college students. This chapter is divided into retention research topics such as overall retention, individual and institutional factors affecting retention, identity and persistence, effective programs and recommendations for practice and research.

Narrative voices of Native American college students come through in Lowe's (Navajo) chapter 3. The first person narrative presented here with an analysis of Garrod and Larimore's (1997) widely read work informs Lowe's (Navajo) recommendations for student affairs practitioners working to create a welcoming and positive environment for Native Americans.

Austin (Navajo) provides the reader with the integral voices of parents and tribal leaders. Chapter 4 includes sections on the legal status of tribes, how parental and tribal support are constructed for Native American students, partnerships between tribes and colleges and universities and understanding American Indian culture and language.

In chapter 5, Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche) attempts to provide answers to the following questions:

What impact do Native American faculties have on the experience of Native American students? How can having Native Americans as faculty and staff in positions within majority institutions assist non-Native student affairs professionals in serving Native American students? How do the experiences of Native American faculty and staff at majority institutions affect their ability to provide support for Native American students either directly or in partnership with non-Native allies?


Highlighting what is known in the literature and from the author's personal experiences as both faculty and administrator, Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche) provides several recommendations for non-Native student affairs practitioners and faculty allies to help foster a positive learning environment for Native American students.

Horse's (Kiowa) nice addition to his earlier work (Horse, 2001) on Native Americans and Identity is found in chapter 6. This chapter outlines the complexity of Native American identity construction. The author discusses the use of American Indian versus Native American nomenclature in...


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