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Inside the Eagle's Head, Inside the Eagle's Head, 0817356142, 0-8173-5614-2, 978-0-8173-5614-9, 9780817356149, , , Inside the Eagle's Head, 0817383530, 0-8173-8353-0, 978-0-8173-8353-4, 9780817383534,

Inside the Eagle's Head
An American Indian College

Quality Paper
2010. 256 pp.
4 Illustrations
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2010. 256 pp.
4 Illustrations
Price:  $29.95 d

The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) is a selfdescribed National American Indian Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. SIPI is operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency of the U.S. government that has overseen and managed the relationship between the government and American Indian tribes for almost two hundred years. Students at SIPI are registered members of federally recognized American Indian tribes from throughout the contiguous United States and Alaska.


A fascinatingly hybridized institution, SIPI attempts to meld two conflicting institutional models—a tribally controlled college or university and a Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Indian school—with their unique corporate cultures, rules, and philosophies. Students attempt to cope with the institution and successfully make their way through it by using (consciously or not) an array of metaphorical representations of the school. Students who used discourses of discipline and control compared SIPI to a BIA boarding school, a high school, or a prison, and focused on the school’s restrictive policies drawn from the BIA model. Those who used discourses of family and haven emphasized the emotional connection built between students and other members of the SIPI community following the TCU model. Speakers who used discourses of agency and selfreliance asserted that students can define their own experiences at SIPI. Through a series of interviews, this volume examines the ways in which students attempt to accommodate this variety of conflicts and presents an innovative and enlightening look into the contemporary state of American Indian educational institutions.

Angelle A. Khachadoorian is an independent researcher currently residing in California. She taught at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute for almost ten years and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy.

“A solid piece of ethnographic research based upon extended participant-observation, survey questionnaires, key-informant interviews, and focus groups. Beyond its value for American Indian studies, the work makes important contributions to educational anthropology generally.”

—J. Anthony Paredes, coeditor of Anthropologists and Indians in the New South

“This is a well-conceived, captivating account of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, a small and struggling federally funded Indian community college in Albuquerque, New Mexico, founded in 1971 to serve students from federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages. Drawing on nearly ten years there as an anthropology faculty member and on extensive and vivid student testimonies, Khachadoorian presents a coherent analysis of unresolved structural contradictions within the institution's administration and the disquieting consequences of these contradictions for student learning and morale. The author's experience as a visiting professor at the US Air Force Academy gives a unique perspective on the parallels between these two different but, in important ways, similar federal institutions. A critical contribution to the literature on Native American higher education.”--CHOICE

Also of Interest

Paleoindian and Early Archaic Southeast
Edited by David G. Anderson and Kenneth E. Sassaman

Southeastern Indians Life Portraits
Emma Lila Fundaburk

History of the American Indians
James Adair; edited, introduced, and annotated by Kathryn E. Holland Braund

Creek Indian History
by George Stiggins
Edited by Virginia Pounds Brown, Virginia Pounds