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American Indian women have a very difficult time succeeding in U.S. society, and when they do, receive almost no recognition from the American people, Owana Anderson, the second annual recipient of the School of Education's Anna Roe Award, said yesterday.
Accepting the award,--presented annually to an educator who has "contributed significantly to women's professional advancement--Anderson, who said she preferred the term "American Indian" to "Native American," noted that except perhaps for Pocahontas or Sacajawea, most Americans would be unable to name any great Indian women.
"The American population in general hasn't the foggiest idea of how to deal with us in the present," she said.
Anderson told an audience of 60 at Longfellow Hall that "to serve our people veritably, we must achieve in the dominant white man's society," but that attempting simultaneously to maintain tribal traditions results in "a kind of controlled schizophrenia."
"It is the lot of Indian women to function in a dichotomous position," she said, later citing the Iroquios proverb, "One does not long remain with feet in two canoes."
Anderson criticized federally run Indian education programs as being "based on acclimation into American civilization." There has been great progress in the last ten years in tribes developing their own curriculums. Yet Indian drop-out and illiteracy rates remain the highest of any ethnic group, she said.
A founder of the OHOYO--which means woman in Choctaw--Resource Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, which provides information and career counseling for professional Indian women, Anderson served on several federal committees during the Carter administration including the president's Advisory Committee for Women.
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