Article abstract: The result of a Senate Subcommittee investigation into Native American education, which led to the Indian Education Act of 1972.
In 1967, the United States Senate created the Special Subcommittee on Indian Education. Senator Robert F. Kennedy chaired the committee, which held hearings and authorized studies of educational programs for Native Americans. His brother Edward “Ted” Kennedy was the chair when the subcommittee released its final report in November, 1969. Entitled Indian Education: A National Tragedy, a National Challenge, but more commonly called the Kennedy Report, the study concluded that “national policies for educating American Indians are a failure of major proportions.” The report blamed efforts to force Indian children to accept cultural values other than their own as one of the major flaws in Indian education and as a leading cause of high dropout rates. The subcommittee offered sixty recommendations for improving Indian education, which included emphasizing Indian culture and history and increasing funding for existing programs. Although government officials responsible for Indian education rushed to defend their programs, the Kennedy Report raised serious questions in the minds of many Americans concerning the government's management of Indian affairs. The report's findings helped promote passage of the Indian Education Act of 1972, which implemented some of its recommendations.