American Indian Education in San Diego, 1930-1945: A Legacy of Pushing Forward While Being Left Behind

Following the failures of the boarding school era, federal reforms in the 1930s touted drastic changes for American Indian education. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, commonly called the Indian New Deal, stressed the immediate need for educational reform. These federal policy changes anticipated improving the educational opportunities for American Indians mainly through cultural affirmation, state supported action, and tribal autonomy. This thesis analyzes the implementation of Indian New Deal policies in San Diego County. It argues that the post-boarding school policies designed to change the realities of American Indian youth and families fell drastically short of their goals. Using archival documents from the Mission Indian Agency, this thesis illustrates the barriers that impeded the progression of Indian New Deal reforms in San Diego County during the 1930s and 1940s. This thesis also includes a digital component in the form of a film titled, American Indian Education in San Diego, 1930-1945.