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American Indians
young American Indian child

RELs work in partnership with states and districts to 1) conduct original high quality research, 2) provide training, coaching, and technical support, and 3) disseminate high quality research findings on the topic of American Indians. A selected list of resources developed by the REL Program appears below.



  • English Language Development Among American Indian English Learner Students in New Mexico (REL Southwest, forthcoming). This study was developed with members of the REL Southwest English Learners Research Partnership in New Mexico to better understand the progress toward English proficiency among American Indian English learner students, who comprise 17 percent of New Mexico's English Learner students. This study will provide longitudinal evidence on progress toward English proficiency and grade-level readiness in English language arts and mathematics in the early grades among a population of American Indian English learner students in New Mexico.
  • Alaska's American Indian and Alaska Native English Learner Students (REL Northwest, May 2021). About 25 percent of Alaska's American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students are classified as English learner students. This study will provide state and local leaders with information about patterns in AIAN English learner classification and reclassification, as well as how English learner identification affects students' later outcomes. The report's findings can help schools and districts more accurately identify AIAN students who qualify for English learner services and address inequities to informing policy decisions related to current English learner service provisions in Alaska.
  • American Indian Needs Assessment Survey (REL Central, September 2020). The American Indian Needs Assessment Survey will provide a technically sound and culturally appropriate needs assessment tool to help educators better understand the unique strengths and needs of schools serving American Indian students. State and local education agencies will be able to use this tool to identify and monitor the needs and successes of those schools.
  • Examining American Indian Perspectives in the Central Region on Parent Involvement in Children's Education (REL Central, August 2008). The purposes of this study were to examine how Central Region American Indian parents perceive parent involvement and to understand what encourages or discourages their involvement. Many aspects of American Indian parent involvement were largely consistent with the literature on parent involvement in the general population as well as in other minority cultures. This study found that parent involvement was additionally influenced by parent-school differences in values and communication styles, perceptions of cultural competency in the staff and curricula, and a history of American Indian education policy of coercive assimilation that continues to influence parents.
  • Understanding the Role of Noncognitive Skills and School Environments in Students' Transitions to High School (REL Southwest, December 2017). New Mexico has one of the nation's lowest high school graduation rates, with grade 9 marking a critical transition point. This study examined how New Mexico high school students' perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school climates related to the students' grade 9 outcomes. The results of this study revealed significant differences in students' perceptions of their noncognitive skills and school environment between white, Hispanic, and American Indian students.
  • The Characteristics and Education Outcomes of American Indian Students in Grades 6–12 in North Carolina (REL Southeast, November 2016). The purpose of this study was to compare American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina to all other students in the same grades both within the same schools and statewide on student demographics, school characteristics, and education outcomes. The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education requested this research based on a prior report identifying achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students.
  • Where American Indian Students Go to School: Enrollment in Seven Central Region States (REL Central, January 2016). This report provides descriptive information about the location and native language use of schools in the REL Central Region with high enrollment of American Indian students, whether Bureau of Indian Education schools or non-Bureau of Indian Education high-density American Indian schools (schools with 25 percent or more American Indian student enrollment).
  • Partnerships Between Tribal Education Departments and Local Education Agencies (REL Central, February 2012). This report examines nine partnerships between tribal education departments—organizations overseeing American Indian education—and local education agencies. Individual profiles describe how each partnership works, focusing on collaborative activities intended to improve education outcomes for American Indian students.


  • Walking in Both Worlds: Native American Students and Language Acquisition (REL Southwest). This mini-documentary highlights how New Mexico researchers and educators are supporting native language acquisition, development, and preservation as well as English language acquisition and development among Native American students.
  • Strategies for Improving the Accuracy of Native Student Identification (REL Northwest). Many Native students do not receive the educational services they qualify for—simply because they are not identified as Native. This video explains how the proper identification of Native students is critical for ensuring appropriate program funding, upholding treaty obligations, and tracking student achievement.
  • How Noncognitive Factors and School Environments Correspond to Students' Transitions to High School (REL Southwest). This video highlights how student perceptions of academic supports, high school transitions, and school environment correspond to high school success outcomes, particularly for American Indian and Hispanic students.
  • Culture, Identity, Achievement: The interTRIBAL Immersion Program (REL Northwest). The interTRIBAL immersion program at Paris Gibson Center, an alternative high school in Great Falls, Montana, provides a different path to graduation for American Indian students at risk of dropping out. The program is less than two years old, but it has already had a positive impact on participating students' sense of belonging and identity, as well as their academic achievement. In this video, learn how the program reaches students by focusing on relationships and celebrating elements of Native culture throughout the school day.
  • Where American Indian Students Go to School: Enrollment in Seven Central Region States (REL Central). This video briefly describes a report of the same name which presents descriptive information about schools in the REL Central region that have a high enrollment of American Indian students.

Archived Webinars

  • Preparing American Indian Students for College and Careers (REL Midwest, August 2017). In this webinar, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest hosted a webinar on culturally responsive strategies to promote college and career readiness for American Indian students. During the webinar, presenters discussed the importance of providing culturally responsive education, drawing on experience working in middle and high school settings. Presenters also shared different types of supports available to foster college and career readiness, specifically focusing on supports that are responsive to American Indian students' cultural contexts, communities, and lived experiences.
  • Culturally Responsive Resources for Native Students: Webinar Introduction (REL Southwest, May 11, 2016). This bridge event webinar, "Culturally Responsive Resources for Native Students," was co-sponsored by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest, the Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI), and the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). The webinar examined the high-quality online repositories of culturally responsive education resources housed on the CSAI and NIEA websites, as well as the processes used to review the resources' validity and quality.
  • Engaging Native Families and Communities: Need for Resources: Video 1 of 4 Title (REL Southwest)
    This webinar spotlights research-based resources to help engage American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander, and Indigenous families and communities in students' educations. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest and REL Pacific cohosted this November 2016 webinar, "Strengthening School Partnerships With Native Families and Communities," presented here in four recorded sessions.
  • Engaging Native Families and Communities: Review of the Research: Video 2 of 4 Title (REL Southwest)
  • Engaging Native Families and Communities: A Toolkit of Resources: Video 3 of 4 Title (REL Southwest)
  • Engaging Native Families and Communities: Questions and Discussion: Video 4 of 4 Title (REL Southwest)


For more resources in ERIC on the topic of American Indians, click here.