Document Type

Graduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 1972

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



Committee Chair

Dohn Alvin Miller

Second Committee Member

Ted Lincoln Cooper

Third Committee Member

Sam P. Rust, Jr.


St. Mary's Mission is situated five miles outside Omak, Washington, on the Colville Indian Reservation. It operates boarding and school facilities for one hundred and seventy Indian children in grades one through eight. Although the school has been in operation for ninety years, and is the only elementary boarding school for Indian children in the state, it has never developed or been provided with a written curriculum.

Without a curriculum guide, recording of the year to year progress of the children in the school program has been limited to the cryptic evaluation of the Spokane Diocesan report card form and the verbal communication among administrators, teachers, and staff. This, and the fifty percent annual turn over of volunteer teachers, has resulted in inadvertently produced gaps and unnecessary overlaps in the students' educational process. While the overall lack of a developmental sequence is regrettable, it is particularly damaging in the seventh and eighth grade language arts program. Here the students attempt to develop the composition and reading skills that are required for adequate progress in high school and basic functioning in society. At this same time, most of these seventh and eighth grade students become more acutely aware of their identity as Indians on a small reservation located in the midst of a complex white society apparently geared to the erosion of their traditional culture. At this point in their lives probably the least relevant and most damaging to their education would be a language arts curriculum designed for white middle class students.


Note: The terminology present in this thesis is a product of its time and may be seen as racist or culturally insensitive by today's standards.