|Dr. Carole Barrett, professor of indigenous studies at the University of Mary, North Dakota, oversees and teaches an interdisciplinary minor that includes coursework in sociology, history, literature and theology. In addition, she works in a special program at the University which seeks to improve the success rate of students academically at risk due to social, cultural and economic factors. Dr. Barrett’s B.A. and M.A. are in English language and literature, and her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota is in teaching and learning with emphasis on higher education. Her dissertation, “Into the Light of Christian Civilization”: St. Elizabeth’s Boarding School for Indian Children (1886-1967), examines late nineteenth and twentieth century federal education policy in the U.S. which sought to assimilate tribal people into the American mainstream by establishing boarding schools. Her research, writing and speaking focus on the impact of U.S. federal policy on tribal groups, particularly as the people transitioned to reservation land bases and federal controls. Through publication, presentations and her teaching, she seeks to engender conversation and deeper understanding of America’s tribal people and the values of diversity in higher education.
Equality for all citizens is a central guarantee in the constitutions of the United States and India. However, in both countries, tribal people retain homelands and special laws protect their rights. Likewise, tribal people in both nations assert their rights to maintain tribal identity, languages and culture while also participating fully as citizens of their countries. The distinctive status of tribal groups leads to misunderstandings and divisions within our communities. As a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer, Dr. Barrett seeks to engender broad conversations about Indian and American ideals of equality, paradoxes of race and ethnicity and what it means to be pluralistic nations.