Extra! Extra! Japanese Government Funds Distance Education on the Rez

1 Nov

No, it hasn’t happened yet. But who knows, stranger things have happened.

By “the rez” I mean, of course, the reservation. In this case I have no particular reservation in mind but rather am thinking of all 300+ of them as a collective entity that encompasses 2.3% of the landmass of the United States. While most of them are rather small, a few are quite large, with nine larger than the state of Delaware while the lands of the Navajo Nation are roughly the size of West Virginia.

What’s interesting about these Indian reservations is that the tribes possess tribal sovereignty, which means that in some respects these reservations are foreign nations. That’s why a few tribes have been able to get rich from gambling casinos on the rez. Federal and state laws don’t apply on the reservation, and if the reservation happens to be in the middle of are populated by people with money they’d like to gamble away, when then come on down!

But I’m not interested in gambling. I’m interested in poverty. Many reservations are, in effect, third world countries within the territorial United States. Over a quarter of Native Americans live in poverty as compared to 15% nationally. Poor people generally get lousy education and that, in turn, makes it difficult for them to work their way out of poverty.

And that’s where the Japanese come in. As I indicated in my post on Takeshi Utsumi, the Japanese government funds distance education in third world nations. Why not fund distance education in these third world nations that just happen to live within the territorial boundaries of the United States of America?

Think of how THAT would play in the news. Seventy years ago the United States defeated Japan in World War II and occupied the country for several years. Now the Japanese are extending foreign aid to these poverty-stricken nations within the larger nation, the nation that is the richest in the world, but still has 15% of its citizens living in poverty.

We’re living in a world where the largest corporations are larger than many small nations. And those corporations conduct business in many different nations and operate in such a way that puts them effectively beyond the sovereignty of those nations ¬– for example, take a stroll through the New York Times archives for stories about Apple Computer and Foxconn, the Chinese company that does much of their manufacturing. Think about that for a moment. That’s absolutely routine. That’s how business is done in this, the 21st Century.

So, why can’t a wealthy nation, such as Japan, contribute foreign aid to sovereign tribes in America?

What would the Bureau of Indian Education say about this? Would the Japanese be interested?

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For more information on American Indian education, see the website, American Indian / Indigenous Education, maintained by John Rehyner of Northern Arizona University.

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