WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Congressman Dan Boren secured language in the Omnibus Appropriations bill that would reinstate Jones Academy, a Choctaw Nation school in Hartshorne, Oklahoma, to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIA) school system. This change will mean that Jones Academy is eligible for more federal funding. The bill passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 296 to 121.
In 1953, during a period of Tribal termination, many Native American schools, including Jones Academy, were removed from the Bureau of Indian Education school system. H.R. 2055 would allow the school to once again be a part of the BIE system, and receive the support this designation affords.
“Restoring Jones Academy to the BIA has been a priority of mine,” said Boren. “In the 1950s, our government instituted a program terminating tribes. It was repealed in 1970, but a consequence that still lingers today is the removal of Jones Academy from the Bureau of Indian Education. Allowing this school to again be a part of this program is an important step in keeping the promises we have made as a nation to our tribes”
“It is imperative to support Native American education,” continued Boren. “Tribal students have a dropout rate higher than any other racial or ethnic group in America. As a result, many of their languages and cultural traditions are beginning to disappear. Schools like Jones Academy, which teach tribal languages and craftsmanship, are working to reverse this trend.”
“Reinstating the Academic Program at Jones Academy will ensure that our students receive a complete academic education in a culturally rich setting,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory E. Pyle.
Established in 1891 by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the school is located on a 540 acre campus five miles northeast of Hartshorne, In the past, the school has enrolled students from 29 different tribes. Students come from parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota, and several other states. Each student is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.