The 19th century saw the invasion of indigenous lands by European Americans, leading to the displacement of many tribes from the Southeast and Great Lakes areas to Indian territory. As part of the treaties signed for the cession of land, the United States was obligated to provide education to the tribes on its reservations. To fulfill this obligation, some religious orders and organizations established missions in Kansas and what would later become Oklahoma. Additionally, some tribes in the Southeast set up their own schools, such as the Choctaw for girls and boys.
In 1972, Congress passed the Indian Education Act, which allowed Native American tribes to teach their own languages. This was a result of pan-Indian activism, complaints from tribal nations about schools, and studies conducted in the late 1960s and mid-1970s (such as the 1969 Kennedy Report and the National Study on Native American Education). The passage of the Indigenous American Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act of 1975 further solidified this progress. East of the Appalachian Mountains, most Indians had been forced to abandon their traditional lands before the American War of Independence.
In 1859, the Coharias created a subscription school in Sampson County, North Carolina, where parents paid tuition to the teacher to educate their children. This school was followed by the Croatan Normal School, which trained more Indian instructors who were hired to teach in segregated indigenous schools. By the early 1970s, education in North Carolina was no longer segregated by race, and Native American schools closed. The law required that the education of Indians in the segregated system be equal to that of the white community, but in reality, local, county and state governments often did not sufficiently fund indigenous education.
The rise of Old Main as a symbol of indigenous education in North Carolina was recognized by many people outside of the Lumbee community. In 2000, Kevin Grover, Undersecretary for Indigenous Affairs, apologized to Native Americans for the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual violence committed against children in boarding schools outside reservations. Today, students can create timelines to illustrate the history of a tribal nation or a single Native American culture represented in Carlisle. Additionally, Ishi's story is becoming more well-known in indigenous regions and among California's public school students. It is important to remember that while the U.
S. government tried to erase Native American cultures in the 19th century and for most of the 20th century, an American Indian and Native American civil rights movement in the 1970s resulted in greater visibility and political power for those groups.