An Indigenous Reframing of Art Education Historical Research: Acknowledging Native American Spiritual Values

  • Laurie Eldridge Independent Scholar


Including historical art education curricula for Native American students in art education history has potential for assisting decolonizing efforts and expanding art education historiography with new insights. The 1934 art education curriculum framework titled “Art for the Schools of the Southwest: An Outline for the Public and Indian Schools,” written by Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, is an example of what the author calls salvage education, the underlying concept of which was to rescue Native American cultures. This is compared to efforts of early art educators Reel and Dunn to ‘save and improve’ Indian art through instruction to Native American students. These ideas are intertwined with the history of suppression of Native American religions. Colton’s curriculum has not been previously examined in the field of art education history. This article continues to decolonize art education historiography through Indigenous reframing, particularly in reference to Native American spirituality.