Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Bureau of Indian Education abruptly changes course on Navajo schooling


September 16, 2020

In this April 27 photo, a school bus travels through Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, on the Navajo Nation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON - Schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) on the Navajo Nation will be opening under a distance-learning plan next week, a surprising reversal of the agency's plans to hold classes in person.

The agency apparently changed course after a discussion between Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and BIE Director Tony Dearman. Neither the Navajo Nation nor the BIE have issued public statements about the new plan, and officials did not respond to emailed requests for confirmation or comment.

Tara Sweeney, assistant secretary of Indian affairs for the Interior Department, sent a letter last month to tribal leaders indicating the BIE-operated schools would open with in-person instruction.


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