Hiding in the Ivy: American Indian students and visibility in elite educational settings

Bryan Mc Kinley Jones Brayboy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In this article, Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy explores how the experiences of Tom, Debbie, and Heather, three Native American students attending Ivy League universities in the 1990s, reflect larger societal beliefs and statements about the perceived place of Native Americans in higher education and U.S. society. Brayboy posits that Native Americans are visible in these institutions in ways that contribute to their marginalization, surveillance, and oppression. In response, the three Native American students exercise strategies that make them invisible to the largely White communities in which they attend school. These strategies help to preserve the students' sense of cultural integrity, but further serve to marginalize them on campus. At times, the students in the study make themselves visible to emphasize that they are a voice in the campus community. Brayboy argues that these strategies, while possibly confusing to the layperson, make sense if viewed from the perspective of the students preserving their cultural integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-152+232
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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