In this article, Donna Deyhle presents the results of a decade-long ethnographic study of the lives, both in and out of school, of Navajo youth in a border reservation community. She describes the racial and cultural struggle between Navajos and Anglos and the manifestation of that struggle in schools and the workplace. While utilizing these theories' central insights, but then moves beyond them. While differences in culture play a role in the divisions between Anglos and Navajos, Deyhle asserts that these differences intertwine with power relations in the larger community, and that Navajo school success and failure are best understood as part of this process of racial conflict. Navajos, subjected to discrimination in the workplace and a vocationally centered assimilationist curriculum in schools, are more academically successful when they are more secure in their traditional culture. This study demonstrates that those students who embrace this life-affirming vision both gain a solid place in their society and are more successful in the Anglo world of the school.

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