For Native Americans, Harvard and Other Colleges Fall Short

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When Samantha Maltais arrives at Harvard this autumn, she will be the first member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe to attend its law school. In some ways, she will be joining an ancestor.

More than 350 years ago, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man named Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University. He attended because of its 1650 charter calling for the education of “English and Indian youth of this country.”

Maltais says she understands “Harvard’s impact” because she has always lived nearby. And she is the daughter of her tribe’s leader.

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