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As a Blackfeet woman, Angela Murray-Heavy-Runner understands her sixth grade students’ complicated family backgrounds: In the past, she’s taught Blackfeet children who were born addicted to amphetamines or lived with their grandparents because of family troubles. She knows cultural rules and taboos. Some of the male students in her sixth grade class, for example, wear long braids down their backs in deference to an ancient Blackfeet belief that hair-cutting is bad luck. Others might come to school on the occasional Monday with faint stains of red paint on their faces, left over from a weekend ceremony. Like many Native teachers, she’s aware some children and their families are distrustful of schools and teachers. In the past, many white teachers arrived only to leave within a year or two. Memories from the boarding-school era linger, too—echoes of a time when school was a place of cruelty, where their culture was systematically unraveled.