Special Project: Separate and Unequal

This four-part series was published on consecutive Sundays in 2014, was reported and written by editorial writer Jill Burcum, with input from the Star Tribune Editorial Board. News photographer David Joles, who traveled with Burcum to northern Minnesota and South Dakota, shot the photos.

PART 2: 'We're going to school in a tin can'

Randall Kingbird, a junior at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, sits in the office of counselor Jay Malchow. The school was once a pole shed used for maintaining vehicles, and some refer to it now as a “tin can.”

Students benefit culturally from their education at Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig but deserve better surroundings. The state and private funding sources can help.

PART 3: Pine Ridge schools: Amid beauty, deterioration

During a girls volleyball game, a girl and her friend relax in the bleachers in the gymnasium Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, at Little Wound k-12 school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.](DAVID JOLES/STARTRIBUNE)djoles@startribune.com At Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig in northern Minnesota — and on reservations across the country — the educational promises this nation made to tribes are being broken. On South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which has four deteriorating BIE schools, former tribal President Cecilia Fire Thunder summed up what many tribal students, educators and leaders are wondering about federal officials: “Why aren’t they fighting for us?”

The federally neglected school buildings at Pine Ridge are a blight at the very center of a culture that wants better.

PART 4: While tribal schools suffer, military schools prosper

Crossroads Elementary School in Quantico, Va., will open its doors in the spring.

While Bureau of Indian Education facilities languish, another set of federally run schools is upgrading to the state of the art.

How to build a new future for American Indian schools

Fixing the neglected facilities will likely take a multipronged push.

Jan. 23: Momentum builds to help tribal school in Minnesota

State efforts likely needed to help Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School.

Feb. 9: Indian schools need a boost from GOP

Kline is well-positioned to find best solutions for BIE schools.

Feb. 23: Kline calls for action on tribal school construction

GOP congressman calls BIE construction delays "appalling."

March 2: Smart proposals to help Minnesota's Indian students

Dayton should add group's proposals to his supplemental budget.