Youth and Education News
February 4, 2004, Issue 127, Volume 2
"We did not cross any land bridge like the scientists tell us. Our religion tells us we were created here. Period." Armand Minthorn. Umatilla
Mohawk children get aid
Children in Kanesatake Schools near Montreal received trauma counseling after a violent confrontation in their Mohawk community. The children had witnessed opponents of Grand Chief James Gabriel burn down his house, then watched police officers being held hostage. The activists were protesting Gabriel's attempted police reforms. To help children cope, their counseling will consist of group and individual sessions where they'll be encouraged to talk about the experience and their feelings. A typical classroom session might raise questions like: A major event has happened; how do you feel? What can you do about it? How can you help others?
New wing opens at Agency Village school
The new middle school/high school wing of Tiospa Zina Tribal School for students opened in January. Tiospa Zina is shaped like an eagle with the commons and gym forming the body. The academic areas form the two wings. The Tiospa Zina complex also includes football and baseball fields, running track, bus garage and staff housing. Tiospa Zina, located in Agency Village, SD, has slightly more than 400 students in grades K-12. The complex sits on 50 acres donated by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe. The $20,000,000 project, which began in 1997, is now completed.
Michigan BIA school serves as example
Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting School, is an elementary school with 270 students located on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bahweting is a model for other Bureau of Indian Education schools --a place where children not only get lessons in Indian culture, but play in an orchestra on the tribal radio station and conduct science experiments using school-issued Palm Pilots. Bahweting has smaller classes, a tougher curriculum and better test scores than the local public school. It outperforms other schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is the only BIA school to earn the Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education. Bahweting, which also has charter school status under Michigan law, receives nearly $4,000 of BIA funds for each tribal child. They also receive about $6,700 in state money for each student. In addition, Bahweting uses grant and other federal dollars. Records show Bahweting spent $14,803 per student, about twice as much as the public schools in Michigan in 2002.
Sioux woman takes school complaints to legislature, FBI
Kalli Johnson, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member, has three children in the Faith S.D. school system. She says school officials and other students have harassed each of her children with racial slurs and sexual taunting. “ I know it’s based on race,” Johnson said. She also claims the school principal physically assaulted her 12-year-old son. "Picking my kid up and shaking him doesn’t count as abuse? You can abuse kids if you’re a state official?” She claims another child was stuffed into a garbage can and told to stay there until he came out “stinking like an Indian.” When school and local officials refused to address the situation, Johnson took her case the South Dakota legislature. She also contacted "Students and Teachers Against Racism," a Connecticut organization dedicated to supporting the well being of Native children. STAR Director Christine Rose was so concerned for Johnson’s case that she contacted the FBI. “ We called them because we believe Kalli was in danger, and we are not sure the police would defend her if need be." Rose also believes the case could be just the tip of the iceberg. “ We have so many complaints from people in South Dakota that we are considering the possibility of a class action lawsuit,” she said.
Bill Would Require Tribal Studies in Public Schools,
An American Indian lawmaker wants the state to require tribal studies in all Washington public schools. Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, said his bill would encourage diversity and promote local history. He wants K-12 school districts to work with the state's 29 federally recognized tribes to develop such courses.
Students gather opinions on statue of Lakota warrior
In Rapid City, SD, three Stevens HS students are presenting the city council with information about a statue they consider racist. Michael Lieberman, Yvonne Bear Stops, and Matt Frank are asking for "He Is, They Are," a statue created by Glenna Goodacre, to be removed from view. The 9 ' x 9 " bronze of a bound American Indian warrior "misrepresents the Lakota people," said Lieberman who is Rosebud Sioux. "We are not a defeated people." Retail manager Dan Tribby supports the students' initiative. He said the statue represents what the U.S. government has done in removing Indians from their lifestyles and homelands to the reservation. "It's the whole idea of a proud people then and a proud people now, bound to another government," Tribby said.
The Book "Lakota Woman" Inspires Students
The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota covers two of the poorest counties in the United States. Students at the Alternative High School in Chelsea, MI. were so inspired by the book "Lakota Woman," that they began helping residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The book, written by Mary Crow Dog, describes the difficulties and hardships of growing up at Pine Ridge. "The students read about the levels of poverty and drop-out rates," said their teacher, Ms. Macker. "They were moved by the experience." Students completed a fund-raiser for money, food donations, clothes, personal-care items, children’s toys and Campbell’s Soup labels. 10 large boxes were then shipped to Helping Hands, a nonprofit agency providing materials for people on the reservation.
Early college program helps American Indian students prepare for university life
A 2002 study of American Indian high school seniors in Washington showed a 52% dropout rate. Many believe that estimate is too low. "I think the number is much more realistically 70%," said Linda Campbell from Seattle's Antioch University. To help Indian students further their education, an early college program at Medicine Wheel Academy provides a culturally-grounded alternative for Indian students from area high schools. Instead of bringing students to an unfamiliar college setting, the program allows them to remain in high school classrooms while picking up college credits. During the 10-week course, students earn five college credits through Spokane Falls Community College. The course prepares students for college by teaching them reading, research and higher-level thinking skills. "It's got the potential to be such a great thing for Native students," said Pam Austin, coordinator of Indian Education Programs for Spokane. "Most of our Native students don't see themselves as college students. They don't have role models. Their parents weren't in college, or their grandparents." Spokane's early college program was the first to begin in the state. The second program is at Ferndale High School near the Lummi Indian nation. Next year, Wellpinit School on the Spokane Indian reservation will launch an early college program.
She's a Link to Pueblo Students
For 20 years, Florence Pajarito has worked in the Santo Domingo NM schools as a connection between the school and pueblo community. The fifth-grade teacher is a Santo Domingo native and speaks her Keres language. Most students already know her--they are her friends' children or students she taught in earlier grades. Parents feel comfortable around her and even call her at home in the evening. For many teachers at the school, their influence ends when the school day does. But Florence Pajaritos' does not--she also carries the school's messages and goals to other community members.
Proposed American Indian Education Center Gets Funding
In Sheridan, WY, a proposed $30,000,000 center to improve education for the nation's American Indian children will receive its first $500,000 from the federal government. The center will recruit schools serving American Indian children and train their K-3 staffs in early literacy and math. The training will be conducted in partnership with the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Mont. The center will also work with Sheridan College in developing a four-year teacher education program targeted at college students who want to teach on reservations.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
Native Americans at Stanford build community
The Stanford American Indian Organization has created a strong bond among the University's Native students. SAIO is involved in several Native American community programs including the Diné Club for Navajo students, the Native American Law Student Association and a Big and Lil’ Sib program. And last year, Stanford's American Indian Science and Engineering Society was named “Chapter of the Year” by the National AISES Organization. Student Jackson Brossy is impressed by the amount of Stanford's Native American programming. “I had also gotten into Princeton, and Princeton's Native community is pretty much nonexistent — they don’t have anything nearly as great as we do here,” he said. Brossy also participated in SNIPS, the Stanford Native Immersion Program, before his freshman year. “It makes it easier for a lot of students to transition from high school to college or from wherever they're from to the Stanford setting — they have a sense of community, a sense of oneness,” Brossy added.
Native studies gets faculty slot, forum
Yale University will appoint a junior faculty member in Native American studies this fall. Librarian Kathleen Burns said examining Native American studies programs at other colleges may help the University improve its own academic offerings. She has also started a Native American alumni group in hopes they will support a new Native American studies program. "One of the essential predictors of success is having strong alumni support," she said. Currently, a bimonthly colloquium series will feature graduate and doctorate students whose work relates to Native American studies. The series could open a forum for undergraduates to join in discussing and brainstorming research projects related to Native American studies.
Original Casino Offer Revealed
Dane County, WI residents will vote Feb. 17 on a referendum to turn DeJope Bingo Hall in Madison into a Ho-Chunk Nation casino. If the referendum passes, the city and county will each receive nearly $3,500,000 a year. City officials said the monies will cover costs such as road upgrades, extra police protection and social services. However, the Ho-Chunk had first offered $500,000 to area school districts. Madison School Superintendent Art Rainwater said he never heard about the Ho-Chunk's offer. "We have not been involved in any negotiations," Rainwater said. 'We knew nothing about it." Rainwater added that the money could have funded about eight new teachers.
Wisconsin State Journal
Volume 1 Volume 3
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