Youth and Education News
October 5, 2005 Issue 158 Volume 2
"What we have is because someone stood up before us. What our Seventh Generation will have is a consequence of our actions today." Winona LaDuke, Annishnabe
Questions To Ponder As Columbus Day nears...
1. Columbus sailed into the Caribbean and never
set foot on today's United States. So why does the United States give him one of our 8 Federal
2. Why would Columbus be given credit for "discovering" the Americas when those lands were already inhabited, and had been for 30,000 or more years?
3. Why is Columbus credited for finding the "New World" when the Vikings sailed across the ocean to North America 500 years earlier, and the Chinese set foot upon the very shores that Columbus did 71 years earlier?
4. Why is Columbus given credit for proving that the earth is round when it was already a widely accepted belief by educated people such as Ptolemy, who declared that the Earth was spherical in the second century?
5. Why are we only taught about Columbus's first voyage? Why aren't we taught about the second voyage with armed men going to the "New World" to find gold? Why aren't we taught about how the Spaniards murdered and enslaved the Tainos on that second voyage? Why are we not taught about the third voyage when Spain's King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella heard about Columbus's actions in the "New World" and had him returned in chains to stand trial for those actions?
6. Why do 17 states refuse to recognize and/or celebrate Columbus Day?
7. Why do protesters gather and march at every Columbus Day Parade?
8. Why have the Taino people of the Caribbean and Native Americans in the U.S paid such a huge price for the misfortune of being "discovered", been erroneously declared extinct, and are therefore denied legal recognition by the government?
College assumes responsibility for Head Start return
South Dakota: The Head Start program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation closed in March because of financial problems. The program has now reopened and is managed by Oglala Lakota College instead of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. "It would have been really, really devastating for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, for everybody, the children especially," said Shawna Runnels-Pourier, OLC Head Start director. "I was thinking about those children all the way through, and that just would have been devastating for us." The college welcomed 630 children into its 26 Head Start and six Early Head Start classrooms. Tom Shortbull, Oglala Lakota College president, said the tribal college had assumed a $4,700,000 grant to operate Head Start centers. About 70% of the staff who lost their jobs when the centers closed were rehired. The ties to the college will help Head Start's teachers train to get their credentials and certification.
Morongo Learning Center
California: The Morongo Band of Mission Indians has unveiled its new Morongo Learning Center, a 4,320-square-foot complex with offices, computer stations, study areas and educational resources. The Morongo Tutoring Program currently serves 170 tribal children and offers tutoring programs both in the classroom and after school. They also offer a summer school program which shares Indian culture and history not offered in regular classroom settings. Last year, a summer school program hosted 72 kids. With the success of the student programs, adults bean asking for help in earning their GED or improving their academic and computer skills. For them, the Morongo Alternative Learning Program was created which merged the Independent Study, GED and specialized classes into one. The alternative education program currently serves thirty students with five adults having received their GEDs to date. The Morongo tribe also runs a tribal preschool program and provides college scholarships for graduating high school students.
New curriculum brings Indian history into class
Maine: A new law in Maine requires schools to teach about the state's American Indians. James Eric Francis, tribal historian for the Penobscot Nation, developed the new curriculum dating from before Europeans arrived up until the recent past. For example, one activity teaches about Samuel de Champlain and his relationship with the Wabanakis in 1604, another is about Francis, himself, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the first Iraqi conflict. "It's important for students to realize there are Native Americans in Maine and that we have a history that predates their history," Francis said. He created the curriculum with help from a federal grant of approximately $100,000.
National Education Task Force Says Students Must Spend More Time in School
Washington, DC: A national task force on public education has called for major reforms to the nation's public education system. The task force, called "Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future," recommended policies that go far beyond the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act. "Children across America must be prepared to meet the needs of our times," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who served on the task force. "We need high-quality schools and high-caliber students to compete with young people overseas who boast about their world-class educations. We can move every child in America forward if we take the time to reform our outdated education system." Task force members noted that the furthest behind in our nation are those who have received the least support -- students who are African American, Latino and Native American; whose first language is not English; or who come from low-income families.
Task Force Recommendations:
v More and Better Use of Learning Time
vHigh Expectations, National Standards, and Accountability for All Students' Learning
vHighly Qualified Teachers for Every Classroom and Strong, Effective Leaders for Every School
vConnecting Schools with Families and Communities
$100 laptops for world's children
Massachusetts: Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are creating $100 laptop computers for the world's children. "They have to be absolutely indestructible," said Nicholas Negroponte, the MIT Media Lab leader. Negroponte hatched the $100 laptop idea, called "One Laptop Per Child" after seeing Cambodian village children benefit from using school notebooks they could carry home. He knew that for kids everywhere to benefit from the Internet, they needed laptops inexpensive enough for developing countries to buy en masse. The laptops he's creating include:
An AC adapter that doubles as a carrying strap;
A hand crank to power them when there's no electricity;
Foldable into more positions than traditional notebook PCs, and carried like slim lunchboxes;
A rubber casing that closes tightly for waterproofing;
A 500-megahertz processor (fast in the 1990s but slow by today's standards) by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.;
Flash memory instead of a hard drive with moving parts;
Use the freely available LINUX operating system instead of Microsoft Windows;
Connect to Wi-Fi wireless networks and be part of "mesh" networks for relaying data and avoiding expensive base stations;
Four USB ports for multimedia and data storage.
To keep the $100 laptops from being stolen or sold off in poor countries, the computers will be so distinctive in design that it would be "socially a stigma to be carrying one if you are not a student or a teacher." Within a year, Negroponte expects his non-profit One Laptop Per Child to get 5,000,000-15,000,000 machines in production. Those will go to children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand and South Africa. In the second year Negroponte envisions 100,000,000-150,000,000 to be made.
Tribal elders connect with U students
Minnesota: In the first of three events created in response to March's Red Lake shootings, 13 elders from the University of Minnesota and surrounding area spoke to university students. During the event, called “A Time of Truth: Let us put our minds together,” the elders said American Indian youth needs to listen to elders’ teachings to revive their communities. Among the elders' comments:
“What do we mean by ‘A Time for Truth’? Part of our truth is the disintegration of our moral fabric. We have a youth crisis with broken families, lack of tribal identity, abuse, racism, substance abuse, peer pressure and gangs.” Robert DesJarlait
“We can’t push things so fast; there’s no time to reflect. Our teaching is to stop, look and listen. Make sure you know who you are.” Don Blackhawk, Ho-Chunk tribe
“Across all tribes, there is a belief that everything is a gift from the Creator. Our job is to find out what that gift is. Today, the elders are taking responsibility for what our youth are lacking — that’s the gift in this tragedy.” Barbara Bettelyoun
“Our young people are pretty special people. Our blood flows through their bodies. The Council of Elders is taking a step in the right direction (in having these discussions).” Carolyn Schommer, Upper Sioux
Della Warrior, IAIA president, announces retirement
New Mexico: Della C. Warrior is stepping down as president of the Institute of American Indian Arts. Warrior, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma, has served as president of IAIA since 1998. "IAIA represents the very pinnacle of my career and I will never forget the many wonderful people that I have come to know and have worked with during my time here," she said. Located in Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Arts is a two-and four-year institution for the preservation, study, and expression of American Indian and Alaska Native arts and cultures. Warrior will step down on January 1, 2006, and will begin working as a consultant to the college.
1st Hispanic is voice for students at BGSU
Ohio: Raquel Colon grew up watching her father, Roberto Colon, help organize Club Taino Puertorriqueno, which brings attention to Toledo's Puerto Rican community. She came to know Club Taino members as family and became passionate about many of the club's causes. In April, Raquel followed her father's footsteps by becoming the first Hispanic to represent the undergraduate students on Bowling Green State University's board of trustees. She was chosen by Gov. Bob Taft to serve a two-year term. "I must have been 10 years old when I started attending Club Taino events," said Miss Colon, now 20. "I knew if I wanted to see Dad, that's where he was. Everyone tells me I'm a smaller version of my father. He inspires me and has really encouraged me." Raquel has been president of the Latino Student Union, served on BGSU's diversity leadership team and the dining services' food advisory board. She also held memberships in the Black Student Union and the Indian Student Association.
BIA ordered to pay back money
New Mexico: A federal court has ordered the Bureau of Indian Affairs to pay Crownpoint Institute of Technology a settlement to fund adult vocational programs. The six year legal battle began when the Bureau said the school's vocation program wasn't eligible for funding because of operation procedures. “We were right all along and it is about time that Bureau of Indian Affairs got their act right to help and assist Indian Tribes in self-determination effort and thank God, this is a major court decision for Indian people in United States,” said CIT president James Tutt. Wallace Charley, the Navajo Nation Higher Education Subcommittee Chairman, testified against the BIA during the trial. “It’s unfortunate that the [BIA] continues to categorize itself as public administration disaster that makes radical changes in the way it treats Dine’ Nation and administers Indian programs. It’s a question of how long and how often the Indian nations has to correct the [BIA] each time there is a miscarriage of trust responsibility. We shouldn’t be going through courts to settle these types of minor issues,” he said after learning of the court's ruling. Terms of the settlement were not released.
Lawsuits will ensure Inuit benefit from residential schools process
Canada: Inuit leaders want to pursue massive lawsuits against the federal government to ensure they're included in settlements over the residential schools abuse issue. "Our hope is that government will make an overture to ensure our place at the table that is Inuit-specific," said Rosemarie Kuptana of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. In May, the Assembly of First Nations signed an agreement with Ottawa to deal with the damage caused by residential schools. The federal government appointed former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci to recommend a compensation package by the end of March 2006. The Inuit, however, are not members of the Assembly of First Nations and were not originally party to the agreement.
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