Youth and Education News
March 1, 2007 Issue 176 Volume 2
"Because woman lives so close to our first mother, the Earth, she emanates the strength and harmonious nature of all things." Larry P. Aitken, Chippewa
Watersmeet School, community working against racism, prejudice
Michigan: The Watersmeet School Board and Lac Vieux Desert Tribal Council do not take harassment lightly. They have adopted a policy which addresses all types of harassment, including name-calling, bullying, racism and prejudice. "Our diversity is an asset," said George Peterson, superintendent of Watersmeet high school where half the 234 students are Native American. " We have problems from time to time, just like any other school... [sometimes] students do not get along, no matter what their race. But we deal with it." For Watersmeet students who face racial slurs from other high school teams, being educated helps them handle the situation. "The key to eliminating any harassment problem is in how we handle it. We want to educate people to show how they are wrong," Peterson said. The new policy offers first-time offenders counseling and educational assignments. The student must also write a letter of apology to the victim. If students choose not to participate in this plan, suspension is an option. Suspension and expulsion are also used to address repeat offenders.
School asks exception from law for Native American funerals
Oregon: The attendance rates at Warm Springs Elementary School fall below the No Child Left Behind Standards. If this year's attendance records do not improve, Warm Springs could be considered a "failing school" and be restructured by the government. Guy Fisher, the Jefferson Co. School Superintendent, says that's not fair. He wants an exemption because of the 3-5 day funeral events that tribal members are obligated to attend. Fisher has been seeking this exemption for 5 months and recently met with officials from the Oregon Department of Education. The exemption was refused. "I'm getting to the end of my rope," Fisher said. "All I'm asking for is a clause." Doug Kosty from the state Office of Assessment and Information Systems recognizes the difficulty Fisher faces. But he doesn't understand the rush -- state test scores and attendance numbers won't be available until Summer, 2007. "I don't see that there's a sense of urgency," Kosty said. But Fisher worried that sanctions could be applied before he has time to appeal. "We're trying to avoid having that label of failure put on the school again," Fisher said "I don't want to be aggravating; I just want to resolve this."
Luscious chocolate, noble cause
Utah: Lickity Split Chocolate is a new and thriving Native owned and operated business. They just completed a $3,000 order for a large Utah company. You may not be surprised, (after all who doesn’t like chocolate), but you WILL be surprised to learn that Lickity Split is managed by 35 Navajo and Ute children, ages 9-14, in one of the poorest counties in the U.S. The business began when a group of children told VISTA Member, Elaine Bland, that they wanted to earn money to go to the movies. Elaine suggested they start a business. The kids liked the idea. After much brainstorming and discussion, they chose to start a Native-design chocolate business. The group made inexpensive, yet unique chocolate molds, and the customers quickly appeared. With so much success, several parents agreed to serve as legal company owners, and Lickity Split was born. The children manage the business on Saturdays. They hold principal managerial and board positions, make key decisions and develop policy -- all with a minimum of adult guidance and supervision. A major contract with a billion dollar corporation will help Lickity Split will double their sales. A Lickity Split retail store is being planned to be built in Summer 2006. The students hope to develop Lickety-Split into a national, and perhaps worldwide market. Can the kids pull it off? "Of course we can -- we are only limited by our imagination," says 14-year old Lickity Split CEO, Andrew Dayish who is already recruiting new youthful talent to brace for the anticipated growth.
Lickety Split: http://www.lickitysplitchocolate.com/
NAMAPAHH First People's Radio
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day
Alaska: On February 16, schools, universities, and other institutions across the state celebrated Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. Elizabeth was one of Alaska's great civil rights activists. She was born in 1911 in the island fishing village of Petersburg, Alaska. Born of the Lukaax.adi clan of the Raven moiety, her Tlingit name was Kaaxgal.aat. After graduating high school, Elisabeth attended college, married, and moved to Juneau. It was there she discovered signs in businesses and stores revealing blatant discrimination against Alaska's Native people. She began the push for legislation to break down the prejudice and discrimination toward Alaska Natives. When Congress held hearings for the Anti Discrimination Act, it was Elizabeth's testimony that split the opposition and helped pass the bill. When asked if the equal rights bill would end discrimination in Alaska, Elizabeth answered, "Have you eliminated larceny or murder by passing a law against it? No law will eliminate crimes but, at least you as legislators, can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help us overcome discrimination." In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16 as "The Annual Elizabeth Peratrovich Day," the anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Alaska comic superhero
Alaska: Hundreds of years before The Flash and Spiderman, the Tlingit had their own mythical hero: Dukt'ootl'. This Alaskan Superhero has his own powers, like ripping a tree from the ground to smackdown a gi-normous sea lion. To honor Dukt'ootl' and his powers, artist Dimi Macheras and storyteller Ishmael Hope have created an action-packed comic called Strong Man. Published by the state's School Board association and the Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement, 7,000 copies of Strong Man have been sent to educators around the state. "It's really important work they're doing, bringing Native culture to more of a mass audience," said Steve Nelson from the ICE. "They've created a great message of healthy living among young people, using culture as a foundation of achievement and strength." The comic book marries the Strong Man legend to a modern but unpopular teenager named Duke. Duke's bad grades keep him from playing on the basketball team. With his coach's support, Duke cracks the books and stands up for himself. Educators hope the comic becomes part of the curriculum at many schools, especially in villages. "From what I've seen of Native Alaskan studies in school, it could use a little more flair to grab kids' attention," Macheras said. "Yes, it's Native history, but then again, it's also the history of everybody who lives here."
American Indian youths rally in pride
Utah: Recently, more than 600 Native youths attended the "Peace Through Harmony and Balance" conference in Salt Lake City. Gaylene Hatch, the event organizer, said the idea was to have a gathering for youth so they could "look around and say, I'm not alone." It also let young people hear from successful Native Americans so the youth could realize: "you can do it, too." Howard Rainer from Brigham Young University told the young people, "now is the time" to use their talents. "When Native Americans make the honor roll in any school ... you cannot stop them," he said. "In this room if 100 of you make the decision to make better grades and raise your sights ... you will become a powerhouse." Rainer also told the youth to encourage and share with other the importance of high school and college, "You are either going to push us forward or push us back."
Attracting teachers where need is greatest
Arizona: A House committee has endorsed two bills that seek to put more qualified teachers on American Indian reservations and in math and science classrooms:
HB 2331 would offer loans that students could repay by teaching at a school on one of Arizona's Indian reservations. The bill was introduced by Rep. Albert Tom whose district includes most of the Navajo, Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai reservations.
HB 2206 would offer similar benefits to those who teach math, science or special education in communities facing teacher shortages.
The loan is for students pursuing teaching degrees at Arizona's public universities and community colleges. In both bills, each year of full-time teaching would pay off one year's worth of loans.
Cronkite News Service
"Kalamazoo Promise" Delivers for Free College
Michigan: Kalamazoo could be called an educational promised land, thanks to "The Kalamazoo Promise." Seven years ago, special-Ed teacher, Janice Brown, hatched the idea of a free college education for everyone in her school district. After 5 years of conversations and faith, she convinced a group of anonymous donors to foot the bill: $12,000,000 a year. And don't even try to ask her about who they are. "I just say the donors," Brown says. To qualify, students must maintain a "C" average. They must also attend a Kalamazoo public school for four years to have 65% of their tuition covered. The longer they're there, the more they get. If they attend from kindergarten on, college is free. Brown thinks other towns and cities could replicate the Kalamazoo Promise. "The Kalamazoo Promise is about is will," she says, "and whether or not a community has the will to do this work is the true question ... How can you have a healthy community — healthy economics — if you do not have a very well educated workforce? Can't happen." Many familles are moving to Kalamazoo because of the Kalamazoo Promise. The city has 800 new families in the school district, a $10,000,000 housing development, rising property values and two new schools. The impact of investing in Kalamazoo's kids? Priceless. http://www.upjohninst.org/promise/medialinks.html
Getting Ute youths to CSU
Colorado: The Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes are working with Colorado State University to explore ways of increasing college enrollment among tribal members. “We want to branch out within the (higher education) system so we can become a more learned people,” said Travis Blackbird, Southern Ute. Gary Hayes, a Ute Mountain Ute tribal member, wants CSU to offer summer programs for tribal youth so students will understand what the university has to offer. “If they can get this education, this experience, they can make it anywhere,” Hayes said. CSU President Larry Penley identified several areas where the university and tribes can begin:
* Increasing college enrollment among tribal members;
* Offering continuing-education opportunities on the reservations;
* Possible mutual research in renewable energy.
“I think something good can come out of this,” Penley said.
Purdue Strengthens Diversity Initiative
Indiana: Plans are underway at Purdue University to add more diversity to its offerings. The campus-wide initiative, called Mosaic, includes the Tecumseh Project, which has received a $1,200,000 grant to support 28 Native American graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math. The funds will also help build a new Native American Cultural Center. "The Black Cultural Center has been a visible representation of Purdue's commitment to cultural diversity since 1969, and we built upon that concept with the Latino Cultural Center..." said one official. "We will benefit from the success of these models as we design the Native American Cultural Center, which we hope to open this spring."
Native American Studies program to begin at USCL
South Carolina: The University of South Carolina at Lancaster hopes to start Native American Studies program this fall. After learning more about the Catawba Indian Nation, USCL Dean, John Catalano, wanted the Native studies program to better serve the students and community. ''We are moving slowly as we develop the curriculum,'' said Criswell. ''At this point we're offering courses that they [students] can carry with them as they transfer to USC in Columbia, Clemson, Winthrop or wherever they decide to go and support whatever major they end up in.'' The school is gathering information on local tribes such as the Catawba, Peedee, Waccamaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Santee, and extinct tribes such as the Waxsaw, Edisto and Cheraw. ''I want to collect the histories of these people. I want make contact with these tribes," said archivist Brent Burgin. "We have to also determine what our collective focus will be -- primarily Catawba, but I would like it to be basically a South Carolina/North Carolina focus ... I'd like our archives to grow. I'd like to contact Catawba scholars, and hopefully acquire things from them.'' USCL's Native American Studies will be the only one in the state and region. Students can take two-year courses at USCL with telecourses from the main campus in Columbia, all leading to a four-year degree.
President George W. Bush Releases the FY 08 Budget Request
Washington, DC: On February 5, President submitted his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request to Congress. The President’s budget request calls for level funding of $56,000,000,000 in for the Department of Education, $2,325,000,000 for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and $698,000,000,000 for the Department of Health and Human Services Budget.
The Native education provisions include:
Indian Education funded at $118,700,000 with $95,300,000 for grants for Local Educational Agencies, $19,400,000 for Special Programs for Indians, and $4,000,000 allocated for National Activities.
Impact Aid will to be funded at $1,228,000,000, a $29,000,000 decrease from previous proposals;
Facilities construction funded at $17,800,000, a drop from previous proposals of $46,400,000;
Title I received an increase of $1,200,000,000.
Programs proposed for elimination under the Department of Education include:
Alaska Native Education Equity, previously funded at $33,900,000
Education for Native Hawaiians, previously funded at $33,900,000
Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions, previously funded at $11,800,000;
Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners, previously funded at $8,900,000.
Budget Requests for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Elementary and
Secondary programs, including education management, include:
Proposes a total of $562,000,000, an increase of $26,000,000;
Funding for post-secondary education would be $98,000,000, a cut of $4,600,000;
Education construction includes an increase of $8,000,000 for facilities improvement and repairs;
A reduction of $21,700,000 for replacement school construction;
A reduction of $4,200,000 for replacement facilities construction;
Funds for elementary and secondary education management
$19,100,000 is allocated for forward funding. Of that $19,100,000:
$15,000,000 will help fund a new program, the Improving Indian Education Initiative.
The Improving Indian Education Initiative consists of the following increases:
$5,300,000 to lower performing BIE schools to improve performance;
$4,250,000 for student transportation;
$3,600,000 to add educational specialists in the BIE main and district offices;
$1,800,000 for the Native American Student Information System.
The Johnson O’Malley program (JOM) is slated for total elimination;
The Head Start Bureau would receive $6,800,000,000. American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs currently get about 2.7% of the Head Start funds;
$44,000,000 for the Administration for Native Americans Native language grants under Esther Martinez Act.
NativeShare Education Digest
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