Eastside Native American Education Program promotes cultural
American Indians have played a major role in U.S. history, but
quite often, textbooks will cover just the basic facts and leave
out many details.
Redmond High School senior Dustin Hoahwah, this is a shame
because he said it is important to learn about different
cultures, especially when it comes to native tribes because
there are so many in this country.
"Most people don't know about some tribes," he said. "(These
tribes) need to be known."
Hoahwah is a member of the
Umatilla tribe from northeastern Oregon. He is enrolled in
the tribe's reservation but was born in Kirkland and grew up on
He has attended school through the
School District (LWSD) and as an American Indian, has been
enrolled in the Eastside
Native American Education Program (ENAEP) since he was in
ENAEP began in 1975 and serves students in LWSD as well as the Bellevue and
Northshore school districts. The program is based in LWSD
and holds meetings every Monday evening at
Lake Washington High School. Director Mary Wilber said the
mission is twofold: to help American Indian students achieve
academically and to teach them more about their culture.
With the academic aspect of the program, Wilber said ENAEP
offers tutoring and teaches school "survival skills" including
time management and task prioritizing.
Aubrey Roman, a junior at
Juanita High School (JHS) in Kirkland, joined ENAEP during
the 2010-11 school year and said she has benefitted directly
from the tutoring. She was working on an essay and with an ENEAP
tutor helping her edit the paper; Roman had raised her grade
from a C- to an A.
"It was really helpful," she said. "I think that the program
really helps me in school."
Roman added that through the program, she has become more
comfortable with asking questions when she doesn't understand
ENAEP meetings are all inclusive so the age range among students
is from elementary school to high school. With this, Hoahwah
said in addition to the tutors, the older students will usually
help the younger ones with their schoolwork as well.
HERITAGE AND HISTORY
In teaching students about their culture, ENAEP has a "Know the
Facts" component during which students learn about American
Indian history in various topics ranging from casinos to fishing
rights. The also learn about the general history of specific
tribes. Wilber said this portion of the program is taught by
Vince Standing Deer, a former American Indian history professor
at California State
University, Fullerton, who volunteers his time with ENAEP.
"It's really worked out nice," she said.
Students also create arts and crafts such as dream catchers and
Roman said learning about tribal history has been interesting
for her and she has learned a lot more through "Know the Facts"
sessions than she has in school.
Both Roman and Hoahwah said ENAEP has played a role in not just
their academic development but allowing them to connect more
with their heritage. Roman said she and a friend have been
talking about starting a club at Juanita where they can learn
more about their culture and include more of their peers.
"I think it's pretty important because I am a part of these
people that we don't get to learn about and it's sad," she said.
Hoahwah said there have been times when his heritage has
isolated him from others, but ENAEP has helped with that as he
encounters other students from other tribes.
"It shows that you're not alone, that you're not the only native
kid on the Eastside," he said. "You don't have to act like
Roman agreed, adding that ENAEP is like a second family.
In addition to the tutoring and history lessons during the
weekly meetings, ENAEP also puts on a powwow every year in the
fall in honor of the country's veterans.
The powwow is planned by high school students in the program,
who are tasked with raising money, organizing a silent auction,
coming up with a dinner menu, creating gifts for the veterans
and more, all while on a budget.
"It's a big project to put on," Wilber said, adding that the
event usually brings in about 350 people.
This powwow was what first interested Roman in ENAEP and she was
part of the student planning committee for last fall's event at
JHS. She said she helped with concessions, made directional
signs for the day of the event and participated in a tribal
A TITLE VII PROGRAM
Roman has native blood on both sides of her family:
Navajo, a tribe from the
Southwest, on her father's side and
Oneida, a tribe
from the Northeast, on her mother's side. Roman said her mother
is also part Taino, a tribe
that hails from northeastern South America.
Like Hoahwah and Roman, all students enrolled in ENAEP have some
native blood. Wilber said students must prove they are part of a
federally recognized tribe in order to enroll. Among the ENAEP's
240 or so students, 85 tribes are represented.
Wilber, who is a member of the
Osoyoos Indian Band in British Columbia, Canada, said ENAEP
is a federally funded program through Title VII, which supports
local educational agencies, Indian tribes and organizations,
postsecondary institutions and other entities to meet the
educational and culturally related academic needs of American
Indian and Alaska Native students. Wilber works with school
counselors to see which students would qualify and benefit from
ENAEP. She also collaborates with other title programs to
develop plans for students to succeed.
Wilber's goal is to graduate all of her ENAEP students on time,
saying 14 out of 15 high school seniors graduated last year. She
said the 15th student just needs to complete a few final credits
and will graduate this year.
Native Village Home Page
Village © Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates,
please send your email address to:
To contact us, email
Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals, friends,
organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and
talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed
without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and
educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends
who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples.
We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education
News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites. Each issue shares
today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website
libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at
the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional
photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to
the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original
article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some
may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright
corrections so we may properly credit the source.
We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please
notify us if any problems arise.