Youth and Education News
November 12, 2003 Issue 122, Volume 2
"Why not teach school children more of the wholesome proverbs and legends of our people? That we killed game only for food, not for fun... Tell your children of the friendly acts of the Indians to the white people who first settled here. Tell them of our leaders and heroes and their deeds... Put in your history books the Indian's part in the World War. Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people who treated him unjustly. We ask this...to keep sacred the memory of our people. " Grand Council Fire of American Indians to the Mayor of Chicago, 1927
Native Writers Digital Text Project
Thousands of long-lost or never-found novels poems, stories articles and other written works by Native writers are coming to light through the Native Writers Digital Text Project at the university of Arkansas. Students editors on campus and across the nation are working through e-mail to post the rare works under a faculty member's direction.
Visit the website: www.anpa.ualr.edu
Native People's Magazine Nov/Dec 2003
Native language instruction essential
On the Wind River Reservation, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone languages are taught to pre-schoolers through high school. Pam Innes, a linguistic anthropologist, says the languages are adding to and reinforcing the legacy of cultural pride. “Language and culture are so entwined that to lose one seriously compromises the strength of the other,” Innes said. “My work has been an attempt to help tribes retain their language.” Some students are now conversing in their native languages and continue developing more interest in traditional artwork, dancing, singing and drumming. Students are also spending time with spiritual and political leaders. “And there is the intangible facet of pride," Innes added. " Where these classes have instilled confidence to do well in the world, the experience offers them positive reinforcement that may give them an edge.”
Hawaiian immersion saved the language
Unique in the nation, Hawai'i has two official state languages: English and Hawaiian. Only a fraction of Hawai'i residents speak fluent Hawaiian, but the number of children being educated in Hawaiian is growing and creating a generation of bilingual citizens. Nearly 2,000 children have learned their language, and some have gone on to attend such prestigious institutions as Punahou, Stanford and Oxford University.
Educator motivates Lakota speakers
Wayne Evans educates potential teachers about the Lakota culture and language at the University of South Dakota. "I was raised by my grandparents and taught the Lakota way," Evens tells them. "Then I went into the mainstream, worked for rancher and thought, how come children were losing the language?" Even, who has taught at USD for 38 years, said people can speak Lakota language, maintain the ceremonies, and practice the culture while walking in the mainstream. Evans also wants to see more American Indian teachers in the schools. "I want American Indian teachers to stand in front of white children and teach them. I want them to know the Arikara and Lakota tribes have love, and we are not going to scalp them... Teachers are loving people, that’s why they are in education. They don’t intend to do things like that," he said.
Occum: From a wigwam to founder of Dartmouth
Samson Occum was born in 1723 in a wigwam at Mohegan, CN. He began formal studies at 19 and worked among the Montauk and Oneida. In 1765, Occum and the Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker were sent from Boston to London to raise funds for Eleazor Wheelock's Indian Charity School. During the two years that the New England pastors spent in England and Scotland, they collected more than 900 pounds to "educate the Indians." Wheelock used the money to found Dartmouth to educate white missionaries. But Occum became disheartened by his treatment as a lowly Indian and knew his pay would ever equal that of his fellow missionaries. When he returned to New England, Occum befriended Christian Indians who joined him in forming their own community. They became the Brothertown community, which later moved to Wisconsin. Many of Occum's direct descendants are members of the Brothertown Tribe today.
State backs Native Hawaiians-only policy for Kamehameha Schools
The State of Hawaii is siding with Kamehameha Schools against federal lawsuits claiming the Native Hawaiians-only admissions policy is racial discrimination. Gov. Linda Lingle said it wasn't about civil rights, but about honoring the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who established the trust to support the school. "We believe that Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy does not violate federal law and is both consistent with and supportive of the state of Hawaii's long-standing commitment to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians," said Attorney General Mark Bennett.
Ailing SHS Student Graduates Early
Konrad Holmes is an 18-year-old Cherokee from Oklahoma who enjoys his friends, movies, music, hunting, fishing and hiking. He has run cross-country, competed in track and created arts and crafts. Holmes also has cancer. The ailment drains his physical strength, and radiation and chemotherapy make him tired. Yet Holmes stays in high spirits, telling his family and friends not to give up hope. In an emotional ceremony on September 29, Sequoyah High School held a special, early graduation ceremony for Holmes, Class of 2004. Earning his high school diploma was one his lifelong goals—and realizing that dream became an urgent matter once he found out that his cancer is terminal.
Congress approves land swap
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will soon be sending their children to brand new schools. The tribe has acquired 143-acres in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Big Cove for the new buildings. In exchange, the tribe gave the park service 218 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Eastern Band leaders had sought the flat, valley-like tract which adjoins tribal lands hemmed in by steep mountains and federally owned land. According to the tribe, the Cherokee were promised the tract in the 1940s. “We are jubilant that this historical wrong will be righted and the Cherokee children will have new schools in which to learn,” said Chief Michell Hicks. An elementary, middle and high school will be built on the grounds.
Summit targets schools
Many Alaska Native leaders say they must have an organized and influential voice in state education if their children are to succeed in the public school system. "What we are seeing is, there are statewide entities for everything else Natives are involved in," said Sarah Scanlan, director of education for First Alaskans. "Housing, health, regional corporations. But there's not a statewide entity for education." State test results show Native students typically average lower scores on standardized tests than their non-Native peers. Also, only 385 of Alaska's 8,235 public school teachers are Native. That's fewer than 5%.
Vet's Upward Bound program first in state
Oglala Lakota College will be hosting Upward Bound, a program giving American Indian military veterans the chance to review academics before attending a vocational school or college. Veterans who served from 1955 to the present will be recruited for the program in November and December. Veterans are eligible if they have low-income status and are the first generation in their families to attend college.
For more information, contact Jomay Steen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Native American month takes aim at stereotypes
At the University of Michigan, senior Nickole Fox wants people to think of Native People as a current and involved community of diverse individuals. "Popular culture seems to represent Native Americans as these mythical beings of the past, and the Heritage month activities are trying to break down those stereotypes," she said. "People should know that we aren't a monolithic group of people. We are comedians, authors, singers, and our cultures are very much alive today." This month's UM events vary from academic to entertainment and are designed for all cultures to learn about Native America.
Tribal Colleges Spread, Marking Slow Progress
Tribal colleges are remaking the landscape of Indian life. In the 35 years since the first college was chartered on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, the institutions currently number over 50 schools that offer certificates from bison management to master's degrees in education. Isolated and underfunded, they are recording successes, even as American Indians continue to rank at the bottom of college graduation rates. "The tribal colleges have changed the history of Indian education in America," said Rick Williams, president of the American Indian College Fund. "Think of our tribal colleges as community centers. They usually have the only libraries on the reservation." Gerald Gipp of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, said, "Culture and language are the core of it. All the government policies in the past tried to do away with it. We are trying to undo that,"
NASA Develops Tribal College Engineering Programs
None of the 34 Native American tribal colleges offers a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. Lee Snapp of NASA is working hard to change that. He is working with tribal colleges, government agencies, engineering societies and others to foster technical education, particularly engineering. One goal is to establish at least one degree-granting engineering program at one or more tribal college. Another goal is to establish the same pre-engineering standards among the schools so students can easily transfer. While there are challenges, Snapp says the support he has received from the Native American community is appreciated. "They have met me more than halfway,"he said. Today 11 colleges, including two four-year institutions, are directly involved in the effort.
Welcome to the Club
In 1994, the Native American Students At Syracuse became a recognized university group. When enrollment declined, the club disbanded. Now, for the first time in four years, the club has reactivated and held its first meeting. "There are about 40 undergraduate students who are registered as Native Americans," said Regina Jones, faculty adviser. “We also want to open it up to people who want to learn more about our culture.” NASAS has much support from the faculty whose membership numbers equal those of the students. Kim Kost, an Algonquin and SU senior, is pleased the group has reformed. “I think it’s been long overdue," said Kost. “There’s been such a burst of Native unity over the past year and we needed this group.” Sophomore Amy Coughlin, Mohawk, hopes the group will get Native voices and issues heard. “NASAS is to raise awareness that there are actual Native American students on this campus,” she said.
(Complete article written by Sarah Moses, Onondaga, a 2003 graduate of the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute.)
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