Native Village 

Youth and Education News

March 3, 2004,  Issue 129, Volume 2

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue."  Rob Gueterbock, Greenpeace

UNESCO urges teaching from earliest age in indigenous mother languages
With at least two indigenous languages dying out every month, the United Nations is asking world education systems to begin teaching children their native language during early childhood.   This early learning stimulates learning abilities and helps preserve the world's rich herigate of linguistic diversity.  "It is widely acknowledged nowadays that teaching in both the mother tongue and the official national language helps children to obtain better results and stimulates their cognitive development and capacity to learn," said Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). More than 6,000 languages are spoken in the world today, but 95% of those languages are spoken by only 4% of the population.  A study shows that India is among the world leaders in developing multilingual education systems, with about 80 languages being used in its educational systems.

New CD-ROM Aimed at Preserving and Sharing Anishinaabemowin
Kenny Neganigwane Pheasant has released an interactive CD-ROM aimed at preserving and sharing the language of the Anishinaabe nation, Anishinaabemowin. The user-friendly program, which offers beginning, intermediate, advanced and conversational levels of instruction, is appropriate for all age levels.   Anishinaabemowin is among the oldest and most historically important Native American languages in North America, but is in danger of becoming extinct if it is not taught to a new generation.
For more informatin:

Bad Roads Mean Long Bus Rides For 4-Corners Students
Many children in the Four Corners AZ area wake up at 4 a.m. just to get to school on time.  For some children, a one-way ride to school takes 3 hours--if they can get there at all.  The school bus supervisor, Vernon Gladden, blames the area's bad roads: 20 of his 22 school bus routes are unpaved. "These buses are taking a punishing toll," he said. "We have frames coming off the chassis. The towing expenses got so outrageous that we went out and bought four of the biggest military vehicles."  Snow, rain, and hard ground cause thousand of potholes, the largest being 15 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 8 inches deep. Safely navigating the roads is a slow process.  Senate leaders in Washington are considering giving tribes $2,200,000,000 in highway funds over the next five years. But the Bureau of Indian Affairs said it will take closer to $20,000,000,000  to fix reservation roads.

Mount Vernon school extols reading scores
Calcedeaver Elementary in Alabama is celebrating its students scores on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test. Calcedeavers DIBEL scores are the 7th highest in the state.  DIBELS, a timed oral test, is given twice each  year to students in grades K-3. Kindergartners begin by pointing to pictures of objects that begin with the letter their teacher pronounces and performing similar tasks.  By the first grade, students are timed to see how fast they can read. By the third grade, they are expected to read 110 words per minute. Calcedeaver Elementary's 230 students are primarily American Indians.

Their bridge to the world
The tiny mission school in Bapchule, AZ is carpeted on every side by scrub brush and miles of wind-blown soil. Each winter, the Native American students in St. Peter Indian Mission School look forward to the arrival of students from Red Mountain High School in Mesa.  For 13 years, Red Mountain students have visited the adobe school complex on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Students from the high school's Reading is Fundamental Club bring books for each child and the library. It's a yearly event that has helped the St. Peter library collection grow to 10,000 books from 600 in the past decade.  "It's a sweet thing, a real thing," says Patricia Heck, the Reading is Fundamental coordinator  "We know that we can't change the world. Better to read to one kid than no one at all."

BIA to fund repairs at Crow Creek Sioux school
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved emergency funding to replace the gymnasium at Crow Creek Tribal School in South Dakota. Senator Tom Daschle requested the funds after Duane Big Eagle completed a 4,000 mile trip to Washington D.C. to request funding. "Students in Indian Country should not be forced to use dilapidated facilities," said Senator Daschle. "I was pleased to work with the BIA and Crow Creek leadership to secure badly needed funds for a new gymnasium. The Crow Creek community deserves access to a safe facility for important school and community events." The funding must now be approved by committees in the House and Senate.

BIA to publish replacement school construction list
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is publishing a new school construction priority list. The list determines which schools will receive federal funding. Based on need, the BIA is placing 14 facilities, including dormitories, on the list:

1. Dilcon Community School, Winslow, Ariz.
2. Porcupine Day School, Porcupine, S.D.
3. Crown Point/T'isst'oozi'bi'olta Community School, Crownpoint, N.M.
4. Muckleshoot Tribal School, Auburn, Wash.
5. Dennehotso Borading School, Dennehotso, Ariz.
6. Circle of Life Survival School, White Earth, Minn.
7. Keams Canyon Elementary School, Chinle, Ariz.
8. Rough Rock Community School, Chinle, Ariz.
9. Crow Creek Elementary/Midle/High School, Stephen S.D.
10. Kaibeto Boarding Schol, Kaibeto, Ariz.
11. Blackfeet Dormitory, Blackfeet, Mont.
12. Beatrice Rafferty School, Perry, Maine
13. Little Singer Community School, Winslow, Ariz.
14. Cove Day School, Red Valley, Ariz.

The Bush administration's 2005 budget is funding construction at five schools. However, construction was cut by $65,000,000 because. Officials say they did not ask for more funding because they did not have a priority list.

Today most of Mexico's jobs are low-skilled assembly work.  Now it is even losing those to China, where workers are paid less. One reason for Mexico's economic problems is the poor educational achievement of its citizens.  A generation ago, Mexico and South Korea ranked near the bottom in academic achievement among the 30 nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Now Mexico ranks almost last, while South Korea has risen to No. 1.  The reason: public education is nearly a religion in South Korea, while Mexico ranks last among OECD countries in investment in primary education.  "It's not that Mexico has declined, it's just that everyone else has progressed," said Andreas Schleicher of the OECD.   "Mexico and other countries that have not kept pace with everyone else in education have paid a heavy price, economically and socially."   The cycle continues as Mexico's youth quit school after grade 6 to either take on a job to add to family's income, or to watch younger siblings while the parents work.

Report finds low graduation rate for Natives
According to a new study, Native American students at public high schools only have a 50-50 chance of graduating. The study, compiled by the non-partisan Urban Institute, offers wildly different results from number reported by some states.  According to the study: in 2001, only 51.1% of Native students graduated compared to 74.9%  for Whites and 76.8% for  Asians. The national average was 68.0% . "...a graduation gap of this magnitude is certainly large by  any standard of comparison and should be cause for concern among  educational systems committed to achieving equity across student  subgroups," wrote Christopher B. Swanson, the author of "Who Graduates?  Who Doesn't?"
More Facts
Midwest: 40.1% of Native students graduate;    South: 58.1% graduate
Alaska: 46.5% graduate;
California: 42.9% graduate;
Oklahoma: 63.9% graduate;
New Mexico - 60.0% graduate;
Montana - 45.8% graduate;
Nebraska - 32.3% graduate;
North Dakota - 52.6% graduate;
Oregon - 42.4% graduate;
South Dakota - 32.1% graduate;
Wyoming - 34.4% graduate;

Lumbee student moves to next round in American Idol
Singer Charly Lowry, a Lumbee from North Carolina, is among the top 32 finalists in the TV program, "American Idol."   "I'm very proud," Charly's mom Delores Lowry said. "This has always been Charly's dream, you know, to just be able to perform."  Charly is a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She told her mom she's having fun braving the rigors of the national competition.

Entrepreneur Daniels' fund aids American Indians
National cable magnate Bill Daniels never went to college. But the man who was once on Forbes' 400 richest Americans list never underestimated the power of education. In the last years of his life, Daniels set aside more than $1,000,000,000 to fund his favorite causes in four Western states. Recently representatives of the Daniels Fund met with American Indian communities in Utah where the organization will spend nearly $1,000,000 for a day-care center for college students, a self-esteem program for American Indian youth, and programs to provide mentors and academic aid to American Indian students.  "We've been able to provide assistance to parents, to track student grades, homework and attendance," said Travis Parashonts from the Paiute Indian Tribe and one of the groups benefiting from the fund.

Conference Unifies Native Americans
In February, nearly 80 students gathered at Dartmouth College for the first-ever All-Ivy Native American Student Conference.  The conference honored a new foundation--The Ivy Native Council--an organization supporting Native students and encouraging Ivy League schools to improve the Native American college experience. “Supposedly, we are the most prestigious schools in the country. However many of the schools seem to choose to ignore our own country’s history and the people that perpetuate that history,” said Nicole Lewis, president of the Association of Native Americans at Yale. While Ivy League minority students continue to increase, Native American numbers consist of only 1% of the undergraduate population at six of the eight universities. (Dartmouth is highest at 3%; Columbia has less than 1%.)  Dartmouth and Cornell have Native American academic departments, but Harvard only has an interfaculty initiative that deals with these studies.

Instructors set their sights on Cree history
Instructors Robert Murie and Matt Herman from Stone Child College will visit museums, libraries and scholars in Canada and the U.S. to collect historical information about the Cree people. The Crees are one of two peoples that combine to form the Chippewa Cree Tribe. The tribe's government is located on Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, which was created in 1916. Murie and Herman will concentrate on Cree materials rather than Chippewa because Cree is the reservation's dominant language, and because Cree historical information is scarce at Rocky Boy.  "There's hardly any Cree history here on the reservation. Hopefully there'll be (a project) for the Chippewa too, because we want our children to know about both," Murie said. He added that if they come across pieces of Chippewa history, they'll try to bring that home as well.  Another project goal is to help Stone Child College develop its history curriculum where more history courses are needed.   "It is exciting, and I think it's real important," Herman said. "And I hope we're able to increase the interest in this area, and that it can be the beginning of something pretty good for the college and the community."

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