Youth and Education News
March 17, 2004, Issue 130 Volume 2
"Please do not touch the forest, because it gives us life. Please stop the bulldozers." Ayoreo Indians, Paraguay
Tribal youth see the old, new in art
Students from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs worked weeks to prepare for "Celebrating Imagination" a public art show. The show, which takes up an entire Warm Springs Museum exhibit room, is filled with traditional and modern art sharing the tribes' heritage and daily life. Among the Projects:
Toddlers from the reservation's Early Childhood Education Center used their handprints to design a peace sign that serves as a logo for the special show.
Aldo, 6, made a drum of buckskin. "I like playing it," he says. "I drum for my grandmother on Sunday mornings. She teaches me songs about God."
Ahliyah 7, made a wapas, a woven pouch used to gather roots. "When you make the wapas, it hurts your fingers because you have to twist it so much. But then my Mom took me to see it at the museum, and my heart felt soft and proud," she says.
These are just the sort of experience museum coordinators and teachers at the Central Oregon reservation were hoping for. "It tells them who they are -- people of this land," says Lois Squiemphen, a first-grade teaching assistant.
Native Amerian comes to terms with losing locks
Richard Parton-Lovett, a 13-year-old Native American, has worn his hair long since he was 5 years old. For years his classmates teased him, despite Richard's attempts to explain his heritage and culture. "If you cut it, it's like cutting your arm off," Richard said. The teasing escalated and even became physical when students began pulling his hair. When Richard grabbed those students, he got into trouble for the altercations. On February 15, after the teasing become unbearable, the Pennsylvania youth cut off 19 inches of hair. He donated it to Locks for Love, a group that collects long hair to make wigs for those who lose their hair because of disease. "I feel happy that I can help some children," Richard said. Now that the teasing has stopped, Richard will begin growing his hair long again. He said that if his classmates see him in the process of growing his hair, they may be more understanding.
Tribal library opens in Pauma
The AA'Alvikat Library, which is Luiseno for "storyteller" library, officially opened last month in Pauma, CA. Funded by a federal grant, the 2,400-square-foot library with 4,000 volumes is becoming a gathering point for Pauma Indian Reservation. For librarian Yolanda Espinoza, better known by the children as "the keeper of the books," the grant is a dream come true for everyone. "The library has been one of those focal points where tribal members can come and feel a sense of community," she said. "I think it's also one way that we can bridge the gap and other people can get a glimpse of our culture."
At Poor Schools, Time Stops on the Library's Shelves
During Black History Month at Edward Williams Elementary--which is 97%black--students were assigned reports on a famous black Americans. But when students visited their school library to begin research, they didn't find much at all. At a poor schools across the country, libraries are often the last priority. At Williams, the books they do have are mostly from the 1950's and 1960's. "Some of the books you read, they fall apart," said student Fahtemah Callands. Principal Edward Williams remembers his first trip to his school's library. "I felt as if I was walking into the past," he said. "It's criminal what's happened." The students who did the black history reports eventually found the information elsewhere, including the Internet. "But it's not the same," Mr. Gregg says. "A library should be the center of the school. A library should inspire. A library should be seductive."
The New York Times
Nevada ranks low in minority grads
Some say graduation rates among minorities is a hidden crisis in America. According to a new study, only 50% of African American, Hispanic and Native American students actually graduate from high school. The study also finds a "hidden crises" in minority high school graduation rates which, it says, fails to live up standards set by the "No Child Left Behind."
Across America in 2001,
50% of black students graduated high school;
51% of Native students graduated high school;
53% of Hispanic students graduated from high school;
75% of white students got high school diplomas.
The results? Devastating consequences for non-graduates and society in general. "At an absolute minimum, adults need a high school diploma if they are the have any reasonable opportunities to earn livable salaries. A community where most parents are dropouts is unlikely to have stable family or social structures," said Jill Chaifetz, with Advocates for Children of New York. While every state has a minority graduation rate problem. Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois are among the 10 worst states for minority graduation
UI students set to vote on Chief
University of Illinois students will go online March 16 and 17 to share their opinion of Chief Illiniwek, the university's American Indian sports symbol. Students will also address increasing student fees to help fund various cultural programs on campus. Students will log onto: http://www2.uiuc.edu/elections/intro.html
Havasupai Tribal Members File $25 million Lawsuit Against ASU
In Flagstaff, Arizona, members of the Havasupai Tribe have filed a $25,000,000, lawsuit against Arizona State University, three ASU professors and the State Board of Regents. The 52 tribal members claim they were told more than 400 blood samples taken from them between 1990--1994 would be used to study diabetes. ASU has used some of the blood to study inbreeding, schizophrenia and theories about ancient human population migrations to North America.
Technology builds tribal relationship
Mohican people are now connecting through a group called Mohican-7, a Wisconsin-based interactive Web site that allows dialogue and language to flow among the tribes. "Most of the Mohican people do not live on the reservation, but are scattered across the country," said Wenona Gardner of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans. "[Many] want to be connected to their tribe to learn its language, culture, arts, but never had a means to connect with other Mohicans on a regular basis." Communication is daily and ongoing with a designated chat time each week. Files include families, music, and the Mohican language. "I created a language experiment called Keeper of the Word," Gardner said. "Each member picks a single word to learn and dedicates themselves to teaching others for their entire life. People can use their word in creative ways such as part of the signature of their email, on their profile or part of a poem."
Learn more about Mohican 7: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mohican-7
Indian Country Today
"American Native Flowers" Scramble Squares Puzzle
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas and dazzle, inc. have partnered to create native plant-inspired puzzles. Each wildflower puzzle shares educational information about the plants and the role they play in our environment. "We are thrilled to be working with the Wildflower Center and very gratified that we will be contributing to their good work in such things as research, conservation and restoration -- which impacts all of North America," says Kathy Gavin of dazzle, inc. The Institute for Childhood Resources has named Scramble Squares(R) puzzles as among "Dr. Toy's 10 Best Educational Products" and one of "Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products of the Year."
Learn more: http://www.b-dazzle.com/
Native American Educator to Receive Cherish the Children Award
Theresa Natoni Price, Director of Indian Education for Mesa Public Schools, AZ, has been awarded the Cherish the Children Award. Theresa serves on Mesa United Way's Native American Ready to Learn Executive committee, a program for the youngest members of the American Indian community. Theresa is the first Native American recipient of the award.
California Lawmakers Propose Voting Age of 14
A proposed amendment to California's constitution would give 16-year-olds a half-vote and 14-year-olds a quarter-vote in state elections. State Sen. John Vasconcellos is among four lawmakers to propose the idea. The Senators believe technology and a diverse society makes today's teens better informed than past generations. The idea has many student supporters. "If we could vote, politicians would see us as votes, not just kids, and they would take our issues seriously," said Robert Reynolds, a student at Berkeley High School. The idea requires two-thirds approval by the Legislature to appear on the November ballot.
Our Bodies, Ourselves" health advice book available
Native American women are snapping up a health-advice book written, "Our Bodies, Ourselves," by and for American Indian women. Editors say interest in the book is fueled by historic abuses of indigenous women's reproductive rights. "It's an important, much needed book," says Judy Norsigian. "Just as those of us in the women's health movement were happy to see health books by black and by Latina women, it is wonderful to at last see a book like this geared to the health concerns of Native American women."
For more information, visit: http://www.nativeshop.org
Tribal program aims for healthy teeth
Dentist David Quissell is dedicated to helping youth on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations learn good dental health habits. Among American Indians, "the disease is quite high, as high as any place in the world," Quissell said. "Providing intervention is a key. This is a very preventable disease." Quissell has begun programs on both reservations to improve dental care. Nutrition is a key. So is maintenance. "We have trained about 12 people on Rosebud and 16 on Pine Ridge. They are identifying and recruiting children that fall in the 0 to 4 age group of our program," Quissell said. Their focus will be to visit families four times a year to provide fluoride treatments, toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss and most importantly to provide prevention information. "Our goal is to try to have an impact and diminish the disease," Quissell said.
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