Native Village 

Youth and Education News

May 12, 2004,  Issue 133 Volume 2

"We need you as leaders, as sober people that are clear in mind, clear in spirit and in heart." Dave Anderson, Choctaw, Chippewa

Baca school awarded for earth-friendly design
PREWITT, NM  Baca/Dlo´ay azhi Community School has been honored  for its environmentally friendly design, construction, operation and Navajo cultural aspects. It is the first Bureau of Indian Affairs school to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Only 104 buildings in the world to receive this certification. Among Baca/Dlo´ay azhi features:
It uses natural lighting devices such as skylights and windows in hallways;
After hours, an energy automation system is used;
Building materials that help lower energy was used;
The school's landscape features native plants that require minimum watering.
The U.S. Green Building Council promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.

Yocha-de-he, a school apart
BROOKS, CAL:  A state of the art building-- a kind of modern version of the old one-room schoolhouse--houses the Yocha-de-he Preparatory School.  "The tribe started the school because tribal kids were having trouble in public schools. We think that this kind of independent education is providing a solution," said Yocha-de-he Director Nancy Remington. Most of Rumsey’s school-age children attend Yocha-de-he and this year the school has opened up to non-tribal members living in the Capay Valley.  Fifteen students attend  the school,  The Yocha-de-he tribe as a whole has 24 adults and 29 children

  She's 101, and Keeps On Teaching
Albina Cruces Vazquez Cruces was born on March 1, 1903.  When she was 15, Albina remembers hiding on the roof from rebels marauding through her town on horseback during the 1910-1917 Mexican revolution. When the fighting ended, Albina got down from the roof and took up teaching. Now she's the oldest and longest-serving educator in Mexico. "Man is the architect of his own destiny; I designed mine and I have lived it," Cruces said, sitting in her office at the Eduardo Novoa Elementary School in Portales where she has been principal and teacher since 1947. Albina has spent her life as an educational pioneer. She studied literature, history and Greek at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a prestigious school that was then largely male. She also earned a degree in biology at a teachers college. She and a brother founded one of Mexico's first evening adult education schools for workers before founding the Eduardo Nova School.  Even today, at 101 years of age, Albina maintains a demanding schedule. She arrives at school at 7:25 every morning and leaves at 12:30 when classes end. Twice a week she teaches religious classes to prepare children for their First Communion, and on Saturday afternoons she teaches an adult religious studies class. On Sundays, she rests and reads the newspaper. Albina said a doctor recently examined her and said she had strong joints and magnificent circulation. "He thought I was 75," she said, explaining that exercise and eating well keep her strong. "I eat everything, but I don't eat much. No fried foods, no irritants. I don't drink and I don't smoke."

Teen to talk of stereotypes at U.N.
South Dakota: Santee Burnette, a 7th grader at North Middle School, will join a panel of four young international women to speak at the United Nations. Santee, a 13-year-old member of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, said her comments will address stereotyping.  As a Native American, Santee says she has been treated differently from other elementary school students and sometimes felt alienated. "There are people who are afraid to come into my neighborhood because they're afraid something will happen to them," she said. The United Nations panel, "Turning the Spotlight on the Needs and Rights of  Indigenous Girls," is co-sponsored by the UN Working Group on Girls, UNICEF and   the United Nations International Decade of the  World's Indigenous Peoples.

Native science and engineering fair
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: In March, Native students attended the 17th Annual National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair, "Celebrating our Journey, Sharing our Vision. " Among the winners:
Casey Chatfield, Chickasaw senior at Byng High School in Ada, Okla. researched carbon dioxide concentrations in classrooms. "Indoor air quality is a major environmental risk that many people don’t know about."
Nathanael Willie of Fort Wingate High School won for his environmentally conscious experiment. He researched the Exxon oil spill of the coast of Alaska. Curious if E. coli and other bacteria would feed off of the oil elements and help eliminate it, Willie discovered that this was possible.
Shelley Davis, Turtle Mountain Chippewa from North Dakota, explored the mechanisms of herbicides. "I found out the 2-4D had the most destructive effect on the bacterial count and plant life."
Daniel Concho, a senior at Barstow High School in Barstow, Calif., wanted to learn more about the effects of rhythm on yeast cells. "I found out Native American drumming is healing.  It caused the reproductive rates of the yeast cells to slow down, to relax."  When the yeast cells were exposed to rock music, the cells multiplied faster.
Jenna Parisien explored sending DNA in a less expensive way than in test tubes. Parisien devised a method of putting DNA into an ink cartridge. then sending the DNA in the form of ink as words in a letter.  She spent nine months developing and perfecting a method which is now being patented.
Rachelle Bill, Navajo, titled her project "Nature’s Pharmacy," and compared the ability of herbal medicines and synthetic pharmaceuticals to kill two infections of the skin, Staphylococcus and E. coli.  Bill discovered that tea tree oil was the most effective of the natural and pharmaceutical remedies.
Grand prize winners will be competing at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Ore. in May. The grand prize winners were Bill, Willie, Chatfield, Parisien and Jillian Beaufeaus of Cloquet, Minn. The alternates were Davis and Branyon Bullard of St. Paul, Minn.

Wood shop builds school pride
NIXON, NV: Pyramid Lake High School, on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, is in the midst of rejuvenating a spirit, both within the school and community. Recently a surge in pride was provided by the varsity boys and girls basketball teams that advanced to the final four in their state categories.  Until this semester those plaques earned would have been stored away. But thanks to Chris Clayton, the first year wood shop instructor, students built a new trophy case measuring six feet in height and 21’6" in length. "What you will be able to tell your kids 10 years from now is that you were a part of building this," he told the students. The plaques will displayed in the new case be joined by others --dating back a 25 years-- that were simply collecting dust in storage.

American Indian College Fund Names 2004 Students of the Year  
The American Indian College Fund has named 34 American Indian students as 2004 Students of the Year.  Each honoree will receive a $1000 scholarship.

The 2004 Students of the Year:

Diné College, Tsaile: Violet Tso, Navajo;
Tohono O'odham Community Colleges: Cheryl Antone, Tohono O'odham Nation
D-Q University: Michael Williams, Western Band Temaok Shoshone
Haskell Indian Nations University: Lydia Roach, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Bay Mills Community College: Joseph Lucier, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa;
Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College: Robin Chosa, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa;
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College: Ranee Pelcher, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa;
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College: Josephine Barney, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe;
Leech Lake Tribal College: Lois Jacobs, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe;
White Earth Tribal and Community College: Jo Reyes, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
Blackfeet Community College: Crystal Tailfeathers, Blackfeet Nation,;
Chief Dull Knife College: Michelle Spang, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa;
ort Belknap College: Alicia Werk, Crow Nation;
Fort Peck Community Colleger: Chris Martinez, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes;
Little Big Horn College: Tana Perez, Crow Nation;
Salish Kootenai College: Lailani Upham-O'Donnell, Blackfeet Nation;
Stone Child College: Richelle Morrow, Chippewa Cree.
Little Priest Tribal College: Stephanie Parker, Omaha Nation of Nebraska and Iowa;
Nebraska Indian Community College, Macy: Michael Lasley, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska.
New Mexico
Crownpoint Institute of Technology: Malanie Begay, Navajo;
Institute of American Indian Arts: Nancy Strickland, Lumbee Nation;
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute: Faye Bond, Navajo
North Dakota
Cankdeska Cikana Community College: Elisha Lawrence, Spirit Lake Nation;
Fort Berthold Community Collegen: Edmond Fixico, Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma;
Sitting Bull College: Monique Runnels, Standing Rock/Oglala Sioux Tribes;
Turtle Mountain Community Colleget: Angie LaRocque, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa;
United Tribes Technical College: Geri Fisher, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
South Dakota
Oglala Lakota College: Zannita Fast Horse, Oglala Sioux Tribe;
Si Tanka University: Barbara Dupris, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe;
Sinte Gleska University: Dee Lapointe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe;
Sisseton Wahpeton College: Robert Barse, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux
Northwest Indian College: Jennifer Taylor, Tlingit, Shangookeidi
College of the Menominee Nation: Jeffrey Barwick, Menominee Nation;
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College: Christopher Boyd, Red Cliff Chippewa.

Mi'kmaq Chief Receives Honorary Degree
NEWFOUNDLAND:  Mi'kmaq Chief Misel Joe has received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.  Joe comes from a long line of Mi'kmaq saqamaws, or chiefs. Educated in Mi'kmaq traditions, he left the reserve as a young man, but returned in 1973 and became involved in band politics. When his uncle passed away, Joe replaced him as traditional saqamaw and Newfoundland district chief for the Mi'kmaq Grand Council. Joe is the spiritual leader of his people and has presented lectures on native medicine and traditional healing practices at several international alternative medicine conferences.
St. John's Telegram

Physics a natural pull for American Indian
When Jerry C. Elliott watched the movie "Apollo 13," the Tom Hanks film about the 1970 aborted journey to the moon, his palms started to sweat. "It was so real," Elliott said.  Elliott, of Osage-Cherokee descent, is a physicist with NASA. He played a major role in the real drama of bringing the three American astronauts safety back to Earth.  Elliott, who also bears the name High Eagle, says physics is a natural extension of his curiosity of the world around him and a way to become closer to God.  "To study it is one of the most sacred things you can do," he said. He added that American Indians always had a vast understanding of physics.  Their knowledge of passive solar energy led to building homes into the sides of cliffs is one example. Their knowledge of "arrow-dynamics" which perfected the accuracy of bows and arrows is another.

Indigenous Geography as discipline arrives
American Indians and indigenous peoples are intensely attached to their homelands. Today, Native land researchers, scholars and activists are using geography in the traditional study of their lands. This month, the International Forum on Indigenous Mapping gathered nearly 200 indigenous community experts from dozens of Native nations in 26 countries. Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, they compared and shared notes on some fascinating projects.

Tribes to join challenge to Haskell highway
LAWRENCE, KANSAS: Several tribes are expected to join in a lawsuit against the federal government over an approved highway extension through the wetlands at Haskell Indian Nations University. Tribes, students and alumni consider the wetlands to be sacred. It is ALSO believed remains of alumni are buried there.
The Lawrence Journal World

Conference makes impact on future of Indian Education
Cloquet, MN: The Fond du Lac Reservation welcomed educators from around the region to the Johnson O’Malley Title VII Indian Education Conference. The two-day event promotes the educational values and cultural identity of Native American education. “We don’t just want our kids to pass tests, we want them to become caring and responsible adults,” said keynote speaker Dr. Aluli Meyer, a Hawaiian native.

Educators Flocking to Finland, Land of Literate Children

Imagine an educational system where:
Children do not start school until they are 7;
Spending is a paltry $5,000 a year per student;
There are no gifted programs;
Class sizes often approach 30.

In many countries, these facts would lead to failure. In this case, the facts are a description of Finnish schools which are ranked the world's best. How does Finland manage to outscore 31 other countries, including the United States, in education rankings? If one trait sets Finland apart from many other countries, it is the quality and social standing of its teachers, said Barry Macgaw, a national education director. All teachers in Finland must have at least a master's degree, and while they are no better paid than teachers in other countries, the profession is highly respected. So many students want to become teachers after graduating from upper schools that universities must turn down the vast majority. "Teaching is the No. 1," said Outi Pihlman, an English teacher who recently asked her teen-age students to name their favorite profession. "At that age, you would think they would want anything but to go back to school." Among the trends in Finnish schools:
* After every 45-minute lesson, students have free time to run, practice music, or pursue approved activities to "blow off steam;"
* Children start school at 7 years of age on the theory that they will learn to love learning through play.;
* At first, the 7-year-olds lag behind their international peers in reading, but soon catch up and then excel through being read to, listening to folk tales, and frequent trips to the library;
* Teachers can teach however they choose as long as they follow a basic core curriculum;
* Students must learn two languages;
* Art, music, physical education, woodwork and textiles are obligatory for girls and boys;
* Hot and healthy school lunches are free.

Revised executive order promotes Indian education
WASHINGTON DC: President Bush has signed an executive order that applies goals from the No Child Left Behind Act to the education of Indian children. The order will coordinate efforts between the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Education and other federal agencies. It also calls for a   "multi-year study of American Indian and Alaska Native education" to report on the progress of the order and the No Child Left Behind Act. "It's going to improve the lives of our American Indian children and Alaska Native children," Bush said of the effort. "It is an important part of making sure we have a hopeful future."  Tribal leaders praised the order, which they said respects tribal sovereignty, language and culture while carrying out the NCLB Act.

 Volume 1  Volume 3

 Native Village Home Page

Native Village is published with the generous help and support of friends, listserves, and online publications.
Without you, Native Village would not exist.  Megwich to you all.

To join our mailing list and receive news update reminders, send email address to:
To contact Native Village staff, email:

Native Village Linking Policy
Our research, study and resource collections cover a lot of Internet territory! We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate "kidsafe" and appropriate. However, Native Village does not control the content found on third-party sites, so we are not always aware when content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information, please contact us immediately.  In addition, please be aware that each linked site maintains its own independent data collection, policies and procedures. If you visit a Web site linked to from Native Village, you should consult that site's privacy policy before providing it with any of your personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Native Village © Gina Boltz

All rights reserved