Youth and Education News
October 6, 2004, Issue 139 Volume 2
"There were [nearly 50 million] people here who had found the continent tens of thousands of years before [Columbus.] I think he loses the right to be called the discoverer."
Chuck Hunt, Lane Community College
Columbus Day is no joy for American Indians
Ohio: Columbus Day is the most controversial American holiday. Most citizens recognize Oct. 11 as a tribute to the country's "discovery" by Europeans. But for American Indians, the date marks an event to be mourned. "Christopher Columbus was not a discoverer, but a murderer and a slave trader who practiced genocide," says Larry Beckner of Cherokee ancestry. American Indians often hold anti-Columbus day rallies during this time of year, according to Vicky Whitewolf- Marsh of Cincinnati. "Not only were we the first people here, but we're still here," she says. Among the comments from Native residents in Ohio:
"This is our land. It was our land before Columbus came, and we defend it to defend our way of life." Vicky Whitewolf- Marsh
"We were the first people the U.S. government used chemical warfare on. They covered our blankets with smallpox and sterilized our women." Davis Woundedeye
"If people knew the history of the U.S., they'd cringe." Bob Rucca.
"You can take me anywhere in the world and I'd always be homesick for my land." Davis Woundedeye
16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas
Imagine our world without Native American contributions. They developed pain medicines, birth-control drugs, and treatment for scurvy. Their strains of domesticated corn, potatoes, and other foods helped reduce hunger and disease in Europe. They also introduced the cultivation and use of tobacco. Among their innovations:
Youth Embrace Subsistence Education and Renew Survival for a Yupik Eskimo Community
Alaska: In remote Russian Mission, population 307, students at the Russian Mission School learn how to link traditions with classroom learning. From Grades 3-8, kids are immersed in learning about where, and how, they live. Science and math lessons might investigate the effects of recent weather on native species, how to repair an outboard motor, or the temperature at which lard mixed with sugar and berries congeals into the local ice-cream, aqutak. A single moose harvested by students provides school lunches of moose stew, moose soup, and moose fried rice, Older teens catch fish to feed the school. And during all activities, students read, write, calculate and hypothesize along the way. The Russian Mission community is also involved. When high schoolers bring in the silver salmon, the whole town turns out to cut and prepare the fish. “We set up tables in the gym, and the floor is covered in blood," said school principal Mike Hull. "When the school menu calls for fish sticks, it’s salmon from the river.” Russian Mission Students are very attached to their school, and to one another, as stated by Rachel Evan, 15: "Tell all the other kids in America that they should come up to Russian Mission and try it out! It's pretty cool."
Grade 7 Textbook Fails Miserably, Native Leaders Say
Nova Scotia: Native leaders in Atlantic Canada are demanding the delay of a social studies textbook being prepared for Grade 7 students. The leaders are concerned about historical errors and stereotyping. "There is a great deal at stake to ensure history is correct--for the general public to clearly know who we are and why specific issues are of great importance to our people," said Stewart Paul. The chiefs were not invited to help design the book, called Changing Your World: Investigating Empowerment. They say one draft viewed earlier this year was filled with serious misinformation, distortions and omissions regarding Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy history. Andrea Bear-Nicholas, a native studies instructor at St. Thomas University, said it’s a matter of the truth being. "Let’s get it out there so it can be debated," she said. "Why do we have to always be fighting the ignorance that’s out there?" Changing Your World: Investigating Empowerment will be in Canada’s classrooms by fall 2005.
The Gazette (Montreal
Hopi High Jr. ROTC at DC native museum opening
Arizona: Five cadets from the Hopi High School Junior ROTC drew considerable attention at the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian Sept. 22 in Washington D.C. ROTC Major Phillip Taylor said the students stood out because they were the only Native American high school cadets who attended the event and marched through the procession in their uniforms. “Our cadets drew a lot of attention from the media—from reporters and photographers,” he said. Although the students didn't have tickets to enter the museum, the trip itself was a learning experience.
Lt. Commander Sekayumptewa, 17, was glad to learn about other tribes while making Hopi High popular. She said the airplane ride was scary, but the trip was fun.
Leon Poleheptewa Jr., 17, enjoyed meeting people from other tribes and marching in the parade, but found it unfortunate that they didn’t get to go inside the museum.
Dwight Armstrong, 18, observed that not all tribes are alike. “All tribes are not all brown people. Some are white, black, yellow and other races,” he said.
Dione Naha, 17, described the trip’s unforgettable memories. “We visited museums, national monuments and we were involved in a special recognition of Native Americans,” she said. “The trip was full of laughs and falls.”
Luvette Sheppard, 16, enjoyed seeing the many large buildings in the nation’s capital and said the cadets, as tourists, had to walk everywhere. “But it was fun,” she said. “The museum was nice from the outside. I really wanted to go in and look at the museum, but we couldn’t. Other than that, I thought it was pretty neat to have a museum for Native Americans.”
Some Native Americans are known for having long hair. Many tribes have different beliefs about hair length and styles. Some believe that hair length determines strength. Others believe it's a sign of beauty and health. In the old days it was practical for Native Americans to have long hair which was difficult to cut with a knife. Over the years it became a part of the culture as exemplified by Crazy Horse, who always left his hair free and flowing to mark his freedom and refusal to conform to mainstream ways. Many of today's native students enjoy and take pride in their long hair:
Zah, a Navajo, is very particular about his waist-length black hair and has a 15-20 minute regimen each morning in caring for it. He started growing his hair when he got involved with powwows and says his culture--and the fact girls like it--play a big part in keeping his hair long;
Adelle, Blackfeet, has hair equal in length to Zah’s. The length of her hair has something to do with culture, she said. She is a traditional dancer and braids her hair when she dances;
Virginia Perez, Dakota, washes and conditions her waist length hair, then fastens it into a bun. If she is going out, then she puts a little bit more effort into hair care. Culture is a part of her hair length, she said, but she'd have to cut it if someone close to her passed away as a sign of respect and mourning;
Jason McKibben, Chippewa, chooses not to wear his hair in the traditional Chippewa braids. On most days, he scrubs his scalp and rinses it with water. He washes his hair once every three or four days, then finger combs water wax through it.
South Dakota: The Upward Bound program is aimed at the first generation of college students in a family, or at low-income students with the potential for college success. The summer course takes place on college campuses and helps high school students improve their math, composition, science and study skills. It also motivates students to complete high school and succeed in college. Among comments from students attending this years Upward Bound program at the University of South Dakota:
“A lot of Native Americans don’t go to college, and they told us that (only) three out of 10 Indian students will make it in college,” said Jason Clifford, a 16-year-old student at Red Cloud High School in Pine Ridge, S.D . “Upward Bound wants to push us to our limits, because education is something that you need.”
“It’s fun and I have learned a lot,” said Sarah Zephier, 15, who attends Marty Indian School in Marty, S.D The homework can get “a little overwhelming,” but it also is helping her become better prepared for college.
“I like it," said Brandon Black Moon, 16, a student at Todd County High School in Mission, S.D. He said that it is “very important” for a program like Upward Bound to exist in high schools with a large number of Native Americans.
Elders Will Give Advice To Schools
Saskatchewan: Regina Public Schools is creating a First Nations and Metis elders' advisory council to the board of education. The partnership among the board, the File Hills Qu'AppelleTribal Council, and the O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk Metis Local will look at ways to create educational programs and environments in which First Nations and Metis students can succeed.
Journalism School lands grants for 'reznet' program
Montana: The University of Montana School of Journalism has received grants totaling $550,000 to bolster "Reznet," a 3-year-old, Web-based student newspaper that teaches and encourages American Indian students to explore careers in journalism. Currently, Reznet hires 20 students from across the country to write, edit, design and assemble the Internet newspaper which covers news concerning the Indian community. "Reznet is catching on and Native American kids are reading it," said Denny McAuliffe, Reznet project director. "Getting this funding is a real vote of confidence for what we are doing, and without it we really wouldn't have been able to continue."
Leaping Into Campus Life
Nebraska: When freshman Ashley Lone Wolf isn't busy on campus with her studies or student groups, she enjoys a good bungee jump. “You don’t know what’s happening (while bungee-jumping),” said the Creighton University freshman who also enjoys mountain climbing. “Your life is held by a string. ... It’s an adrenaline rush.” The thrill-seeking Sioux City Native, who also belong to the school's Native American Association, Pow Wow Committee, is a Native American delegate at Creighton’s diversity meetings, hopes to become a defense attorney. She plans to help her Native community, build bridges of cultural understanding, and eliminate negative stereotypes many about Native Americans. “No matter where you go you’re always going to have diversity,” said Lone Wolf. “I want to improve it. No, I will improve it.”
Diversity exists throughout at UNCP
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was founded in 1887 to train Native American public school teachers. When it opened its doors to all qualified applicants in 1954, UNC Pembroke became a model for society. Recently, U.S. News and World Report ranked UNC Pembroke as the most diverse campus in North Carolina, and the second most diverse in the South.
The 2004-2005 academic year student body (approximately):
African Americans (22%)
American Indians (20%)
Hispanic (2%), and
In 1999, 685 American Indian students enrolled. In 2004, approximately 1,026, an increase of 49.7%.
American Indians is up 28.7% in the last five years (from 164 to 211);
African American is up 42.8% (from 21 to 30);
American Indian upper management employment increased 50% in five years;
African American upper management employment increased 60%.
Minority faculty employment at UNCPis up an incredible 114% since 1999
11 American Indian full-time and 16 part-time faculty members compared with 8full-time and 7 part-time in 1999 for an 80% increase;
4 full-time and 2 part-time African American faculty in 1999. Today there are 9 full-time and 6 part-time members.
UNCP's minority employment non-faculty positions is up 34% percent since 1999
U.S. Colleges Get an 'F' in Affordability
The biennial study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gives U.S. colleges and universities an ''F'' in affordability. The report card, titled ''Measuring Up 2004,'' grades affordability by comparing college costs with the average family income. The study claims college is becoming less affordable in most states. In New Hampshire, for instance, college costs amount to 32% of average family income compared to 23% a decade ago. In New Jersey and Oregon, colleges cost 34% of family income, compared to 24% and 25%, respectively, in 1994. Among individual states, only California, Utah and Minnesota earned higher than a ''D.'' California still had the top grade of any state, but its ''A'' from 2002 fell to a ''B'' in the latest report after sharp tuition increases.
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