Native Village 

Youth and Education News

September 1, 2004,  Issue 137 Volume 2

"[Sovereignty is] the nearest and dearest, No. 1 issue in Indian Country. It's not something that was given to us. As tribes, we see sovereignty as something we've always had." Jacqueline Johnson, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians

Tribal schools get donation of 20,000 books

South Dakota: Gateway, Citibank, South Dakota Gaming, Wells Fargo,  Qwest and Scholastic Inc have donated books for school libraries across Indian Country. "I teach reading at my school, and I know what a gift that is for a child. There's an extra excitement to have a new book to read for the first time. This will do wonders for school libraries," said Mabel Eagle Heart from American Horse School. 100,000 books will go to more than 20 tribal school across North Dakota, South Dakota and New Mexico.

Mexico: The Zapatista movement has opened a new teacher-training center in the town of Ricardo Flores Magon.  The Centro de Formacion Autonoma Companero Manuel will train  promoters for dozens of primary education centers "with the ideals of struggle by the people and for the people."  More than 2,000 people, the majority Indigenous, attended the inauguration ceremony.  Education joins health care and economic development as the three central priorities of the Zapatista movement.
Mexico Solidarity Network Weekly News Summary

Bois Forte educator returns home
Minnesota: The Bois Forte people have a strong sense of community pride and service, and Teresa Strong is exactly what tribal officials, elders and community members have in mind. Theresa, a home-grown kid, has returned to Nett Lake as a teacher and principal of the Nett Lake School.  Nett Lake school demonstrates Ojibwe traditions through language and culture classes, and art. The building design, with its circular center and long corridor, exemplifies the long house that reminds students they are members of the Nett Lake Band. Nett Lake School has only 65 students and a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 12. Its Head Start program, operated and financed by the band, offers Ojibwe language and culture classes to children as young as age 3. Nett Lake has a 94% attendance rate. Strong, who is pursuing credits to become superintendent, said there will be a student teacher in the system this year from Nett Lake.

Navajo Nation gets new high school
New Mexico: Tse Yi Gai’ High School located in Pueblo Pintado has opened its doors for its first school year. Tse Yi Gai’, which means white rock streak, allows 250 students to obtain a quality education closer to home. Prior to the school’s completion, students attend high school in either Crownpoint or Cuba, over an hour's bus ride away.

Shiprock High welcomes second Dine language teacher
Arizona: Blackhorse Mitchell, a renowned Navajo author, poet and educator, has been added to the faculty at Shiprock High School. Blackhorse joins Rena Nez in teaching the Dine language. “I usually tell my learners: ‘Listen to me, I’m going to speak some Navajo- English,’” Mitchell said, commenting on how the two languages are often blended in symbiotic style when a Navajo converses.  Mitchell said he helps his Navajo language students become proficient by emphasizing reading, writing and spelling. He already has 37 lessons lined up in steady progression

Grant for YouthBuild project will create jobs
South Dakota: The Department of Labor awarded a grant of $3,100,000 to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate YouthBuild project. The YouthBuild project will help build programs for education and work training for up to 400 youths at-risk youths ages 14 - 24. Susan Tall Bear, YouthBuild program director, said the grant means her staff can relax knowing the program is fully funded for the next two years. "That is a huge weight off our shoulders," she said. The project will partner with Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribal College.

A $1 million boost for Indian education in Minneapolis
Minnesota: Migizi Native Academy has a simple mission: to make American Indian kids better students with better prospects for life after high school. That work has become easier since the U.S. Department of Education  granted the school's parent organization -- Migizi Communications Inc. -- a $1,000,000 grant over three years. Migizi Native Academy is not actually a school. Its teachers mostly work in Minneapolis schools with other teachers in predominantly American Indian classrooms. They monitor homework assignments, talk to parents, and sometimes attend parent-teacher conferences because parents feel more comfortable having them around. Plus, the academy hosts after-school programs and offers a place where kids can come in and do their homework. Migizi administrators said the grant will enable them to launch a new emphasis on helping American Indian high school students in math, science, technology and engineering.

Nonproft to Develop Native High School Curriculum
Alaska: Sealaska Heritage Institute, a nonprofit organization in Juneau, will use an $850,000 federal grant to develop a Native-oriented high school curriculum. Rosita Worl, SHI president, hopes the new curriculum will help Alaska Natives pass the state's high school exit exam and earn their diploma. She also hopes it will better help prepare Native students for college. "We're very much tuned to those academic needs," Worl said. 'Native kids do better when they're studying their own language and culture."  The new curriculum will be tried in Juneau schools, then offer training for teachers in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. Eventually, the curriculum could be used elsewhere, Worl said. The grant will be spent over three years.
H-Amindian Listserv

Penn State to train Indian principals
Pennsylvania: - A  $1,000,000 grant from U.S. Department of Education will allow Penn State University to expand its American Indian Leadership Program and train eight students to be principals in American Indian schools. "This grant is all about professional development, about preparing teachers for the unique challenges of leading elementary and secondary schools," said Eugene Hickok, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. The program will fund students through two years of graduate school and through their certification as principals.

Campus Camps Reach out to Native Students
Ottawa, Canada: Only 52% of Canada's young aboriginals age 20 to 24 completed high school. And the numbers of aboriginal students attending colleges and universities is distressingly low. Now several schools are taking steps to ensure young native and disadvantaged students understand the importance and appeal of higher education:
The University of British Columbia has launched a summer forestry camp for aboriginal kids in Grades 8-9;
The University of Toronto runs a five-week summer mentoring program, bringing black and aboriginal students to campus to learn about professional fields in which they are under-represented;
The University of Alberta sends aboriginal students to tutor and mentor First Nations kids in elementary and junior high schools through its ‘Wapahtihew’ program;
Carleton University's new Aboriginal Enrichment Support Program offers programs to help older students from under-represented communities make the transition to post-secondary education.
These summer enrichment programs remain the most popular outreach initiatives at universities. These programs have become effective
recruitment tools in attracting high school graduates to their campus.
CanWest Interactive

Tribal college fights for its life
Davis, California: D-Q University was founded in 1971 when American Indians jumped a fence to occupy an old Army communications center and demanded the land and buildings be made a college for native people.  Today, D-Q University, California's only tribal college, is being threatened by financial problems, leadership changes, and declining enrollment. The small Yolo County college - which has had three presidents since March - has lost nearly 18% of its $1, 600,000 federal funds  because D-Q's enrollment of Indian students had plummeted.  D-Q leaders - current and former - say the key to saving the college will be enlisting broad support in the American Indian community.  "It's going to be up to the tribal people here in California to rise up and save this college," said Susan Reece, a D-Q trustee from 1999 until 2003. Of the 149 students enrolled last spring, only 15% were federally recognized Indians. Federal law requires tribal colleges receiving BIA money to maintain Indian enrollment of at least 51%. This semester, DQ has registered over 200 students. Not all, however, are Native.

Tribal law
Michigan: According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Michigan has 58,479 people of American Indian and Alaskan Native descent. They have the lowest incomes, highest infant mortality rates, and lowest life expectancies of any ethnic group.  "The Indian people have been on the losing end of many issues regarding social justice," said Frank Ettawageshik from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Now Michigan State University's College of Law offers a new American Indian Law Program to prepare more students to work with  tribes and their autonomous legal systems. The program has four classes and a clinic workshop--one of the most comprehensive in the Midwest. "We have 12 federally recognized tribes and they extend a lot farther than most people realize," said Jeff Davis, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. "We need a lot of education there. They are such complex areas of the law."

Distance Education Comes Home
Not that long ago, ‘distance education’ meant taking native children from their homes to far away boarding schools, often isolating them from their families for the entire school year.  Today "distance education" means technology, something tribal colleges and universities are using to deliver higher education to the students who wish to stay home.  These virtual universities offer a broad and growing range of classes.   All but five of the 34 tribal colleges in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium are involved in some form of distance education. The General Accounting Office found that tribal college students who benefit most from distance education are older students with dependents who cannot leave their jobs to travel to a college town.  
Tribal College Journal Of American Indian Higher Education

Tribal colleges awarded millions in federal grants
Tribal colleges across the United States have been awarded millions in grants by the Department of Education. The grants will be used for various purposes, including new classrooms, new student facilities, new technology and wellness centers and faculty and support services.
The recipients include:
Blackfeet Community College, Montana - $3,100,000
Stone Child College, Montana - $1,400,000
Fort Belknap College, Montana - $1,200,000
Leech Lake Tribal College, Minnesota - $1,200,000
Institute of American Indian Arts, New Mexico - $500,000
Crown Point Institute of Technology, New Mexico - $1,400,000
Sitting Bull College, South Dakota - $4,000,000
Sisseton Wahpeton College, South Dakota - $861,722
Cankdeska Cikana Community College, North Dakota - $425,826
United Tribes Technical College, North Dakota - $1,200,000

Pay all Residential-School Natives, Lawyers Urge Feds,
WINNIPEG, Canada: The Canadian Bar Association has urged the Canadian government to compensate each aboriginal student who went through the residential school system.  The group wants each of 90,000 students to receive "automatic base compensation for loss of language and culture...with additional compensation in cases of serious physical and sexual abuse."
The Vancouver Province

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