Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 23, 2005 Issue 147 Volume 2

"I could not turn back the time for the political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail." Queen Lili'uokalani, Native Hawaiian

President's Budget Would Cut Youth Programs
President Bush's 2006 budget calls for protecting or extending tax cuts while it eliminates 150 programs--33% which are education related. Among the cuts:
$2,200,000 cut for high school programs, mostly state grants for vocational education;
$440,000,000 cut in Safe and Drug-Free School grants;
$500,000,000 cut in education technology state grants;
$280,000,000 cut for Upward Bound programs for inner-city youths;
$1,700,000,000 – an overall cut of 89% from 2005 levels--for vocational and adult education;
$362,000,000 or 62% to the Adult Education and Family Literacy program.
Eliminating $637,000,000 Community Services Block Grant program, which helps fund tutoring for low-income children.
$53,000,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services budget, to $3,215,000.
His budget also provides incentives to states to accept a rigid limit on federal support for foster care.

In multicultural Hawaii, achievement gap tied to income
Hawaii: Hawaii's Department of Education says the state's low-income students lag 10%-15% test points behind low state averages. These academic gaps among students are solidly rooted in race and income. A study by Kamehameha Schools found that Native Hawaiian students in charter schools are doing at least as well -- and in some cases much better-- than Native Hawaiian students in traditional public schools:
Parental involvement — a major factor in student achievement — is often greater in charter schools;
Charter schools are much smaller than traditional public schools allowing for more individual attention from teachers;
The Native Hawaiian-themes at many charter schools connect Native students to their culture;
Native Hawaiian students in charter schools have a 400% better attendance rate than those in traditional public schools.

Students protest barbed wire set up around Indian school
Oregon: Students at Chemawa Indian School protested a barbed wire fence set up around their Indian school. "Chemawa means 'happy home,' " student Jeremy Cummings said. "It doesn't make a happy home with a fence around it."  The $63,000 fence, which is intended to improve campus safety and define the campus grounds, was ordered built by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The barbed wire, however, will be taken down.  "I don't know how it got on the work order," said Nedra Darling from the BIA, "...but they'll put up the fence as fast as they can and then remove [the wire."] Chemawa's 200-acre campus is home to about 320 students from 18 states in grades 9-12.  The fence was erected just as the school prepared celebrations for its 125th anniversary.

Virginia to revise history curriculum
Virginia: What Virginia students learn about American Indians could include how the state committed ''documentary genocide'' against Indians. Gov. Mark Warner has asked the Virginia Department of Education to include some of the state's darker moments in Indian history.  Changes to the history curriculum could include information on the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The VRIA resulted from the Eugenics Movement, which protected the white race through selective breeding.  While all Virginia Indian tribes and some of the state's terminated tribes were targeted, the Monacan Indian Nation was the most fiercely harassed by state officials. Also, several Monacan and Rappahannock Indians were jailed for not checking ''colored'' on the racial section of military draft documents.  Monacan Chief Kenneth Branham was harassed and ridiculed when he was among the first Monacans allowed to attend public schools in the 1960s. The fallout from the Eugenics Movements, he said, is why Virginia Indians aren't federally recognized today. ''Also, it shows that what took place in Virginia played a big part in what happened to other people in the world,'' Branham said. ''The Eugenics Movement here was used as a model by the Germans in the planning of genocide against the Jews. It's a very ugly part of our history."

Montana needs tribal teachers
Montana: Many believe that hiring more tribal teachers, principals and staff would provide positive role models to inspire American Indian students to stay in school.  ''Our children relate to them,'' state Rep. Norma Bixby said of tribal teachers. ''They stay in school. They do much better.'' House Bill 258, sponsored by Rep. Dave Wanzenried, would authorize public school districts to adopt an Indian hiring preference for most positions. Preventing students from leaving school and helping them graduate ''is probably one of the best economic strategies our state could take,'' said Rep. Carol Juneau. ''If you don't graduate from high school, you're probably looking at a lifetime of poverty. We will never have economic progress in our Indian communities until we take action on that.''  Currently, 11% of Montana's students are American Indian,  but less than 3% of the state's teachers share the same descent.

Aboriginal Storytelling Week

Saskatchewan: Schools and libraries across Saskatchewan took part in the province's second annual Aboriginal Storytelling Week. The week-long project, held in public libraries, featured aboriginals practising their tradition of oral storytelling. Deirdre Crichton, a coordinator of the project, said the 52 storytelling events in 39 towns, cities and villages promoted aboriginal culture, their storytelling traditions, and public libraries across the province.

Sculpture from the Book, The Pueblo Storyteller:
The Star Phoenix

Reading program seeks help
New Mexico: Diné College is looking for volunteer mentors to help adult Navajo students learn to read and write in English. “Illiteracy on the reservation is high,” said instructor Norman Phillips. “We have a lot of people who never completed high school and because of that cannot function in society or hold full-time jobs.”  Almost 120 students, ages 16 and older, are studying for their GED, which is equal to a high school diploma.  In addition to the GED students, Navajo elders in their late 60s and early 70s need mentors to help them with literacy and basic math classes.  Classes are taught at six locations: the Gadiiahi Chapter House, the Sanostee Chapter House, Newcomb Elementary School, Naschitti Elementary School and Ojo Amarillio Elementary School in Upper Fruitland, in addition to Diné College’s Shiprock campus.
The Daily Times

Lessons in Resentment, Resilience
Kenya: Last year, 85-year old Nganga Maruge made world headlines by entering school after Kenya's government promised free primary education for all.  Rejecting the local adult education center where people sat around and gossiped, Maruge sold one of his sheep to buy the school uniform and black shoes required by the primary school for youth.  After Maruge's quest was met by a flood of positive news stories, he earned the support of education officials.  School principal Jane Obinchu made the old man's education her most important project. "It's a dream," she said. "When I look at him, I feel sorry for him because had he been given this chance earlier, by now he would have gone very far. He would be a scholar."  Today, however, a campaign is underway to get the old man out of the classroom and transfer the school principal.  Some parents think the old man is taking attention away from their own children. Others think donations must have been made because of the international attention, and they accuse Maruge and school officials of pocketing them.  Maruge says his neighbors have hurt his feelings, and he has few friends left.  He just has his homework and his Kiswahili Bible, which he can't yet read. "They say that I'm stupid. They're saying this education cannot take me anywhere. It can't benefit me," he said. "My only aim is to go to class, and I want to learn the computer, and they're just laughing at me." Among his educators, however, no one discourages him from thinking about university and veterinary science. "...even if he does not make it, he has been an inspiration to the whole world," said Obinchu.  "Inside himself he can say, 'I went to school like everybody else.' That thirst for education will be quenched.",1,881092.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Haskell not alone with budget shortfall frustrations
Kansas: Haskell Indian Nations University, along with 34 tribal colleges, serves about 30,000 students. Most tribal colleges are located on reservations and are two-year programs largely funded by Congress and controlled by their particular tribe. Haskell, the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (Albuquerque) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe) are controlled and funded by the federal government. The colleges need $67,000,000 for full funding. However, President Bush has asked Congress for only $43,400,000. "It's definitely chronic underfunding," said Meg Goetz, congressional liaison for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.  Goetz added that tribal colleges get money on a per-student basis and are losing money at current levels. "If they were funded at the authorized level of $6,000 per student and you factored in inflation, they would be breaking even," Goetz said. "But they're not funded at the authorized level. This year they're getting $4,447 per student."

Financial footing now in sight
Five years ago, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hoped to create a Sioux Nation university to draw Native American students from all over the country. But today, financial problems and competition for students with other colleges and universities are keeping Si Tanka University out of the spotlight.  Si Tanka administrators point to three signs the school is turning the corner in resolving its financial problems: a tentative agreement with creditors to restructure millions of dollars in debt; a plan to free up  $1,400,000 in federal money; and the possibility that Si Tanka's enrollment is on the rise.  Si Tanka could be going into the spring semester with more students than it had last fall, according to STU President Francine Hall.  "Those numbers are up," Hall said.

Plans proceed for Native American center
Indiana: Plans are underway to construct a Native American Culture Center in Jay County.  With the site survey completed, funds must now be raised. "Our goal now is to be able to break ground in 2008," said Kay Neumayr from the National Center for Great Lakes Native American Culture. "So we are giving ourselves a few years to raise the money." The site is located on original Miami homeland, close to the Salamonie River.  Scott Shoemaker, who is a Miami of Indiana, led the survey and land analysis. He said the project would be "good for educating people about Indian people from around the Great Lakes area because people don't think there are any Indian people left east of the Mississippi."  The NACC's mission is to preserve traditional Great Lakes Native American art, history and culture, and educate the general public about the importance of the Great Lakes Native peoples.

Grand Ronde woodsman works on longhouses and master's degree

Oregon:  At the University of Oregon, Don Day is working on his master's thesis which includes building a traditional cedar longhouse using primitive technologies."... my ancestors - the Kalapuya people, a band that were here in the Willamette Valley - that's what they used for their houses, Western red cedar,''  said Day, a  member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. There's a regretful tone in Day's voice when he speaks of how he learned primitive wood and stone technologies. ''A white person had to teach me,'' Day said. ''I'm sorry that there's not an elder in my tribe that knows how to do this.'' But things are changing as he and other elders educate themselves about ancient arts. ''Over the past 10 to 15 years, we've been progressing more toward identification. Now people are saying things like 'oh these Native people, they lived here 11,000 years in harmony with the salmon as their mainstay.'''
Clatsop Longhouse: clatsop_longhouse.jpg

Linguist, poet, professor encourages students
Arizona: Ofelia Zepeda, is a linguist, poet, professor and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. Zepeda, who is a member of the O'odham Nation, was the first in her family to go to high school. After graduation, she went to Central Arizona College for her associates degree, then earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate in linguistics at the University of Arizona. "But the whole time ...I always had the O'odham language with me," she said. So, Zepeda learned to read O'odham and published "A Papago Grammar," the first O'odham grammar.  She also began teaching written O'odham to native speakers and teachers, then began her own writings .  "That's how I got started writing in O'odham," she said, "for my students. And I continued writing. I still write in O'odham today."  Most of her poetry is about the childhood memories, people in her life, the desert, and the rain. Zepeda says the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham people know the ocean,  even though they live in the desert.  "Our summer rains come because of the ocean," she said.  Zepeda now teaches O'odham at UA and the new community college in Sells.  O'odham also is taught at Scottsdale Community College on the Salt River Indian Reservation. "I am very old," Ofelia said, "old enough to be a grandmother." She is unsure of her age, which is 49, 50, or 51, because her birth date was unknown when she started school. Because she is "so old," she added, she hopes to see more young O'odham going  to the university and getting their doctorates, so she can retire in 10 or 15  years.

Bull named president of consortium
Washington: Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of Northwest Indian College, has been elected president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. Composed of 35 U.S. tribal colleges, the AIHEC supports the work of tribal colleges and the national movement for tribal self-determination.  "Tribal colleges have two jobs: to ground people in their culture and to give them a good, solid education,'' Crazy Bull said. Consortium directors also elected the following officers:
Dr. Richard Littlebear, Cheyenne, Chief Dull Knife College, vice president;
Dr. Jeff Hamley, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, secretary;
Dr. Jim Shanley, Assiniboine, Fort Peck Community College, treasurer;
Dr. Joe McDonald, Salish/Kootenai, Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont., member at large.
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