Youth and Education News
January 12, 2005, 2004, Issue 144 Volume 2
''Whatever the future holds, do not
forget who you are. Teach your children, teach your children's children, and then teach their children also. Teach them
the pride of a great people ... A time will come again when they will celebrate together with joy. When that happens my
spirit will be there with you."
Chief Leschi, Nisqually
These days it's common to see modern parents carry babies in back packs or slings. It is thought to be good for babies to feel the body warmth and closeness of a parent. Interestingly, this was exactly the approach taken by California Indian groups for many generations. It allowed the mother to keep the baby close and tend to its needs as she cooked and worked to provide for her family. As with many Native American items, cradleboards became an art form. Cradlebasketet styles varied. Some had pointed designs at the bottom, allowing the mother to stand the cradleboard in the ground while she tended to some brief task. Others were designed to be attached to a tree, letting the baby look around as the mother worked. Some cradleboards kept the infant swaddled tightly; others allowed the baby to be in a sitting position. Some were constructed with hoods to protect and give shade to the baby. Throughout California, mothers and grandmothers made model cradles for their children and grandchildren. They were more than toys--they were models for the girl's future role. Today, a California Cradleboard Exhibit is currently on display at the Maidu Interpretive Center in Roseville.
USDA to provide funding to rebuild Blackfeet Early Childhood facilities
When a building housing offices for the Blackfeet Early Childhood Program burned down in June, 2002, administration and services rooms had to be crammed into modular offices and other buildings. Now, with a grant from the USDA, a salvageable part of the old building will be fixed while new construction will add to its size. The Blackfeet Early Childhood Program serves over 500 students in Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care Services.
Oregon: Six-year-old Baltazar Hendrickson, Yakima, is reading "If You Lived With the Indians of the Northwest Coast," a book special to him because it is his--and his alone. Baltazar received his book through Longview's Indian Education Program and the local First Book chapter. First Book is a national program that raises money to buy books for low-income children. Groups such as schools and Head Start programs apply for the books,then are screened for eligibility. "Eight or nine programs were awarded books this year," said Judy Duff, head of the Indian Ed. program in Cowlitz County. "Children who learn to read and to enjoy reading -- they go much farther in school. They don't act out as much. You need reading for most everything you accomplish in life." Anyone from infancy to 18 years of age can receive a book.
First Books: www.firstbook.org
Cheyenne students show off smarts
The TRIO ThinkQuest competition is an educational web site design contest for participants in TRIO programs nationwide. Two Cheyenne Eagle Butte high school students, junior Amanda Fischer and senior Isaac Dupris, have been invited to attend the 2004 TRIO ThinkQuest Award Ceremony in Hollywood, Calif. next March. The students will be honored with two awards. Their H20 Water Chemistry site was named "Best Site from a New Program." The student also won the "Silver Award" in the science and environment category.
Visit their site: "Water Chemistry" http://dev.triothinkquest.org/TTQ04103/
View all the TRIO winners: http://depts.washington.edu/trio/comp/entries/win04.shtml
The Path to Understanding: One Boy's Journey
Arizona: Thanks to a scholarship by the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Jarred James attended the Inter-Tribal Deaf Council conference in Washington State. For the first time in his life, the 18-year-old deaf Navajo student interacted with other deaf Natives to share their twin cultures – the deaf way and the Native way. Jarred heard traditional Native stories, creatde Native crafts, and discussed gaps in service for deaf and hard of hearing Natives. The next tribal Deaf conference will come to Arizona in 2006. The conference will take place on the San Carlos Apache reservation.
Lakota students prepared for European trip
Susana Geliga, a Title VII Lakota language teacher, and Andrea Schmidt, a Stevens High School German teacher, joined forces to create the Lakota-Austrian Youth Exchange Program. In June, ten Lakota high school students will fly with chaperones to Austria for a 10-day cultural exchange. The youths will stay with host families in Graz, Austria, and attend Graz International Bilingual School, a local high school. "The school that we're going to is exceptional. They teach in English, and they speak German, of course," Schmidt said. "The students there are the children of diplomats." While in Austria, the Rapid City students will act as ambassadors on behalf of the Lakota people, promoting cultural awareness, sensitivity and fostering global understanding. Geliga said the Austrian people have a deep curiosity about American Indians and a respect for the Lakota culture and language. She is hoping that when the students realize how interested the foreign country is in the students' culture, it will motivate them to work harder to learn the Lakota language. "The students will realize what a gift they have and will try to learn and preserve their language," Geliga said. "That's what I do; that's what I'm all about: preserving the language." To get there, the Lakota language class has set a goal of $17,000 to cover expenses of travel, insurance and airfare.
Tribes turning to charter schools
Oregon: There were no teachers in a room at the Nixyaawii Charter School -- just a dozen or so teenagers gathered for their last class of the day. Slouched low in their seats, baseball caps pulled down, they talked about how to behave in school. In the first few months at Nixyaawii, the group has emerged as a linchpin, helping to hold together a school on which the hopes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation rest. The school emphasizes American-Indian culture. Students learn traditional beadwork and basketry in art classes, discuss native fables in English and, instead of Spanish or German, are getting instruction in the languages spoken by their ancestors.
Teacher Project Targets South Dakota Schools
South Dakota: This is the first year South Dakota has been part of the Teach for America program. TA's goal is to send newly graduated teachers to schools where students struggle with academic achievement. The new teachers have had a minimum grade point average of at least 3.5, a history of campus leadership and a desire to help kids learn. This year, 17 teachers have been placed in classrooms on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian reservations. Officials hope to bring up to 40 teachers to the state for a two-year stint.
The Associated Press State & Local
School threatens ancient village site
Calif. In San Juan Capistrano, JSerra High School has begun construction on an expansion that will include athletic fields, a swimming pool and a performing arts center. The Juanenos Indians are claiming that the expansion onto 29 acres adjacent to the school will destroy the remains of Putiidhem, a village inhabited over a period of 1,000 years. A few years ago, the California Cultural Resource Preservation Alliance decided to pursue a cultural resource site at Putiidhem after 95% of Orange County's original tribal sites had already gone under the bulldozer. However, two wealthy Orange County residents, tax attorney Tim Busch, and car salesman Marc Spizziri, spearheaded a drive to change the zoning laws. Tribal members say the initiative was deceptive because it asked people whether they wanted a commercial business there or a school and never mentioned the site's cultural importance. 'The site holds tremendous value to our people,'' said tribal member Rudy Martinez. At $8,000 per semester, JSerra High School ranks among the most expensive in California for attending students.
Tribal college to offer more degrees online
United Tribes Technical College has received accreditation to offer three additional associate degree programs online, expanding the college online degrees to five. The new online degree programs are Health Information Technology, Elementary Education, and Nutrition and Food Service. "The training provided in these areas is critically needed in Indian Country," said UTTC President David M. Gipp. "We know that it’s unrealistic to expect working people to quit and go to school. Online programs allow them to continue working as they gain access to training that allows them to grow in their job skills and contribute more effectively in their communities."
South Dakota: The Tiospaye Student Council at the University of South Dakota tries to give Native students a comfortable place to relax and meet other Native students. Funded partially by the Student Association and donations, the Tiospaye council was formed in the late 1960s. Now it’s part of the university's support system that includes the Native American Culture Center, the Native American Journalists Association, the Institute of American Indian Studies and other advisers and organizations. Tiospaye is also building relationships with regional universities and tribal colleges for networking purposes, said Donis Drappeau. Drappeau said USD's Native student enrollment has been steady since she was student in the late 1980s, but she wants to increase Native enrollment by stronger recruiting efforts and promoting scholarship opportunities for Native students. “The potential is there. It just needs that extra push, ” Drappeau said.
Native educator at MSU teaches two worlds
Montana: She made Rolling Stone. She prayed at Stonehenge. And she's been called the "Indian Maya Angelou." With her spiky flat-top haircut and doctoral degree, 70-year-old Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne, is a lifelong educator who embodies--and defies--the ideology of a tribal elder. "She brings all those things together," said Richard West, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. "Some of the rest of us less gifted can get pieces of that, but very few of us can put it all together in one personality, in one personhood." Born in 1934, Mann began teaching seventh grade in 1955, then move to Berkeley in 1970 as a lecturer and coordinator for the Native American Studies Department. "I came in on the ground floor of Native American studies." Mann said. "I guess I was at the right place at the right time to begin to look at the need for American Indian students who were pursuing higher education to be able to study their own history, their own culture, their own philosophy." Henrietta spent 28 years at the University of Montana before accepting the Native American Studies endowed chair at MSU. She has since emerged as a national and international lecturer, speaking and writing on issues of Native religion, philosophy, literature, education, and the oral and written traditions of Native people.
Professor to Step Down After Writings on American Indian students
Colorado: Andrew Gulliford, a professor whose article about American Indian students was considered by many as racist, will step down as head of the Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies. "There is a sacred trust between faculty and students in the classroom," said Brad Bartel, college president. "Faculty cannot disrespect the dignity and privacy of students." School officials say Gulliford will now do fund-raising and outreach work in the Office of Community Services.
Run through cold honors tribal past
Montana: 90 students ages 3-17 participated in the Fort Robinson Break Out Spiritual Run. The 400-mile relay run through portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana gives Northern Cheyenne youth a chance to better understand history and themselves. In 1878, Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf decided to lead their dying people from Oklahoma to their ancestral land in Montana. 300 made it as far as Nebraska before splitting into two bands. Little Wolf would lead the healthy to Montana, while Dull Knife would take the sick and weak and seek help from the Lakota tribe. The U.S. Cavalry, though, caught Dull Knife's band and took them to Fort Robinson in western Nebraska. That winter, troops locked the Cheyenne in the barracks without food, water or heat. After five days, the Cheyennes decided to break out. A bloody gun battle ensued. Most of the band was killed within minutes, and many of the survivors were later killed by U.S. soldiers. But Dull Knife and a few others survived and embarked on a long, difficult journey -- once having to eat their shoes -- to the North. Today, during the Break Out Run, young people tread the same ground as their ancestors. "It's reintroducing them to their identity, their culture," said Phillip Whiteman, Jr., a founder and coordinator of the run. "The transformation they go through in four days - the pride, the self-esteem - it's magic."
Tribal members take long, cold walk to mark anniversary of restoration
Wisconsin: In an effort to remember and reflect upon the goals of their elders, 70 students, staff and Menominee tribal members walked a 6.5 mile route in the frigid single-digit temperatures to mark Restoration Day. The walk paid tribute to the Menominee who walked from Keshena to Madison in October 1971 to get the attention of government after the tribe had been terminated. "It was cold, but it was important because I was walking from my grandmother-- she was one of the women who participated in 1971," said sophomore Dan Blackowl. She talked to me about how much it meant to the tribe then." Menominee language and culture teacher John Teller said that the students were the best to lead this effort. "They were at the front, carrying the flag and eagle staff, and the banner. We wanted them to lead the memorial walk. You traditionally pick the best to lead, and we wanted the younger ones to lead."
'Rosebud' runners feel winter's chill
Kentucky: About 100 runners and walkers recently took part in a 5-kilometer event in Louisville to benefit American Indians living on a South Dakota reservation. Mercy High School classmates Carmen Mims and Karen Ford organized the Rosebud Run as a service project. The entry fee was $12, and proceeds from the Rosebud Run — plus a collection of shoes and clothing — will benefit the Lakota Sioux tribe on the Rosebud Reservation.
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