Native Village 

Youth and Education News

June 1, 2005 Issue 153 Volume 2

"Every time we carry an eagle feather, that's sovereignty. Every time we pick berries, that's sovereignty. Every time we dig roots ... that's sovereignty."  Billy Frank, Jr.

Students Take Action To Save Historic Site
Georgia: Eighth-graders at Durham Middle School have made sure that New Echota stays open.  New Echota had been the Cherokee capital and home to Sequoyah, the man who created the Cherokee Syllabary. In 1838, the Cherokees were forced to move to what is now Oklahoma. Their trip, known as the Trail of Tears, started at New Echota. When the students heard Georgia might close the site to save money, students visited the state Capitol and met with members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. They read letters telling why New Echota should stay open, acted out the story of the Trail of Tears, and shared fundraising ideas. "It's not just Cherokee history. It's our history," explained 14-year-old Sarah Darden. All their efforts paid off when Georgia's governor signed a bill that includes enough money to make sure New Echota stays open.

Ponca chief's bravery praised

  1.         Nebraska: Abby Koehler, a ninth-grader at Lincoln Southeast, is a winner of the first Chief Standing Bear Essay Contest. "He stood up for what he believed in," she said of Standing Bear. "He knew he and his tribe were humans and they had rights just because they were humans ­ that was kind of an important point I wanted to make." Abby will attend a ceremony honoring the Ponca chief, whose court fight to get himself and all Natives considered human under the law was one of the first American civil rights victories. Abby will get a $50 savings bond for her winning essay.  Other awards given at The First Annual Chief Standing Bear Commemoration Celebration include:
    The second-grade class at Ponca elementary for their ABC book, "Standing Bear: a Brave Chief;"
    Student essay winners Jocy Stange-9th grade, Cassandra Munoz-11th grade Kari Loecker-10th grade;
    Harold Andersen for his efforts to induct Natives into the Nebraska Hall of Fame;
    Frank Blythe, executive director of Native American Public Telecommunications, for outreach programming;
    Charles Wright for his efforts to provide scholarships for Native American law students;
    The Lincoln Journal Star for its efforts to address Native issues in its daily publication;
    Susan Fremont for her dedicated work on behalf of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa.

    New York:  For the past three years, Mohawk students at Salmon River Central School have recited the "ohenton kariwatekwen" over the school loudspeaker. The Ohenton Kariwatekwen is an opening thanksgiving message to be recited before every gathering of the people.   Suddenly, school officials decided to interpret this message as a prayer, which violates the Constitution's separation of church and state.   The Mohawk youth, who make up 60% of the student body, claimed they are pledging allegiance to the circle of life while the non-natives are using the loudspeaker to pledge allegiance to the U.S.  The school authorities allowed the Mohawk youth to say their "prayer" in the gym.   After the students went there to complete the "ohenton karewatekwen,"  most went to class.   About 40 remained in the gym. School officials turned the lights off and left the students in complete darkness.  Parents and Great Law Longhouse people arrived.  After discussions, ten students would not budge.  They could not compromise the "ohenton kariwatekwen" and were suspended. 
    MNN Mohawk Nation News

    Native entrepreneurs
    South Dakota: Economic development--especially through Native entrepreneurs--is an important building block for Indian reservations. Finding acceptance for the idea has been a tortuous road because of conflicts between accepted business principles and a culture that values cooperation over competitiveness, community over self, contentment over achievement. Now there's an American Indian Business Leaders chapter at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School to addresses those conflicts. Rather than trying to change the culture, the Business Leaders chapter helps students fit business into the culture. "They need to see success," said Joni Hertel, who helped form the Business Leaders chapter and started her own business -- a day care -- at age 20. "They need to be taught personal finances, personal responsibility and the basics of business planning. But most of all, they need to believe they can do it."

    Red Lake Students Celebrate Graduation
     Minnesota: Graduation ceremonies were held for 92 seniors at Red Lake High School. Valedictorian Vernelle Lussier said the achievement was a lifelong dream.  "This is something that I needed to finish," Lussier said.  "And I did."  It wasn't always a sure thing that the day would come.  On March 21, schoolmate Jeffrey Weise opened fire on the school, killing seven, wounding nine, then killing himself. The intensely private Ojibwe community pulled together in support of their students, and the seniors made it through. "Graduation day is a big step for all of us," said elder Thomas Stillday. "This day will help."   Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr., whose 16-year-old son is in federal custody in connection with the shootings, said graduation brought some much-needed hope to the community.  "These kids are going to go a long way," Jourdain said. "We're really proud of our kids today."
    H-Amindian Listserv

    California: Praise, pride and hope is being heaped on 2005's high school graduates from San Diego County's Indian reservations. Their numbers and ambitons are rising --  a change from past decades when reservations had far more dropouts than graduates.  More than 100 graduates from 18 tribes were honored at a banquet hosted by the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association. Each graduate was presented with a sage-blessed eagle feather.  The feather symbolizes "that they're no longer children," said Wendy Schlater, former chairwoman of the La Jolla Indian band, "that they'll have to take on the responsibilities of the community."  Schlater expects about 70% of them will attend college. Joining the graduates were 500 family members, tribal leaders and other supporters.  The keynote speaker was former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., a Northern Cheyenne chief.  "Just as you've been waiting to make this big transition, we've been waiting for you, too," he said.  "We've been waiting for you a long time to take leadership roles and make this a better nation...  Don't forget your past," he added.  "Our history is dotted with tens of thousands of people who went before you, who made great sacrifices so you could be here tonight."

    Teen dreams: Top 10 career choices
    New York: A Gallup Youth Survey asked more than 1,000 kids aged 13-17,  "What kind of work do you think you will do for a career?" Among the top 10 job picks, the teens said they would like to have a career as, or in:

    Doctor Teacher Lawyer Sports Science/biology Architecture Business The military Engineering Nursing

    Among girls

    teaching lawyer doctor nurse fashion designer  scientist/biologist  author/writer veterinarian artist medical field

    Among boys

     sports medicine architecture engineer teacher businessman  lawyer military science/biology computers

    The Gallup Youth Survey was first conducted in 1977. At that time the top career choice for boys was "skilled worker," such as a carpenter, plumber or electrician. For girls, the top pick was secretary.

    Leave my Child Alone
    School districts are required under Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act to release student records to military recruiters or risk losing funding. Schools are also required to inform families of their Opt Out rights. Notification varies wildly across districts, and sometimes families are not fully aware of the schools' responsibilities or the Opt Out right.  Leave My Child Alone! is a website which raises awareness and:
    *Educates parents about the military recruiting provision of NCLB, and makes it easy for parents who want to Opt Out children from their school’s list;
    *Provides tools for encouraging schools to reveal their privacy policy and adopt methods making it easier for parents to Opt Out their children;
    * Provides support for the Student Privacy Protection Act of 2005. SPP would reverse the current legislation and require schools to first obtain parental permission before releasing private student information to military recruiters

    Seminole history, culture on display at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum

Florida: In the 1850s they were almost wiped out by U.S. soldiers.  When "the last shooting war ended," the tribe numbered only 100 to 300 members. Most were women and girls, since government soldiers targeted men and boys.  But the Seminole Tribe survived because they had each other and the stories of bravery passed down for generations.   , Now today's 3,000 tribal members have a new place to hold those memories. The tribe opened the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum branch, a stunning building featuring old photos, Seminole dolls, paintings and artifacts, and exhibits of the canoe's importance to Seminole life. The tribe hopes to teach the public -- and many of their younger members -- about a time before gambling and fancy hotels. "A lot of people think of us as bingo and casinos and smoke shops, but that's our income, not who we are as people," said Tina Osceola, the executive director for the tribe's museums. "It's so important to preserve our culture, not just for ourselves but for nonmembers as well.  I think Seminoles will have great pride when they walk in here, and visitors will be amazed at the rich history that they've never been exposed to."

Grant Will Help Indians get Legal Advice
South Dakota: A grant from the American College of Trial Lawyers will be used for a Internet site to help the state's American Indians get free legal advice. The project will be managed by The Dakota Plains Legal Services.  Based on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Dakota Plains represents Indians who are unable to hire their own lawyer.  The Web site offers advice and necessary forms for people who represent themselves in tribal court.  It will help them decide whether they need to consult a lawyer or can handle the matter themselves.  In addition, the project will provide information on laws, previous legal rulings and other materials.
H-Amindian Listserv

Nonprofit funds classes
California: - Sherman Indian High School Museum will join Riverside Municipal Museum in offering free classes focused upon American Indian life. The programs will be for both community professionals and those interested in American Indian arts and culture.
The first class is geared toward third-and fourth-grade teachers whose students are taught California and American Indian history. ''We have a lot of bad interpretation [of American Indian culture] from teachers at first, so there is definitely a need for this,'' said Maggie Wetherbee.
  The second class, will be a crafts-style class on southern California Indian basketry.
  The third class will focus on traditional American Indian toys and games. This class is open to all ages.
the fourth class will focus on American Indian uses of plants.
Southern California residents  interested in the classes should contact Sisquoc at (951) 276-6719.

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