Native Village 

Youth and Education News

May 18, 2005 Issue 152 Volume 2

"Receiving your degree reflects a new beginning in your life a life blessed with happiness, a strong intellect, self-discipline and many riches...  During your graduation ceremony, reflect back on the personal struggles you and your family have overcome to get to where you are today and the strength you are blessed with to overcome future endeavors. Remember your parents, relatives and friends who encouraged and supported you with their prayers. Remember and thank your role models and those who positively influenced your life. Listen and think about your elders' teachings that being  blessed with richness is not based on your salary or how many vehicles you own."  Leonard Chee, Navajo

Indian graduates receive encouragement, opportunities
As graduation season rolls by, tribal leaders across the country are trying to let students know that getting an education is extremely worthwhile.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier advised students to combat negativity by becoming more active in sports and keep busy while setting examples for their peers. He told the adults. "The kids don't ask for much-just to have people work with them, listen to them and encourage them and all of us must do this."
Leonard Chee, Chairman of the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council: "Receiving your degree reflects a new beginning in your life a life blessed with happiness, a strong intellect, self-discipline and many riches. I know about the unique challenges a Navajo college student must face when in school,  such as homesickness, lack of money or strenuous academic competition.  During your graduation ceremony, reflect back on the personal struggles you and your family have overcome to get to where you are today and the strength you are blessed with to overcome future endeavors. Remember your parents, relatives and friends who encouraged and supported you with their prayers. Remember and thank your role models and those who positively influenced your life. Listen and think about your elders' teachings that being  blessed with richness is not based on your salary or how many vehicles you own." He also warned against "breaking the law, drinking alcohol or drinking and driving."

Standing at the Crossroads--The Seventh Generation
South Dakota: Most of the Pine Ridge Reservation's problems is blamed on beer. Although selling alcohol there is banned, tribal members travel to Whiteclay, Nebraska, which sold the equivalent of 4,500,000 cans of beer, mostly to the Lakota, in 2003. Tribal activists blame alcohol sales for the 80% reservation alcoholism rate Others, including some tribal members, blame the Lakota themselves. Near a frozen creek there in 1890, soldiers of the 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 Native men, women and children.  Some say the massacre at Wounded Knee broke the sacred Hoop and the spirit of the Lakota.  But the holy man, Black Elk, spoke of the Seventh Generation of Lakota who would come after him and mend the sacred hoop, the continuity of the Lakota people.  Some say that generation is today, in the growing movement of people getting sober and educated. Those who walk this road are mothers fighting to keep their children sober and educators working to give students alternatives to substance use.  Some fought to get them through high school and to keep them from joining peers on the reservation's dark roads, the scene of 247 accidents involving kids in 2003. The idea of a Seventh Generation is a rallying cry to improve the lives of Pine Ridge youth, who have a 31% high school dropout rate.  They believe the young people are the Seventh Generation.  Through them, the hope of the Lakota people will be renewed.

Blanket to link Thurston, Red Lake
Oregon: Students and staff members at Thurston High School understand the pain, loss, and grieving that follows a school shooting. Seven years ago, they suffered an assault similar to the March attack which took ten lives at Red Lake High School.  Now the Thurston Campus is reaching out to help Red Lake High School heal; they plan to ship a turquoise Chief Joseph blanket, plus more than 30 condolence cards, to Red Lake High School. The idea came from Shannon Lyon, a multicultural liaison at Thurston, who is Anishinabe. In Indian culture, a blanket is a common gift for people who are going through a tragedy, she said.  "This is a healing gift to send to them," Lyon said.

American Indian students receive praise
Louisiana:  95 American Indian seniors and their parents met at Terrebonne Parish to recognize the high school graduates.  Surrounded by poster-size portraits of American Indian elders, colorful Indian blankets, hand-stitched baskets and palmetto fronds, the graduation ceremony emphasized he value of education and honor students who have made it through high school.  "Nowadays, the government recognizes that we didn't do the natives right," said superintendent Ed Richard.  "We have Kirby (Verret) and John (Solet) with Indian Education in Terrebonne schools helping natives to realize that there is a future for them if they stay in school.  That's part of the village, to keep these children in school and to see that they graduate." Some seniors plan to study medicine, psychology, education or a skilled trade at a university or vocational school this fall.  Others plan to join the military. 
Among those recognized:
Dustin Curley: full academic and football scholarship to Southeastern Oklahoma State University;
Caleb Chaisson and Amber Dardar; graduating with the highest grades. 
Amber Dardar, for her many years of dancing at different functions
Eva Lovell Chouest Award:
Joshua Duthu, Jarred Eschete, Storm Fitch, Autumn Hendon;

 Joseph Dardard U.S.  Marines Award:  Stormy Parfait, Brandon Slaughter, Valine Pellegrin, and Destiny Roberts;
The Marie and John Verret Memorial Award:
Charles White;
Luster Award:
Jerrica Francis;
Charles McDonald Award:
Ashley Parfait, Jimmie Duplantis and Lauren Rodriguez;
Corine Paulk Award:
Rebecca Molinere;
Body Elite certificates:
Lose Hernandez and Jamie Billiot
Houma Daily Courier

Teen faces obstacles, graduates college
South Dakota: Savannah Sioux Greseth has accomplished something special: the 17-year old single mother is graduating from Sisseton Wahpeton College with an associate's degree in general studies. Greseth, who graduated at age 15 from high school on the Lake Travers Reservation. lived on her own and paid her bills by working as a tutor for college students.  "People didn't realize how old I was; they just assumed I was as old as them.  It did come as a shock to some people though," Greseth said. Savannah, who was honored as the 2005 Student of the Year for Sisseton Wahpeton College, has been  accepted into South Dakota State University's pre-med program.  Once she finishes the pre-med program, she plans on attending the University of South Dakota to get her medical degree.  "I want to become a doctor because there is a shortage of Native American female doctors and I believe I can help children, especially on the reservation, have a healthy start in life,"she said.

Sister grads honor late mother
Kansas: Linda Norman died two years ago knowing she wouldn't be able to see her daughters graduate from Haskell Indian Nations University.  "Education meant everything to her," said 24-year-old Alicia Malchoff, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in education.  "The last time my sister and I left her on Christmas break, we knew we probably wouldn't see her again,  but we knew we were doing what she wanted us to do -- she wanted us to get an education." Norman who was a Head Start teacher in Port Graham, Alaska, died Feb. 6, 2003. She had cancer. "We wouldn't have made it if it weren't for all the support we got from  Haskell," Alta Malchoff, 22, said. She earned an associate's degree in arts and sciences. "This is our second home. It really is family here."  The Malchoffs were among 170 students who received their diplomas during the recent graduation ceremonies.  Among the honorees:
Jessie Branson and Marigold Linton: Friend of Haskell  Award;
Joseph Claunch: American Indian Higher Education Consortium Student of the Year;
Leroy Silva: Haskell Brave;
Julie Sharp: Haskell Student of the Year;
Dempsey Micco and Barney Old Coyote: Outstanding Alumni of 2005 Award.

Record number of Native American teens in science fair
Arizona: The Gila River Indian Reservation's warm, salty waters are ideal conditions for raising tilapia fish. Annette Mendivil, 16, has made the tilapia fish the focus of a nearly year-long science project.  The sophomore from Casa Grande Union High School is among five Native American students from Arizona and New Mexico competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix. Mendivil started her science project last summer, spending at least an hour a day observing and taking care of 200 tilapia. She sacrificed basketball, vacation and winter breaks to tend, observe and analyze.  Her hard work was worth it: Annette's experiment was awarded a grand-prize awards in March at the Arizona American Indian Science and Engineering Fair.  Her tribe, the Gila River Indian Community, doesn't have a full-time biologist, she said.  So her long-term goals are to go to college, major in biology and come back to the reservation. Phil Huebner, director of American Indian programs for Arizona State University, is helping advise the students.  "We've developed a scientist," he proudly said.
Arizona Republic

Zah to receive honorary degree from ASU.
Arizona: Peterson Zah, one of the 100 most important American Indians in the last century, will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Arizona State University. Zah,  the former president of the Navajo Nation, has worked for 30 years to defend American Indian people and their interests. As ASU adviser on American Indian affairs for 10 years, Zah helped raise Native student population from 672 to 1,237 and increased retention from 43% to 78%. Last fall he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Indian Education Association.  ''Peterson Zah is the living national treasure of the Navajo Nation, a senior statesman to all Native Americans, and one of Arizona's most prominent citizens,'' said ASU President Michael Crow. ''He is also one of ASU's most distinguished alumni.''  In 2002, Zah received the Pierce-Hickerson Award for outstanding advocacy and promotion of justice for American Indians. He also has received honorary doctorates from Colorado College and the College of Santa Fe. 
IndigenousNews Digest 1179       

Port Angeles Native American counselor wins national award
Washington: Michelle Charles has been named Counselor of the Year by  Catching the Dream National Native American Education Foundation. The Native American counselor at Stevens Middle School helps the school's 85 Native American students improve their academic achievement. Since Charles started in 2002, the school's Native student performance on Washington State tests has drastically improved. A greater percentage of Native students passed the reading, writing and science tests than the total state student average.

Recalling Ancient America's Forgotten History

Missouri: History books often emphasize how young this country is, especially compared to those countries in Europe or Asia. But the American heartland has an ancient history, too. When Europe was in the Dark Ages, American Indians were making sculptures in today's Oklahoma, carving decorated pipes in Tennessee, and crafting elaborate banner stones for spears in Iowa.  From 800 to 1300 AD, the settlement at Cahokia along the Mississippi River was home to 20,000 people -- larger than London in the same era. Ohio, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama also were home to notable indigenous communities. Even so, few people have heard of them.  "That knowledge has not yet reached our schools, grade schools, high schools," said Richard Townsend, the curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. "This isn't just Indian history. It's part of our collective human history."
Artwork: Cahokia National Museum Society

Students' find digs up concerns on handling of ancient remains
Colorado: During a school outing, students from Dayspring Christian Schools unearthed human bones in the Crow Valley Campground. The students were exploring the historic campground when they came upon a portion of a skull, a lower jaw, some vertebrae and a couple of pieces of arm bones. Students collected them in a bag and brought them to a teacher, who called authorities. While researchers are thrilled with the find--which appear to predate any known American Indians who once lived in northern Colorado -- the students may have trespassed on private land and illegally dug into an ancient burial ground before taking the bones.  "There were a number of improprieties here,"  said Robert Brunswig from the University of Northern Colorado.  This incident is hardly an isolated one, Brunswig added.  It's becoming more common for American Indian artifacts to be accidentally unearthed as development pushes onto undisturbed land that was once home to different tribes. Most Coloradans don't know they are trampling on sacred ground and violating laws when they uproot bones from an ancient tribe, Brunswig said.  State archaeologist Susan Collins will try to trace the lineage of the bones.  "We are sensitive to the concerns of Native American people, who view ancient burials as sacred, and we will attempt to determine cultural affiliation and consult with potential claimant tribes," Collins said.

Members Of American Indian Studies Program Committee Resign
Iowa: All seven members of Iowa State University's American Studies Program advisory committee have resigned. The members say the way the program is being handled  promotes the "devaluation of ... American Indian people."  The committee says administrative actions have stalled program development.   "Our decision is based on the fact that the American Indian Studies Program in just two short years has fallen from one of national status to one that is a disgrace to both Iowa State University and Indian people across the nation," a letter to ISU's president read. Resigning committee members criticized the school's decision to move the program to the new Center for American Intercultural Studies. They said American Indians aren't comparable to other groups in the new center.
H-Amindian Listserv

House Kills Bill To Guarantee Professors' Academic Freedom
Colorado: A bill designed to protect professors from political pressure was voted down in Colorado's House of Representatives. The bill was introduced after  University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill compared some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis.  Defeating the bill  "is to protect those institutions that we value, it's to protect our kids we send there and to protect Colorado's reputation," said Rep. Bill Cadman. Had it passed, the bill would have protected free speech rights of professors, researchers and students. It also would have barred the use of political or religious views in considering rewards, promotions or discrimination claims.
H-Amindian Listserv

Volume 1  Volume 3

 Native Village Home Page

Native Village is published with the generous help and support of friends, listserves, and online publications.
Without you, Native Village would not exist.  Megwich to you all.

To join our mailing list and receive news update reminders, send email address to:
To contact Native Village staff, email:

Native Village Linking Policy
Our research, study and resource collections cover a lot of Internet territory! We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate "kidsafe" and appropriate. However, Native Village does not control the content found on third-party sites, so we are not always aware when content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information, please contact us immediately.  In addition, please be aware that each linked site maintains its own independent data collection, policies and procedures. If you visit a Web site linked to from Native Village, you should consult that site's privacy policy before providing it with any of your personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Native Village Gina Boltz

All rights reserved