Native Village 

Youth and Education News

May 4, 2005 Issue 151 Volume 2

"As a Native American youth you need to be successful in both worlds. That means you need to be successful in keeping our culture alive and you also need to be successful in the Western way of living. That means going to college and coming back to help." Tasha Norton, Hupa, Yurok and Karuk

Brain research on Indian children possible

Connecticut: Of all America's racial groups, American Indian students have the highest reading score gaps with white students. According to Elise Temple of Cornell University, student brain studies may help provide reasons, especially when learning about reading and literacy development. Temple explained that when a child forms a thought, blood flows faster and extra oxygen increases neural activity in special sectors of the brain.  In fMRI images (functional magnetic resonance imaging),  blood flow and oxygen don't reach certain brain vectors of children with reading disorders.    According to Ken Pugh of Yale University, researchers wonder if fMRI studies of American Indian students, whose cultures are based on oral traditions, would help explain the biology of Indian children with reading disorders.   “Spoken language is a biological specialization,” he said, “while written language is largely a cultural invention.” Pugh is interested in using fMRI in American Indian children but told American Indian educators, “I don’t want to get in the way.  I’d simply like to be a resource in this.”  fMRIs are a non-invasive non-radioactive measure of brain function and can be used with young kids, multiple times. The major concerns are expense, the neuroimaging machine is loud and scary, children must remain absolutely still, and small tube that they move through is claustrophobic.

Quechans dig in on education complex
Arizona: Quechan tribal members will be able to fulfill educational needs in one location after a new education complex is finished next February. The Quechan Indian Education Complex will cost $4,600,000 and sit on a 5-acre campus. Fort Yuma Quechan Head Start will occupy the central, 6,600-square-foot multipurpose building that includes kitchen facilities.  Five buildings ranging from 3,100-square-feet to 7,300-square-feet will surround the multipurpose room and have access to the kitchen. Those buildings will house the Johnson-O'Malley Indian Education Center, Paradise Day Care, Tribal Day Care, the Workforce Investment Act/Department of Labor Center, and the Higher Education/Adult Vocational Training Center. Mike Jackson, Sr. from the Quechan Indian Tribal Council, said the community promotes education to help the next generations "How do you embrace an unknown future?  By education," he said.  "We can make a change in our little world."

Little Wound School resumes classes after threats
South Dakota: Little Wound School reopened  the day after threats of a possible school shooting sent students home.  After a student made threatening remarks about the school's safety, law enforcement officers searched the school buildings and school grounds for weapons.  "A student had made references to school shootings at Columbine and Red Lake. He said that it was going to happen at Little Wound School," said Ron Duke, deputy chief at Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Public safety officers are ading protection, and Pine Ridge tribal police patrols are stopping in more often.

Girls Rescued From Burning High School Dormitory On Reservation

South Dakota: Crow Creek High School employees rescued four girls from third story room after their dormitory caught fire.  One employee crawled on her hands and knees to lead two of the girls from the burning structure. The other two girls jumped into the arms of a second employee standing on a ladder propped against the brick building.  Seven people, including the rescued girls, were taken to a hospital in Chamberlain with smoke inhalation. Last year the state's fire marshal condemned the entire Stephan campus but had no authority to shut down an American Indian school.  Crow Creek Sioux Tribe chairman, Duane Big Eagle, has been lobbying for funds with BIA and federal officials for 25 years. Last year he asked for emergency funding.  Some campus buildings date back to the 1930s.  The dormitory, built in 1962, was deteriorating and needed replaced. The school's gymnasium has remained locked up for more than a year since it was deemed unsafe by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Associated Press

Indian Youth Talk Tradition, Culture And The Future
California: Recently, 200 American Indian teens from 14 North Coast schools gathered to talk about keeping the traditions of generations past while going to high school.  Rachel Provolt and Emmilee Risling organized the daylong event to educate their peers on tribal sovereignty and related matters. Along with a video, the event included speakers, dancing and sports. "As a Native American youth you need to be successful in both worlds. That means you need to be successful in keeping our culture alive and you also need to be successful in the Western way of living," said student Tasha Norton who is Hupa, Yurok and Karuk. "That means going to college and coming back to help." The "Success in Both Worlds" conference takes place every other year.
The Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)

American Indian museum featured in electronic field trip
Indiana: Students across the country recently enjoyed a new broadcast: ''Sharing Perspectives at the National Museum of the American Indian.''  The first distance-learning event from the Smithsonian's NMAI presented diverse, contemporary American Indian people and examples of their cultures. The live, interactive field trip reached an estimated 15,000,000 viewers in 49 states. Students watching the broadcast or Web cast could call in and ask questions of American Indian museum staff. Before the broadcast, teachers could download lesson plans and preview the museum's exhibits.
Indian Country Today

Northern Cheyenne honor student lives with humility
Montana: Michael Running Wolf, a Northern Cheyenne graduate student in computer science, is the state's only recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship. "Mike's very accomplished," says Jim Burns, adviser for Montana State University's  American Indian Club. "For me, the leadership skills that Mike brings to our organization are crucial. He has the skill base and ability to make things happen. And he's very articulate. He's the man you want on your side in a difficult meeting. He's a mover and shaker behind the scenes. I have a lot of respect for him." Running Wolf credits Burns, the "close network" of the computer-science department, and a large support group -- especially his parents, Michael and Florence Running Wolf - for his success. "Education is important in my family" Running Wolf said.  His father, Michael Running Wolf, Sr., was an outspoken leader during his days at the University of Colorado-Denver, where there is a scholarship named in his honor. Running Wolf's mother has served on the Northern Cheyenne tribal council and founded a children's charity on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship will provide Wolf with an  academic full-ride through the doctorate level.

The graduates are coming!
North Dakota: The largest graduating class in the history of United Tribes Technical College will be honored during a commencement ceremony on May 6.  The class of 2005 will graduate 115 students, a 29% increase in one year. "The size of this graduating class, over one hundred, demonstrates how demand  is growing in tribal areas for higher education," said David M. Gipp, UTTC  president. "We've anticipated that by planning for an expansion of our campus  and services." Among those graduating in the field of education are:

June M. Bachler, Almont, ND
Susan R. Brady, Bismarck, ND
Johnna J. Cloud (Sisseton/Wahpeton) Bismarck, ND
Jacqueline O. Red Bird (Cheyenne River) Bismarck, ND
Debra Rhoads, Lincoln, ND
Joseph C. Strong Heart Jr. (Standing Rock) Wakpala, SD
Terri L. Upshasw (Standing Rock) Bismarck, ND
Kahnyatahawise Cornelius (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin)
Misty F. Begay (Sisseton/Wahpeton) Sisseton, SD
Mechelle A. Crazy Thunder (Oglala Sioux Tribe) Bismarck, ND
Natalie B. Estenson, Bismarck, ND
Vivian M. Hurkes (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND
Rebecca Reidinger, Bismarck, ND
Other degrees will be awarded in:

Students learn truth of Shawnees
Ohio: The Shawnee Indians were among southern Ohio's first inhabitants, but most Ohioians know little about them. Now Dr. David Lucas has put together a Native American Shawnee culture class at Ohio Southern University.  "There was this nagging in my heart, that there were all these Shawnee references, but nothing about these people, not even a museum," Lucas said. "And all of these students are going to school in a place where the Shawnee thrived and lived, and they don't even know who these people are."  Lucas's students will study Shawnee rituals, religion, history and foods. Then, in May, students will pay their own expenses for a trip to Oklahoma to meet the Shawnee people first hand.  Once there, students will meet Shawnee elders, observe their modern culture and compare it to the ancient ways studied in class. What they will experience is quite different than the feathers and leather-clad people that they may be expecting, Lucas said.

Oceti Wakan: Sacred Fireplace
South Dakota: Lakota Spotted Eagle Medicine men, Pete Catches, Sr. (Petaga Yuha Mani) and Peter V. Catches (Zintkala Oyate) had a vision of Oceti Wakan. The vision was for a Healing Center--a large ceremonial house for educational workshops, cultural events, ceremonies, Lakota language programs and other activities where tribal elders teach younger generations about the history and the beauty of the Lakota people. Located on the Pine Ridge reservation, Oceti Wakan will house small cabins where people can stay while getting help for alcohol and drug abuse. The plan also includes a Sacred Child Center for children whose parents are drinking, suspected of child abuse or neglect, or while children wait for a permanent placement in a home. While waiting for building funds, Oceti Wakan has created "Learning Prevention Using Lakota Values,"  an age appropriate school age curriculum for students in grades 3-12. The curriculum is being used in schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations.
Learn more:

NEA Honors Educator's Commitment to Teaching Native Americans, Poor
North Carolina: In July, Agnes Chavis will receive the Leo Reano Memorial Award from the National Education Association for her leadership in resolving social problems. Chavis, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, graduated from of Pembroke State College for Indians in 1944. She began her 47-year teaching career in a poverty-stricken school that served 324 poor children in the Robeson School District. Chavis pushed for children of color to attend the school and championed equal access to education, better funding, and recognition of Indian culture. She believed equal opportunities and preserving Indian heritage was instinctual and profound. "Generations have struggled to learn, despite efforts to eliminate our traditions and language," said Chavis. "Having a strong sense of yourself and your community is a great foundation for learning." Chavis's resume is full of "firsts"  including first Lumbee Indian to serve on the NEA Board of Directors, first American Indian to sit on the Board of the North Carolina Association of Educators, and numerous positions on NEA's committees and caucuses.

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