Native Village 

Youth and Education News

November 2, 2005 Issue 160 Volume 2

"The old people must start talking, and the young people must start listening."
Thomas Banyacya, Hopi

NHSA: Funds for 35,000 Head Start At-Risk
Washington DC: The Head Start Program helps America's poorest children get ready to learn in kindergarten and beyond. Despite being one of the most successful programs in the federal government, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R, IL) wants Head Start funding cuts. His proposed 2% reduction ($82,000,000) would result in 35,432 fewer classroom slots -- including 500 or more in each of 23 states--and closed enrollment to at least 35,000 children students.  Among the hardest hit Head Start programs would be those serving America's most at-risk children: migrant/seasonal worker families (1,297 slots); and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (928). 

On a state-by-state basis, the 10 biggest losses would be seen in: 
California (3,870) Texas (2,651); New York (1,928) Illinois (1,552) Ohio (1,487)
Florida (1,391) Michigan (1,374) Pennsylvania (1,207) Mississippi (1,046) Georgia (917)

The other 13 states losing the equivalent of 500 or more Head Start slots would be
Louisiana (860) North Carolina (747) Missouri (683) Tennessee (643) Alabama (640)
Kentucky (629) New Jersey (592) Indiana (557) Virginia (539) Wisconsin (529)
Oklahoma (527) Arizona (517) Massachusetts (504)

Puerto Rico would also lose 1,467 slots.

Do your part: Help save Head Start:

Remove Your God From Our Schools, Mohawks Urge
New York:  In the 2,100-student Salmon River School district, students can study Mohawk language and history.  The U.S., Canadian and Mohawk flags fly at equal height outside the building.  Now a group of Mohawks and other American Indians want the Pledge of Allegiance taken out of their schools.  This happened after the school board got a complaint about the Iroquois Thanksgiving Address, which includes a reference to "the Creator." The school board decided to stop daily school broadcasts of the Address after a lawyer said the word, "Creator" could label it as  "a prayer."  "We are going to ask them to remove the pledge," said Colleen Farwell, a parent who filed a federal lawsuit seeking to put the address back in the school day.  The suit does not call to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance, but parents may take the issue to school officials.  'If they are willing to leave the address alone we're willing to leave the pledge alone."
Read: The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

CanWest Interactive

Cultural connections
Alaska: Nicole Lewis, 15, was surprised by how little she knew about Native culture when she took an Alaska history class at her high school.  The Inupiaq teen grew up in the urbanized Mat-Su Valley, far from the subsistence-reliant Alaska village of Noorvik where her mother was raised.  Lewis's mother married a non-native and rarely talks about her Inupiat Eskimo culture.  And, although Lewis has visited Noorvik, she doesn't know her family's language or traditions.  "I want to know a lot about my culture like everyone else does," she said.  Sarah Scanlan, vice president of First Alaskans Institute, said Nicole shouldn't be embarrassed.  "A lot of our kids have been in her shoes," she said. "They don't learn about  their culture in school, and they don't hear about it enough at home."  Recently, as a youth representative, Lewis joined 1,000 Alaska Natives at the annual Native Elders and Youth Convention to learn more about her Inupiat heritage.  The two-day conference brings together past and future generations of Alaska  Native leaders to discuss issues of concern, including substance abuse and  preservation of traditional knowledge.  In 2004, there were only 7,000 Alaska Natives age 65 and over compared to 54,000 under the age of 19.  "You can hear the urgency in the elders' voices when they talk about the importance of preserving Native languages."  Scanlan said.  She sees a growing movement among Native youth to revive their Native language  and dance.   "Forty years ago you wouldn't have had dancing in school, but now the youth  are really demanding cultural learning take place so they can maintain a  connection with their homes," she said.  As the first day of the convention, Lewis was enthralled by the movements of the Inupiat and Yupik Eskimo performers.  "It's something I don't usually see," she said. "I did it once when I was in  fifth grade, but I don't know any of the movements."  She said that her attendance at the conference left her invigorated and emboldened.,1413,113%257E7244%257E3096619,00.html

Tunica-Biloxi recognized for hurricane  relief
Louisiana:  The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe recently learned that Tribal Chairman, Earl Barbry, will receive an award from the National Indian Gaming Association Conference. THe award is in recognition of the tribe's generosity in helping hurricane Katrina and Rita  victims by establishing shelters for evacuated families and students, providing school supplies for  new students, and giving extra supplies to teachers. "The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is committed to building  better communities through compassion and assistance, whenever possible," said Ernie Stevens, NIGA chairman.  "This project is an example of the tribe's enterprise providing assistance in a most efficient and effective way to hundreds of school children throughout Avoyelles Parish."  Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and its Paragon Casino Resort partnered with National  Relief Charities to provide assistance. (

Browning teacher honored
Montana:   Leo Bird, a science teacher at Browning High School, was honored with the 2005 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.  He received his $25,000 educator award in a surprise ceremony at the school gym.  More than 600 students, teachers and Blackfeet tribal council members gave Bird a standing ovation. Bird, an enrolled Blackfeet born and raised on the reservation, integrates tribal culture into his astronomy class by using Blackfeet stories. He also promotes Indian education across the state, helps with an after-school program, runs a summer science institute and is helping the University of Montana  create a peer leadership program for chemistry students.   "He works tremendously hard for students as well as his culture and being a role model," said school principal, Janet Guardipee.   Only 100 teachers nationwide are selected for the Milken award each  year.  Bird will be recognized with the others at an education conference  in Washington, D.C.

Schools Unsure how to Use Indian Taxes
New York:  During the summer, New York's Oneida Nation sued Madison and Oneida counties,  several towns, and six school districts in which it owns property. The Oneida Nation, who considers themselves sovereign and untaxable, is challenging taxes and assessments they have paid on those lands.  Recently,  five of those school districts received more than $1,130,000 in 2005 taxes from the Oneida Indian Nation.  However, school superintendents are not sure they should count on the money in the 2006-07 school year.  "If I were building a budget today, I would have to build it without this money as a revenue," said Canastota Superintendent Fred Bragan.  "A lot is hinging on the litigation going on now.  We still don't have any answers for prior or future years.  All we can do is wait and see." 
H-Amindian Listserve

Haskell students recognized for actions in fire
Kansas: Four Haskell Indian Nations University students who helped save people from an apartment fire were recognized during a recent memorial service.  Zachary Noline, Adam Washington, Lumhe Sampson and Joseph Anderson are credited with noticing the fire, alerting sleeping tenants and calling 911. The students had been watching TV and playing video games in the early morning hours of October 7 when they noticed a "weird orange reflection" on the front window. I said ‘I wonder if that’s a fire,’” Anderson said, “And all four of us got up to look. When we saw the fire — it was already on the second and third floors, curling around the balconies and onto the roof — we all just took off running. We were pounding on doors and yelling ‘FIRE!’‚ and telling people to get out.” Three people died in the blaze, and two students were displaced. The four were given Pendleton blankets during a memorial service for Yolanda Riddle, a member of the Navajo Nation and Haskell graduate who died in the fire. The blankets are a sign of honor.

  The apple falls close to the tree
Missouri: Osage tribal member, Alexandra Stock, learned traditional dances, cooking, and music while living on her tribe's Oklahoma reservation.  Stock now follows another tradition by becoming a third generation family member to attend the Kansas City Art Institute.  “What’s cool about my family is just that it was never weird for us to get together and draw,” she said, “ which, I think, to a lot of people is kind of strange.” 
A The tradition began with her maternal grandfather, Carl Ponka, who graduated from KCAI in 1965 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture. Since then, he has worked as a teacher, museum director, and exhibited his art across the world.
A Alexandra's mother, Wendy Ponca, graduated in 1982 with a B.F.A. degree in fiber. She works with mixed media and traditional Osage designs, such as blankets with intricate beadwork.  Her career as an artist and teacher has taken her to many places, including the Institute of the American Indian Arts.
A Other family members have attended KCAI including her father, the late Peter Stock; her aunt Heidi Stock Mixson; her maternal grandmother, Barbara Furr Ponca; her paternal grandmother, Sarah Stock; and her mother’s cousin, Norman Akers.
Growing up around artists pushed Stock to follow the same path, she said.  “I’ve always been around art and artists, so [enrolling at an arts school] seemed like the natural thing to do.  We’re all artists here...I’ve never met so many interesting people before, and I’ve been around artists all my life.”  During her first year, Alexandra  hopes to explore printmaking, painting and sculpture before she decides on a major.

Eight Young Women Vie For Title Of Miss NCAI
Oklahoma: Eight Native women from Alaska, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington are vying for the title of Miss National Congress of American Indians.

Contestants include
Brooke Grant, 19
Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in California
Student at the University of California, Davis
"Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and pursue a higher education."
Mali:ya Juan, 18
Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona,
Student at the University of Arizona in Tucson
"Learn what you can from your elders because they won’t always be around."
Candice Parker, 17
Comanche Nation
Student at Noble High School, Oklahona
"Healthier youth for a healthier tomorrow."
Reylynne Williams, 23
Akimel O’odham  (Pima), Arizona
Student at South Mountain Community College and Rio Salado College
"Enjoy life and become a positive leader for your community."
Jolee Marie Isturis, 18,
Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska.
Student at the University of Alaska, Southeast
"Be strong, be happy, and smile!"
Rebecca Payne, 22,
Athabascan residing in Oregon
Student at Portland Community College
"Have as much faith in yourself as you do in your family and your people."
Laila DeRouen, 22
Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians in California
Student at Santa Rosa Junior College
"Learn your language, traditions and bylaws so you can run your tribe someday."
Shaylene Marchand, 19
Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation in Washington
Student at Eastern Washington University
"Education, education, education! Alcohol and drug free is the way to be!"

See contestants photographs:

Barrow college president named AFN Citizen of the Year
Alaska: Edna MacLean, president of Ilisagvik College in Barrow, has been named co-winner of the Citizen of the Year Award by the Alaska Federation of Natives. President of Ilisagvik College since 1995, Edna earned a doctorate from Stanford University, has twice been named AFN's Educator of the Year, and was a tenured professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has also published information on Inupiaq language and culture and wrote an Inupiaq-English dictionary. Sharing the award with Edna is Joseph Upickson, an Inupiaq leader who died of lung cancer this year.

Library receives grant to help conserve Native American inventory
New York: Cornell University Library has received a $250,000 federal grant to help preserve its Native American Collection. The grant was provided through the Save America's Treasures program.  "I'm delighted that Cornell University has received this federal award, which will allow for the proper preservation of its incredibly fascinating collection of Native American documents and Materials," said Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).  Cornell's Native American Collection includes 40,000 books and extensive archival records, and is considered among the most distinguished collections of its kind in the United States. Valued at $8,300,000, the collection documents the history and ethnology of native people of the Americas from the Colonial period to the present.

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