Native Village 

Youth and Education News

October 19, 2005 Issue 159 Volume 3

"To [Europeans] we were only human when it came to territory, land cessions and whose side you were on." Susan Harjo, Cheyenne-Muscogee

Thousands of Native children being left behind
Colorado: The National Indian Education Association says President Bush's "No Child Left Behind"  program is causing more American Indian students to give up and drop out of school.  During NIEA field hearings across the country,  American Indian tribal leaders and educators stepped forward with thoughtful testimony about the issues caused by the program.  At their national convention,  NIEA President David Beaulieu released copies of the summary report from those field hearings. He said the Department of Education ''selectively'' invited NCLB proponents to its own field hearings and did not report negative comments from Indian educators.  "The Indian voice is heard less and less in this discussion as the Native American community is only beginning to understand the impact, the consequences of [discord] between NCLB and Title VII [the Indian Education Act programs],'' warned Beaulieu. ''NCLB parts don't fit, with major disruptions in our schools that directly impact on Native culture- based education ... We need something different with a focus and respect for the political sovereignty of Indian tribes.''  Beaulieu, an advocate for programs that strengthen reading, math and language arts achievement among Native children, said students must not be blamed for a school's failure. "Kids are taking the blame for poor [yearly progress] scores and don't even want to come to school,'' he noted, criticizing the focus on testing and on classroom practice for the test. He suggested there should be a love of reading because students are interested in what they're reading. ''There's a focus on the skill of reading, and not what they're reading.''
Read the NIEA report:

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal
Washington, DC:  In a blistering report, federal investigators from the GAO (Government Accountability Office) said the Bush administration had spread "covert propaganda" about the President's education policies.  Among the findings:

  The administration bought favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies;
  Media commentator Armstrong Williams was paid for favorable education reports;
  A public relations company was hired to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party;
  The Education Department hired a public relations company to pay Mr. Williams to praise Mr. Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act."
A television story from the Education Department saying teachers gave President Bush's program for providing remedial instruction and tutoring to children " A-plus;"

The Education Department spent $38,421 for production and distribution of the video news release and $96,850 for the evaluation of newspaper articles and radio and television programs.

 The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."  The investigation was requested by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) and Edward M. Kennedy (MA)
Read the report:
New York Times

Indian schools targeted by federal budget ax
While the nation's schools are struggling to pay increased costs for teachers' salaries, energy, heating, and transporting students, the president and Congress are trimming Indian education programs.  The plan is to cut funding to BIA education programs by 12% and at the Department of Education by 4.3%.  Lillian Sparks, National Indian Education Association executive director, protests that these cuts are unfair. She said poverty, homelessness and despair continue to plague Indian children who attend schools that depend upon the federal funding being slashed.  ''A pattern has emerged in recent years where Indian education programs get smaller increases in years where overall [domestic] funding is up, and bigger cuts in years where overall funding is down,'' she said. ''NIEA is working on educating the Congress in support of the higher Senate levels and asking for even greater funding.''  Located in Washington DC, the  National Indian Education Association  campaigns to get Indian education funding restored, arguing that the federal government must live up to its trust obligations in the education to the Indian people.

Guatemala's Indians Refuse Soldiers' Help, Deal With Dead From Rains On Their Own
Guatemala: Haunted by government massacres that killed tens of thousands of Indians during the 1960-96 civil war, Indians have refused government help to recover Sutujil Indians killed in mudslides during torrential rains from Hurricane Stan. In Panabaj, residents blocked troops who had come to help dig out victims. "The people don't want soldiers to come in here.  They won't accept it," said Panabaj Mayor Diego Esquina.  The Sutujil want to reconcile the demands of tradition which require that bodies be recovered and buried exactly 24 hours after dying. "There is a very strong resistance in the name of maintaining their culture," said Rodolfo Pocop, 35, a who represents a national Indian rights group.  Esquina said community leaders have asked that the area be declared a cemetery.
H-Amindian Listserve

   Montana American Indian Tribes Donate Buffalo Meat To Evacuees,
Texas: Montana's Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes have donated more than 5,000 pounds of bison meat to hurricane Katrina victims.  Tribal leaders on the Fort Belnap reservation wanted to help victims, ..."but we are a very poor reservation,"  said Gros Ventre tribal member Janice Hawley.  "All we had to share was our buffalo herd."  The 10 sacred bison -- worth about $25,000 -- were blessed in a pipe ceremony before slaughter to provide spiritual and nutritional sustenance to the evacuees. The bison burgers and steaks were shipped from the tribally owned Little Rockies Meat Packing Co. and scheduled to arrive in Terrell for distribution to 400 evacuees.
H-Amindian Listserve

Parade journeys in  peace
Colorado: Despite controversy before the event, Denver's Columbus Day parade was peaceful. There were no confrontations, no arrests --there wasn't even any litter. The American Indians protesting their genocide after Columbus's arrival were kept behind heavy metal fences and could only yell and wave signs at the marchers.  "I'm very satisfied with the outcome," Police Chief Gerry Whitman said.  "Our months of preparation allowed citizens on both sides of the issue to exercise their constitutional rights in a safe environment."  Glenn Morris, a leader of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, noted that last year, 250 protesters wound up in jail.  "Let us say a prayer of thanks that we came back safe," Morris said to supporters at the state Capitol after the parade. (

Indian 'boot camp' will help launch political candidates
Minnesota: The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux recently hosted the first national Indian candidate boot camp. It was organized by The Indigenous Democratic Network List, a national group dedicated to recruiting, training and endorsing Indian political candidates. "We're on the cusp of something really big here," said Kalyn Free, the president and founder of INDN List.  "This is an opportunity to change the face of color and power in America. We've proved that we can turn out Indians to elect non-Indians. Now we need to turn them out to elect Indians."  The recent camp helped attendees learn the finer points of running and winning campaigns.

Creek great-grandmother deployed to Iraq
Oklahoma: Gloria Lowe is not worried about going to Iraq for the next six months.  “I’m not scared at all. I have no fear" said the 54-year-old Muscogee (Creek) woman.   "I am happy I have the opportunity to go over there. I have wanted to go ever since our troops were deployed, ” she said. Catoosa, a Financial Specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, will stay at Camp Adder. While there, she will assist Iraqi small business owners with securing contracts.  In addition to helping the Iraqi people, she wants to remind her of something she wishes all Americans were aware of.  “I’m hoping I will see a lot of the things that we take for granted here in the United States-things that they don’t have in other countries,” she said. “I want this to make me a better person. It’s awesome that I get to go.”

Study: Indian's seat belt use off Average
WASHINGTON - Barely half of the nation's American Indian motorists buckle up on the road, a figure that falls well below the national average.  In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs:
About 55% of American Indians wear seat belts, and the use rate varies widely among tribes;
Belt use ranges from 8.8% - 84.8% among sampled reservations;
Among 560 federally recognized tribes, 180 reservations can set and enforce their own safety belt laws;
The national average for wearing seat belts is 82%;
Reservations with primary seat belt laws, which allow police to stop motorists who fail to use seat belts, had a 68%use rate;
The rate was 53.2% on reservations with secondary laws, in which police can issue a seat belt violation only if a driver is stopped for another infraction;
Only about 25% of motorists were belted on reservations with no seat belt laws;
60.3% of Native women use seat belts;
52.3% of Native men wear seat belts.
"We must find a way to help Native American leaders bridge large gaps in safety belt use and, ultimately, save lives," said Jacqueline Glassman, NHTSA's deputy administrator.  Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for American Indians in the continental United States. About 75% of those killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

Native Youth Crisis Hotline to Go National
Minnesota: Native Youth ages 15-24  have a 3.3 times higher suicide rate than the national average. To offer them help and hope, the new Native Youth Crisis Hotline is officially expanding to national coverage. Now the "Honor the Youth Spiritual Run 2" is completing a six day run to spread the word. After leaving Red Lake, MN on October 19, runners will carry the Eagle Staff through the White Earth Reservation, the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Aberdeen, McLaughlin communities, and end at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Reservation, SD, where a new hotline is being set up.  Since its beginning in August, the Native Youth Crisis Hotline has accepted calls from all over the U.S. and Canada. In response to this clear message from Native youth, the Hotline is expanding staff, training, and funding to serve the need of all who call in crisis, no matter from where the call may come. The Native Youth Crisis Hotline based at Women of Nations in St. Paul, MN.               

Native People in the Southwest
New Mexico: The Heard Museum's new long-term exhibit, "Native People in the Southwest," is filled with lots of information, photographs, video footage and stunning artifacts. Included is an outdoor native garden filled with traditional food and medicine plants.  Visitors learn that during this month -- October -- Southwestern tribes used vegetation in these ways:
P Apaches gather piñon nuts ripen before they fall off the tree and eat them both raw and roasted.
P Apaches gather, boil and use hops to flavor a variety of dishes including mesquite bean flour, wheat flour and wild potatoes.
 d Tohono O’odham plant only once a year, and in October their women harvest corn, pumpkins, tepary beans, watermelons, and muskmelons.
l Pima plant twice a year, and in October the women harvest corn, pumpkins, tepary beans, watermelons, muskmelons. They preserve watermelons for use in January by burying them in the sand next to the river. Pumpkins, squashes and muskmelons are cut into strips and dried for winter use.
Y The Tohono O’odham gather left-over fruits, acorns and tubers for winter food supply.
q The Navajo traditionally considered October the beginning of the new year. They harvested pinon nuts.  Preparations for winter are made.
r The Havasupai move winter camps to the plateau to hunt deer, antelope and rabbit, and to gather piñon nuts, mescal and other wild foods.
k The Hualapai harvest black walnuts, wash them 2-3 times, then store them for winter.
D The Hualapa begin their new year at the end of October and the beginning of November. Their year, based upon the seasons and the thirteen moon cycles, are named for three seasons and three constellations. October-November is named for a constellation they identified as “hand.”
W Yavapai gather sunflower seeds and piñon nuts.   Yucca fruit is collected, the seeds are removed, and the fruit baked in the coals.
U The Quechan and Mohave harvest corn and hunt rabbits and birds.
S The Quechan hold a harvest festival.
h The Mohave plant wheat (introduced by the Spanish).
J The Cocopah harvest crowfoot grass seeds and gather ironwood tree pods.
Gina Glazco, Heard Museum

  A Back to School Warning
California: The Center for Environmental Health is filing lawsuits against makers and retailers of soft vinyl lunch boxes which expose children to harmful levels of lead. The lawsuits and violation notices are against companies that include Toys “R” Us, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Time Warner, Walgreens, and others.  Involved are many lunch boxes featuring children’s characters including Superman, Tweety Bird, Powerpuff Girls, and Hamtaro. In one Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International, the lead levels tested at 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit. “Lead exposure should not be on the lunch menu when kids’ go back to school this fall,” said Michael Green, CEH Executive Director. “There is no reason to expose children to any lead from lunch boxes. We are calling on these companies to recall these products and take action to eliminate lead from their products in the future.”
See photos of the dangerous lunchboxes:

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