Youth and Education News
Sept 7, 2005 Issue 156 Volume 2
"It is time to talk with our Brothers and Sisters of other nations, colors and beliefs. The ideas and philosophies of yesterday may be the key to the world family's future." Edward Benton-Benai, Ojibwe
Study: Native babies "babble" just fine
33% of American Indian and Alaska Native children who are 9 months old live in poverty, 25% live in households with absent fathers, and more than 10% were born to teenaged mothers. Yet a new report called American Indian and Alaska Native Children: Findings From the Base Year of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study finds that Native babies keep up with other children in their developmental skills. They even show signs of walking at a slightly higher rate. “These infant children have kept up with others developmentally despite hardships,” said Russ Whitehurst, director of the Institute of Education Sciences. “The challenge for the preschools and schools that will serve these children when they are older is to maintain their level of progress. Poverty should not be an excuse for letting these children fall behind.” The study found that 9-month old Native children are similar to the general population in early mental and physical skills, exploring objects in play, eye-hand coordination, pre-walking skills and “babbling” (the first stages of talking). The study was co-sponsored by The Office of Indian Education.
Read the report: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005116
Elders teach Catawba youth
South Carolina: This summer on the Catawba Indian Reservation, Catawba youth listened to storytellers, spoke the Catawba language, created traditional pottery and arrowheads, danced, drummed, and learned bead loom work, regalia making, and quilting. The classes were taught by tribal elders at the Catawba Mental Health Center. Elders kept the children all day beginning with an 8 a.m. breakfast. Classes began at 8:30 a.m. and activities ended at 4:30 p.m. The children took breaks or naps during the morning, after lunch and in the afternoon. ''The program is a summer program, and after school program. A culture mentor program,'' said one elder. ''The children will learn everything that is Catawba...We are trying to instill pride in being Catawba and to be proud of who we are.'' The tribe's plan is to continue the program through the school year and into next summer. Another 25 Catawba students are participating in the after-school program.
Indian Country Today
Isleta Mural Honors Elder
New Mexico: Isleta Elementary School students are painting murals from pueblo life in the Isleta Elder Center. The murals honor the grandparents who are teaching their tribe's traditions to the children. "We've wanted a mural for a couple of years to dress up the elder center's hallway," said Kathy Black, director of the elder program. "This is a great way to do it." Five students each drew a portion of the painting and dedicated it on Aug. 1. Antonio Lente, a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, helped give the group guidance on how to paint a mural.
School Textbooks Come Alive With First-Person Stories
Alberta: Three new textbooks for students in grades 10 - 12 have been designed for Alberta's aboriginal studies curriculum. All the information and stories come directly from aboriginal people. Representatives from the Metis and three First Nations treaty areas co-authored the books which were then reviewed by elders. The books share traditional Native stories, first-person accounts and profiles to present aboriginal culture and issues. A similar process was used to design Alberta's aboriginal studies curriculum, which was launched in 2000. During the last school year, 23 Alberta schools offered Aboriginal Studies 10, 20 or 30. The Grade 10 textbook was ready for students last year, while the grade 11 and 12 textbooks will hit the desks this fall.
Appeals Court Rules Against Kamehameha Schools
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop
Hawaii: A federal appeals court has ruled that the
Kamehameha Schools' policy of admitting only native Hawaiians is "unlawful race discrimination." The
ruling stated that the practice at the private school violates federal civil rights law even though it receives no
federal funding. The court said the school's admission policies are illegal because they operate for Native Hawaiians
only. Kamehameha schools were founded in 1884 through the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Bishop, the
great-granddaughter Hawaiian leader Kamehameha the Great, witnessed how European invasion was leading to the physical
and social decline of her people. During her lifetime she had seen Hawai’i’s native population decline from 400,000
to fewer than 45,000 people in 1878. Believing that education could reverse the hopelessness of her people, Princess
Pauahi created her Will as an instrument for change. The thirteenth article of her will states:
"I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal, wherever situated unto the trustees below named, their heirs and assigns forever, to hold upon the following trusts, namely: "To erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two schools, each for boarding and day scholars, one for boys and one for girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools." "I direct my trustees to expend such amount as they may deem best, not to exceed however one-half of the funds which may come into their hands, in the purchase of suitable premises, the erection of school buildings and in furnishing the same with necessary and appropriate fixtures, furniture and apparatus."
Hundreds Rally in Support of Kamehameha Schools
California: About 400 Kamehameha Schools alumni and supporters rallied to protest a recent court ruling that ended the school's policy of giving admissions preference to Native Hawaiian students. Donning red and black T-shirts reading "Ku I Ka Pono," (Justice for Hawaiians,) the protesters marched past San Francisco's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where the ruling took place. The decision struck down a century-old policy established under the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Bishop had created a trust, now worth $6,200,000,000, that funds the schools' main campus in Honolulu and other campuses on Maui and the Big Island. The schools receive no federal funding and educate 5,000 students each year in grades K-12. "The decision over Kamehameha has drawn a lot of attention, and we hope to use this attention so that folks can know that ... there are people that have Hawaiian blood and that we're an endangered species," said organizer Noelani Jai. "...decisions like this very much impact our ability to survive as a people." The recent federal court ruling said the school's admissions policy violates federal anti-discrimination laws.
Indian students suspended for having longer hair
Texas: Brothers Rodney and Skyler Burns, both 14, are part Chickasaw. On the second day of school in Los Fresnos, they were suspended for having braided hair that went below the collar. The next day they were placed on "In School Suspension," which means they are kept in a room all day, not allowed to eat lunch or mingle with other students and not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. Their mother said the school is being discriminatory. "They are punishing them over their heritage," said Deborah Burns. The school refuses to change policy, and if the boys don't cut their hair or change their hairstyle, they could be sent to the alternative high school.
LCO girl acclaimed National Student of the Year
Wisconsin: Summer Gokey, an 8th grader at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School, was selected by the National Indian School Board Association as Student of the Year: Elementary Level. The fifteen year old Ojibwe student was born with cerebral palsy and has undergone multiple medical surgeries in her young life. Gokey, who refuses any special considerations or breaks for her illness, was cited for her superb academic achievement, motivation, and resiliency in overcoming life's obstacles. “She's a very independent person,” noted Linda Schuyler, one of Summer's teachers, “and she’s a student who gets her homework done.” Summer’s passion is the Ojibwe language and culture. During an awards ceremony, Summer thanked NISBA in the Ojibwe language. “I want to be an Ojibwe language and culture teacher,” Summer said, “and I want to serve on the [LCO] Tribal Governing Board.”
Least likely to attend college, now on track for doctorate
Wisconsin: Brad Kroupa, an American Indian, barely graduated from Muskego high school. Basketball and girls were all he cared about. "My grades were bad," said Kroupa, 24. "I had a really bad attitude." That attitude changed after graduation when he visited the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. That's where his mother's family, the Arikara tribe, has lived for generations. Although Kroupa had previously visited his grandparents at Fort Berthold, it was during this trip that he realized his identity was tied to the Arikara tribe. "I started to get interested in who I was as a person," he said. "I wanted to start studying it, so I could get back to my people." Several years later, he enrolled in the University of Wisconin/Madison, began taking American Indian courses, and wrote papers about his tribe. Each summer, he went to North Dakota to help archeologists interpret Indian artifacts. Last year, Kroupa was accepted by the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program. He has begun graduate-level research on his tribe's efforts to maintain their identity. Kroupa is also applying to Yale and the universities of Minnesota, Arizona, Indiana and North Dakota. He hopes to become an Arikara historian and help keep his tribe's culture alive. "If my generation doesn't hold on," he said, "it could die."
Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program: http://www.ed.gov/programs/triomcnair/index.html
Syracuse University offers "Haudenosaunee Promise"
New York: Syracuse University will give a free college education to any enrolled Haudenosaunee student who qualifies for admission to the university. ''Education at its best is a two-way process,'' said President Nancy Cantor. ''I am delighted that we will be building -- and expanding -- upon our historical relationship with the Haudenosaunee. The benefits and opportunities to be created are truly exciting.'' The Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship Program will provide students with full-time undergraduate tuition, on-campus room and board and payment of university fees. Students must qualify for admission and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5. Students must also be enrolled members of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) nations and citizens of one of the tribal territories. These include: Akwesasne Mohawk, Ganienke Mohawk, Kahnawake Mohawk, Kanesatake Mohawk, Kantatsiohareke Mohawk, Tyendinaga Mohawk, Tonawanda Seneca, Six Nations (Canada), Oneida (New York), Oneida of the Thames (Ontario), Onondaga, Allegany Seneca, Cattaraugus Seneca, Oil Spring Seneca and Tuscarora. Based on current rates, the package is worth over $38,500 annually. The scholarships will not be limited in number.
Colorado colleges to offer Indian master's degree
Colorado: Fort Lewis College and University of Northern Colorado will join in offering a master's degree in American Indian academic leadership. The program will help Indian teachers become principals or administrators in elementary and secondary education systems. Students will attend classes at FLC via distance learning courses from UNC. The program is open to members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Southern Ute Tribe and the Navajo Nation.
Slain professor remembered
Vermont: Hundreds of mourners gathered to honor University of Vermont professor James Petersen, 51, a victim of a gunshot wound during a bank robbery in Brazil. Among the tributes were praise for his support of Vermont's Abenaki tribe. Fred Wiseman, a tribal historian for the St. Francis/Sokoki band of Abenaki, applauded Petersen for his work to help the tribe gain official state recognition. Wiseman said Petersen was not impartial to history. Instead, Petersen learned that history has sides. This discovery that allowed him to move from working on American Indians to working with them and finally for them. "This work will endure," said Wiseman.
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