Native Village 

Youth and Education News

Sept 21, 2005 Issue 157 Volume 2

"You cannot give away what you don't have. You need to give away what you have in order to keep it. Our Elders have lived their lives with a lot of trial and error. They have experienced how to do things good and they have experienced what didn't work for them as they grew old. They know things about living that we don't know. So, through the years the Elders have gained wisdom. They usually have a whole different point of view because of all their experiences. There are two ways to learn: someone tells us what they did and we do the same thing, or someone tells us what they did and we choose not to do it. Both of these paths will help us to live."  Shared by Usti Yona, Cherokee

Presidential Youth Back-to-School Day a success
Arizona: More than 800 Navajo students and parents attended the 2nd annual Presidential Youth Back-to-School Day in Window Rock. Each had a chance to win gifts, play sports, view displays and meet dignitaries, movie actors, recording artists and sports figures.  "We are empowering our youth with the traditions and knowledge of the Navajo way of life,'' said Presidential Youth Ambassador Alray Nelson. ''We, as Navajos, are a distinct people and we must know our language and culture.''

Clutching to a culture: Arapaho reinvigorate tribe
Wyoming: Arapaho tribal leaders, are working to return traditional knowledge to their people:
kThe tribe is considering immersion programs for 3- and 4-year-olds,  the fastest language learners. This will give them a solid language base during the rest of their academic career;
kArapaho language is part of the curriculum at Wyoming Indian elementary, junior high and high schools;
kThis fall, Arapaho Charter High School opened. It's designed to combat high dropout rates among reservation students. The school will focus on Arapaho language, culture and values and will use more hands-on and individual teaching styles to keep teens interested in education;
kThe Arapaho Council of Elders works to educate tribal members about traditional skills, from daily radio broadcasts of kArapaho language lessons to subsidized courses in language and nearly lost skills such as meat cutting;
kWind River Tribal University hosts immersion language camps for adults. Included are elements of religion and culture;
kThe Wind River Indian Reservation has several programs to combat its social troubles, including the Indian Health Service Center, Bureau of Indian Affairs Social Services and an Intergenerational Family Resource Help Center.

American Indian dolls to help reservation teachers

Montana: Well-Known Child is one of 10 dolls that teachers can check out from the Montana State University-Billings Library.  The dolls are dressed in clothing authentic to American Indian tribes and represent a cross section of ages and traditions.  Each is placed in a trunk that includes books, tapes, CDs and music and lesson plans about American Indians.  Teachers may then borrow the trunks and used the materials in their classrooms. Among the dolls:
Well-Known Child wears traditional Crow clothing--a red dress covered with tiny simulated elk teeth, a blue scarf circling her neck, a single feather decorating her hair, beaded belt, buckskin leggings and moccasins. She shows that elk teeth are a symbol of wealth among the Crow and are part of their long hunting tradition.
Walks With Courage has his hair styled in a traditional pompadour and wears a war shirt and beaded buckskin pants and moccasins. Walks With Courage represents military veterans and will travel with information about American Indians who fought in many wars.
Tall Bull, a contemporary Northern Cheyenne, wears sunglasses, tennis shoes and Wrangler jeans.
Eagle Hunter is a Vietnam veteran who sits in a wheelchair and can help teachers give lessons about people with disabilities.

Jane Goodall visits school on Pine Ridge Reservation
South Dakota: Jane Goodall recently visited science classes at Red Cloud and Porcupine schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Goodall, who is an author and primate researcher at Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research Center in Africa, spoke to students about the need to conserve the environment. She also asked them to continue fostering their Lakota culture and beliefs and to become leaders who make a difference in the world.
Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research Center -

85-Year-Old Elementary School Pupil Tours Manhattan
New York: Kimani Ng'ang'a waited more than 80 years for his first day of school. The Kenyan villager wants to make sure nobody else has to wait that long.  The 85-year-old man toured Manhattan to promote a global campaign in support of 100,000,000 children denied an education because of poverty.  "Look what school has done for me so far," said Kimani.  "Here I am in New York."  Kimani started his formal education in January, 2004, when Kenya's government dropped fees for primary schools. "I love being in school," Kimani told reporters. "I always wanted to be a veterinary doctor, because I love animals. That is my goal."  Kimani, who uses two hearing aids and a cane, walks about a half-mile to join his 100 fellow students at the local elementary school. He is concentrating on math, science, English and his native Swahili. He specifically wants to learn how to read the Bible.  "You are never too old to learn," Kimani said. "At no time ever say, 'It's too late to learn,' not until the day you die."

Shiprock poet makes her mark
New Mexico: Josephine Pioche, 15, and a student at Shiprock High School, was selected as one of 36 winners who earned a trip to Washington, D.C. for an International Society of Poetry Symposium. Her winning poem, “Facing Your Fears,” was written after Pioche and a friend stopped talking following an argument.  “I had a friend, I lost that friend and I didn’t have time to tell him what I wanted to,” Pioche said of her inspiration. She entered the contest because she believed that Navajo children were often afraid to showcase their talents, and she wanted to dispel that fear. “I really want to go and represent the youth. The youth don’t usually represent anything. This gives people an opportunity to see youth can achieve something if they are motivated,” she said.  "Facing Your Fears" won the Editor’s Choice Award For Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. Josephine will be inducted as an International Poet of Merit and will record her poem on a three disc CD set of 33 poems.

Provision would help schools in Four Corners area
New Mexico: The Higher Education Act is eligible for reauthorization in Congress.  First passed in 1968, the HEA provides student financial aid, institutional aid and services to help students complete high school and enter post-secondary education.  A new HEA provision  would allow non-tribal schools with at least 10% Native American students the chance to receive federal grant money.  "I hope that within the next month or so this bill with get to the Senate floor,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who wrote the clause. “Colleges with large numbers of Hispanic and African students already have this assistance, so we (the HELP committee) thought it was time to look at some provisions for native students.” Grants of at least $200,000 will help fund faculty and curriculum development, academic instruction, costs of books and materials, and support for tutoring and counseling. Any college or university in the country that meets the requirements will be eligible to apply.

More American Indian And Alaskan Native 10th Graders Expect To Earn Post High School Degrees
Washington, DC: Youth Indicators 2005, a report by the Department's National Center for Education Statistics,  presents important trends in the academic progress of teenagers and young adults.  According to YI 2005:
In 1980, 17. 2% of American Indian and Alaska Native 10th grade students said they wanted to earn bachelor's degrees;
In 1990, 21.8% said they wanted to earn bachelor's degrees;
Currently, more than 36% of American Indian and Alaskan Native 10th graders say they expect to earn a bachelor's degree;
The U.S. Department of Education report also shows more than 39% of American Indian and Alaskan Native 10th graders expect to earn graduate degrees;
Between 2000-2010, the population of 18 - 24 year old American Indian and Alaskan Natives (and multiple races) will increase 35%, the largest increase among all race groups;
Between 2000 and 2010, those in the 14-17 age group will increase by 23%, the second largest increase of all race groups.
To read more details on the findings and other related topics, download the report:

Early College High School Program Meets With Success
Washington: Early college high schools allow students to earn high school diplomas and credits toward associate degrees. Begun in 2002 by Antioch University and the Gates Foundation, five schools are now being funded, with four more in the planning stages. For the Tulalip Tribe, high school graduation rates have gone from 10% to 87%, with 33% of those graduates registering for college.  "That had not happened before," said Antioch's executive director, Linda Campbell, Mohawk.  "And this same trend is happening across the board.  Early college schools are cutting the dropout rates at least in half, with some schools like Tulalip doing even better."  An unexpected outcome of the early college program is that adults are getting interested.  "We know that elders in families influence younger members, but we have the reverse going on.  We have the youth influencing their older adult family members who have started asking if they could go to school with their kids," said Campbell.  "So the Lumina Foundation just gave us a grant to support 25 tribal adults in attending early college high schools.  It's the nation's first model of intergenerational higher education at high school sites, and what we are excited about is that the idea came from the community members themselves."
Indian Country Today

Tribal colleges awarded teacher training grants
Several tribal colleges have received grants from the Department of Education to teach and train more Indian teachers.  Those schools are:
Fort Belknap College in Montana -- $325,000;
United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota -- $603,000;
Salish Kootenai College of Montana -- $278,392 ;
Sitting Bull College in North Dakota and Sinte Gleska University of South Dakota -- $296,112;
Diné College -- 242,600.
Some non-tribal colleges were also awarded grants.

Mexico: Indigenous people make up 10% of Mexico's 106,000,000 people. Currently, seven intercultural universities operate across the country to serve Mexico's 62 native ethnic groups. These schools offer alternative areas of study including language and culture, history, alternative tourism, sustainable development, intercultural communication, law and agroecology.  The universities are located in Chiapas, México, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Veracruz, Sonora and Michoacán. Next year, four more will open in the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Puebla and Quintana Roo.  In addition to educating indigenous peoples, education leaders hope the new universities will help build respect for indigenous people who have fought discrimination and racism for centuries.
The states with the largest proportions of indigenous people are
Yucatán (59%),
Oaxaca (48%),
Quintana Roo (39%),
Chiapas (28%),
Campeche (27%),
Hidalgo (24 %),
Puebla (19%),
Guerrero (17%)
San Luis Potosí and Veracruz (15%).
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