Native Village 

Youth and Education News

May 1, 2006 Issue 167  Volume 2

"It’s what you’ve done that’s worthy, not how many possessions or how much wealth you have."   Scott McGowan, Chippewa

Officials make strides in effort to preserve Keres language
New Mexico:  Laguna Pueblo and State Education officials have signed an agreement allowing the tribe to select tribal members to teach Laguna language and culture to students at Laguna-Acoma Middle/High School.  The signing was termed a true historical event because of the impact these teachings will have on the tribe's youth, both today and in the future.  "This really is a significant step,"  said Laguna Gov. Ronald Johnson.   "Language is important to the retention of culture, our way life.  It's not only how we dress, it's how we eat, how we worship. "  Fourteen students from LAHS attended the ceremony and were asked by tribal leaders to tell their peers about the future plans.  "This really benefits the future," said Geoff Kie from Laguna Middle School.  "This is going to help generation after generation and will help keep the traditions of the tribe alive."

Austrian students tour Black Hills
South Dakota:  Last summer, four Rapid City high school students spent a week in Austria and Germany.  Last month, Austrian students and teachers traveled to South Dakota   where Lakota families, teachers, and students opened their homes to them. The 22 students and 2 teachers from the Graz International Bilingual School spent a week of tours, socializing and attending area events. This student exchange was directed through Central High School’s Lakota-Austrian Youth Exchange Program.  The program has dispelled  many myths the Austrians have about Indians.  “It’s surprising, but a lot of the students we met in Austria thought we still lived in tipis and wear buckskin clothing,” said Susana Geliga, who founded the exchange program in 2004.   Geliga said the Austrian group toured the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Wounded Knee, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Deadwood and a powwow at Black Hills State University. They also hiked in the Badlands and Custer State Park.
Among the comments:
“It is such a fruitful experience from both sides of the world.  [The Austrians] have never seen buffalo before. We went hiking in the Badlands, and they (the students) were like mountain goats.”  Elisabeth Polzleitner, Graz International Bilingual School teacher.
“The host families have shown wonderful hospitality.” Elisabeth Polzleitner, Graz International Bilingual School teacher.
“The landscape is different. The people are different. The way you live your lives is different.”
Julia Kosmus, Austrian student.
“We’ve been everywhere. It has been a really good experience.  Dorothy Marko, South Dakota student.

Tribal School Waits for Insurance Settlement from St. Paul Travelers
South Dakota: The South Dakota Crow Creek Tribal School is in danger of closing. On April, 2005, fire destroyed a student dormitory on the campus.  The school's total loss was about 6$4,500,000.  Now tribal members are waiting for St. Paul Travelers insurance to pay the final $2,600,000 it owes them from the insurance claim. The tribe and school used its own money to build temporary dormitory buildings and a kitchen area so the school could operate this year.  That money was spent in anticipation of getting the insurance settlement.  Unless the insurance dispute is settled, the school might be unable to make payroll on May 3.  Without payroll, the school might have to close two weeks early.  "All along it was our goal to make sure the students at our school had a safe setting, an educational setting that we could operate for over 600 students so they could be safe. We accomplished that,'' school superintendent Scott Raue said. "We are here today because of the fact that the insurance carrier has not, in my estimation. done good faith in what they promised they would do.''  St. Paul Travelers advanced some money to the school, but school officials say the insurance company still owes them. Since the Bureau of Indian Affairs provided $1,300,000 to help Crow Creek build temporary dorms,  SPT believe that money should be credited towards what it owes the school.

  Donate trailers to tribes
North Dakota: 90,000 Native American families across the nation are homeless. During a Senate budget hearing, U.S.  Sen.  Tim Johnson said 20,000 mobile homes not being used by Hurricane Katrina victims should be moved to Indian Country. "Rather than allow these homes to go to waste, they can be used immediately in native communities, not only for housing but also as additional classrooms for reservation schools, whose facilities are in desperate need of repair," Johnson wrote.  Lillian Sparks from the National Indian Education Association agrees. "Right now, a lot of our students are being forced to receive their education in nonstable and nonpermanent structures," she said.  "When they're coming from homes that are also unstable and poor conditions, and then we're asking them to receive their education in poor conditions as well, what kind of message are we sending to our children?"  Ryan Wilson, also from NIEA , summed it up this way at the Senate budget hearing: "The backlog (in school projects) is becoming a first-class crisis.  And, again, our young people are attending second-class schools at rates that should never happen here in America."

Company charged with defrauding Indian schools
Washington, DC:  NextiraOne, a  Houston-based networking company, has pleaded guilty to defrauding the E-Rate program.  NextiraOne was being subsidized by the government to serve many low-income schools, including schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Nextira was ordered to pay a $1,900,000 criminal fine and to reimburse more than $2,600,000 in fees to others. "These fraudulent schemes rob funds used to assist the neediest schools and libraries across the country," said attorney Thomas Barnett.  Ten companies and 11 individuals have been charged as a part of an ongoing investigation into fraud in the E-rate program.

College Student Selected for NAJA Board of Directors
Christina Good Voice,  (Muscogee Creek), joined The Native American Journalists Association Board of Directors.  The 24-year-old University of Oklahoma student is an Associated Press intern and a former staff writer for the Cherokee Phoenix and Oklahoma Daily.  Good Voice said she is honored and thrilled about her selection.  "As a scholarship recipient, NAJA has helped me with college expenses for the last three years. Now that I am about to graduate, I am excited to be the representative of the NAJA student membership," she said. Christina plans to seek input from student members to help better serve them.   In addition to creating the student board position, NAJA has approved a charter policy to help college groups create student chapters. A group of students at the University of Montana is currently petitioning for chapter status.  NAJA currently has 106 college and 142 high school students enrolled as members.

Student Of The Year
Montana:  Joe Caye has been named Indian College Student of the Year by the Montana Indian Education Association. Caye, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, is a junior at the University of Montana majoring in computer science.  Caye has also spent three years assisting the American Indian Student Services, an important campus resource for Indian students.
H-Amindian Listserve

  American Indian group seeks space
Indiana:  The American Indian Student Association at Indiana University is searching for a new home.  Spring floods destroyed the group's books, posters, and historical items stored in a small 6-by-7 foot space shared by another organization.   Rebecca Riall from the Native American Graduate Student Association believes the flood might help novitiate IU to bring a full-fledged American Indian cultural center to campus.  "We are the only major racial group on campus not to have our own cultural center," Riall said.  "We need to bring it to IU for future generations."  Having a cultural center is especially important to American Indian students, NGSA co-chair Joseph Stahlman said.  Many American Indians come from small, close-knit communities where they have a certain role.  "When American Indians move to a university, they can lose their identity," Stahlman said.  "They feel lost, and sometimes they end up going home."  The NAGSA is currently working on gathering community support,  Riall said.  They are writing proposals and seeking grants and funding. If all goes well, Riall hopes that they will have a cultural center by next fall.  "We'll be able to have meeting spaces, a computer lab and a library for research," Riall said.  "Right now I have over 100 books that people have donated in my attic because there's nowhere else to store them."

Tulalip Tribes offer reservation for state university
Washington: The Tulalip Tribes want the state to build its next public university on the Tulalip Reservation.  State Rep. John McCoy, a tribal member, said three potential sites have been identified. Two are within Quil Ceda Village, the tribe's commercial village. The Evergreen State College in Olympia, which opened in 1967, is the last public four-year school to open in the state since Western Washington University in 1899

Medical students bound for immersion in aboriginal communities
Ontario: More than 50 students from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine will participate in a one-month immersion program in remote First Nations communities. "No other medical school in North America incorporates a required cultural immersion experience into a student's learning,"  the NOSM says on its website.  Dan Hunt, vice-dean at NOSM, said doctors who plan to work in the North must be immersed in the communities they will serve.  "Both the aboriginal community and people who study cultural competency tell us to truly understand a culture, one must actually live there for a little while," he said.  Students will visit communities served only by physicians who usually fly in for a few days at a time.  They will spend 10 -12 hours a week in clinical settings such as urgent care wards, after-hours clinics and youth and school programs.  They will also spend up to 12 hours experiencing feasts, hunting, fishing and other community activities.  The students are also expected to keep up with their studies through teleconferencing sessions.

Between a rock and a hard place
Kentucky: Dr. Kenneth Tankersley teaches anthropology with a native American focus at Northern Kentucky University.  Recently his documentary, "Big Freeze,"  aired on the National Geographic channel.  But this is not a first for Dr. Tankersley.  In addition to his National Geographic credits, Tankersley's films have aired on the Discovery Channel, BBC, Animal Planet and PBS.  Most of his documentaries center upon the relationship between indigenous people and Mother Nature.  "My purpose is to make sure that the viewing public does not have a stereotype of the indigenous people of North America," said Tankersley, who is a legally enrolled Cherokee. "I feel a responsibility to educate people about how they can help save the planet."  His projects have led Tankersley around the world many times. He has crawled through caves, climbed down the rocks of waterfalls, squeezed through dangerous places, and ventured over deep pits and ledges he calls "slip-and-dies."  Dr. Sharlotte Neely, director of NKU's Native American Studies, says Tankersley exemplifies the traditions of his culture.  "Everything about Ken embodies the traditional Native American value system of extreme generosity and putting others before himself," she said.  Neely added that, unknown to many, Ken spends his own money to help bring American Indian speakers and performers to NKU.   Tankersley is currently working on his next documentary in which he explores the lives of the indigenous people in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

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