Native Village 

Youth and Education News

March 1, 2006 Issue 165  Volume 2

"Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh." Larry P. Aitken, Chippewa

Race matters to 3-month-olds, study finds
By the time children are three months old, they often prefer the faces of members of their own race.  Psychologists say this favoritism may be the first glimmers of racial prejudice.  However, researchers also found that babies exposed to people of other races don’t develop this early bias. This discovery may help guide future research on how to counter racism, suggests Yair Bar-Haim and his colleagues from  Tel-Aviv University, Israel. The findings show:

White babies raised in white environments averaged 6% more time looking at white faces;
African-raised counterparts spent 23% percent more time looking at faces from many races;
Black babies raised in mixed-race environments spent equal amounts of time looking at whites and blacks.

Bar-Haim's report suggests “significant exposure to other-race faces can block the development of own-race preference. ”

Diabetes prevention books gifted to students
New Mexico: Last December, students from Isleta Pueblo Elementary School walked next-door for a seasonal visit with the elders at Isleta's Senior Citizen Home.  Once students arrived, the elders surprised each child with a copy of the new book, ''Through the Eyes of the Eagle.''  Eagle is one of four books written for Native children, ages 5-8 by, Georgia Perez of Nambe Pueblo. The books, which promote exercise and healthy eating,  features a young Indian boy, Rain That Dances.  Rain learns from the wise eagle that long ago, Indian people worked hard to take care of each other and had strong, healthy bodies.  ''Now as I fly around,'' the eagle said, ''I do not see the children playing and moving around like the Old Wise Eagle used to see ... [but instead are] eating foods that are not good for them. That makes me sad.''  '  Besides "Eagle," the other three books are ''Knees Lifted High,'' ''Plate Full of Color'' and ''Tricky Treats.  All are illustrated by Patric Rolo, Ojibwe, and Lisa Fifield, Oneida, and have been featured in USA Today.  The Center for Disease Control is printing 200,000 books to be provided-- free -- to Indian children across the nation, but the books are  "relevant for children of all ages and ethnic groups,'' said Anita Blankenship of the CDC.
Student Comments
'We really liked it!''
''Don't eat so much candy and I should get more exercise.''
''I need to eat more good stuff, like vegetables.''
''We've all gotta listen to the elders.''
ead "Through the Eyes of the Eagle " yourself!

Area schools have plans for Indian studies

Montana:   About two dozen schools have been awarded state grants to enhance Indian education.  These " Indian Education for All " grants enable the schools to create Native American curriculum for future use by all Montana schools. "Everyone is doing something different to help the rest of the state," said Jaclyn Ironmaker, grant program director for Rocky Boy Public Schools. "We create something that other tribes can use as a framework and plug in their own  tribe's culture."   Indian Education for All requires all public schools to teach the cultural heritage of the state's Indian tribes.  Among the current schools and projects:
Rocky Boy Public Schools, $12,476,  2-year grant:  Funds will be used to fill two trunks, one for Pre-K students and one for grades 7-12, with materials to help educators teach the history of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.  Lessons include how the reservation was formed and the meanings behind the Chippewa Cree seal.
Box Elder Public Schools 12,500, 2-year grant: K-12 students are working on a cookbook that will be approved by tribal elders. Montana will publish the book for all schools in the state.  The book American will include recipes added by students and Box Elder residents.  Some recipes are diabetic friendly and use whole wheat.
Havre Public Schools $22,000, 1-year grant: Most funds will be used on two projects:  an August conference, and filming of interviews with local tribal members for DVD distribution.

Qualicum School District Students Get Lesson in First Nations Culture
British Columbia: Jessie Demerse is First Nations elder-in-residence for the Qualicum school district. An elder with the Qualicum band, Jessie enjoys teaching students about  First Nations' local cultures.   "It was really about who I was," said the 67-year-old member of the Qualicum band. "In my generation, it wasn't cool to be native, and our father brought us up saying that we would have a hard time making it if we presented ourselves as native.  So we were encouraged to get our education and fit into the white society.  I grew up in Qualicum Beach and I was the only native student going to school.  It was a tough area to grow up in because there's lots of money there."  Three British Columbia School systems participate in the elder-in-use program.  Their experiences will be passed onto those school districts participating in the 2006-07 school year.  "In our district, the elder-in-residence program is working really well,’ said Rosie McLeod-Shannon, Quali-cum school district vice-principal for First Nations.  "It creates an understanding for our First Nations kids.  It gives them a pride in who they are."
H-Amindian List serve

Tribal youth program is helping students boost grades, self-esteem
Nevada:  Studies have shown that young people get into the most trouble between the end of the school day until about 6 p.m.  Near Fallon, a youth program is helping tribal students by picking them up after school, then driving them to the center where students are helped with homework. They are also given Paiute and Shoshone language lessons, and participate in activities and games about the destructive effects of drugs and alcohol.  Over 40 children, ages 6-17, attend the after-school program.  " We've seen their report cards.  The majority of our kids have improved just by getting their homework done," said Yvonne Capucci, tribal youth program coordinator.   "We try to build their self-esteem, and just by getting their homework in helps their self-esteem.  We make it fun but make it a learning experience."  Gary Hall said the program, named PLATO, was also used during the summer.  Four 8th grade students were able to make up enough credits to advance to high school instead of being held back.  "Every kid has come up in academics and behavior," Hall said about PLATO results.

Tutor Program Offered by Law Is Going Unused
The No Child Left Behind law requires some failing schools to offer students a choice: changing schools or tutoring paid for with federal money. Yet:
In the 2003-2004 school year, 2,000,000 of New York City's public school students were eligible for free tutoring. Only 226,000 (12%) participated, and 34,055 did not complete their tutoring contracts;
During 2004-2005, only 95,500 of California's 800,000 eligible students were tutored;
During the 2004-2005 school year, only 25% (4,580) of Maryland's 19,520 qualifying students enrolled;
During 2004-2005, only 5,000 (10%) of Louisiana's 50,000 eligible students took part in the tutoring program
Education officials and tutoring companies disagree about the reasons for the low numbers.  "At this point, policy analysts are trying to figure out what's working well and what may not be working well and what needs to be changed," said Jane Hannaway from the Urban Institute, which is conducting studies on the tutoring program.  The Department of Education is advising states and school districts to do everything possible to reach parents. The DOE also advises them to describe the program as simply as possible.  However, Nina Reese from the DOE  noted that "this can be time consuming, and a lot of districts don't have the capacity to administer a program like this while administering all of the other grants they are charged with administering."

Eagle Butte teen center to raise final $1 million
South Dakota:   Running Strong for American Indian Youth will match all donations up to $500,000 for the Cheyenne River Youth Project's Teen Center.  The challenge grant will help in the Center's final construction phase.  "We need to be sure that these kids have more than a  beautiful shell of a center," said Billy Mills, an Olympic gold medalist, member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and Running Strong's spokesman.  The youth center is being built on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, one of the  poorest areas in the United States.
Running Strong for  American Indian Youth:

BDC launches the Aboriginal Youth Lending Circle
Alberta: Ponoka Outreach High School students will receive $5,000 in financing from the BDC, a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada. The money is for high school student entrepreneurs who need funding to develop business projects.  Students may received up to $1,000. "Our students show tremendous business potential and enjoy learning about entrepreneurship very much,"  stated principal Lawrence Hrycan.  "To offer them funding from BDC is one more way in which we can help them succeed." Aboriginal communities have higher rates of new business and self-employment than the Canadian average.  More than 20,000 Aboriginals are currently running their own businesses.  Increased activity means greater need for a variety of consulting and financial services.

UNITY sought for local kids
New York:  UNITY (The United National Indian Tribal Youth), plans to hold its national conference in Buffalo on July 13-18, 2006.  In anticipation of the event,  Rochester's Native American Cultural Center wants to start its own local UNITY Chapter.   "Hopefully [the National Conference] will be a major event for the group that starts here," said Martha Fahrer.   UNITY requires each chapter to perform four projects a year in the areas of environment, heritage, healthy lifestyles and community service.  "We're trying to mentor and develop future leaders.  If you just tell them everything to do, you're really not developing them," said Marcheta Davidson, who works with youth.   Warren Skye Sr., an 83-year-old Seneca elder,  says UNITY focuses on "developing  leadership, instilling cultural pride, building community (and) self-sufficiency"  in Native American youngsters.  UNITY draws 1,200 -1,600 youths.

SOSU students receive grants
Oklahoma: Five Native American students majoring in education have received grants from the new Native American Excellence in Education. This year's winners are Stefany Higgs, Natalie Lawson, Jaclynne Pebley, Amber Tamez and Anjanette “Angie” Williston.  The five women's grants will total $965,248 over four years and covers costs related to tuition, books, daycare,  and  monthly allowance. In return, the recipients agrees to teach in areas where at least 25% of the population is Native American.  The Native American Excellence in Education program is a team effort between Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Choctaw Nation.

Little Big Horn College adds degree 
Montana:  This fall, Little Big Horn College will offer an Associate of Science degree in rangeland and animal sciences. Students' studies may concentrate on equine science, livestock production or rangeland management. The courses can be applied to a four-year degree in rangeland/plant science or animal science. Little Big Horn will also offer short courses and certificate programs for those not interested in pursuing a degree

Onondagas' Series to Start
New York: With the support of local colleges and organization, the Onondaga Nation is presenting a yearlong educational series called "Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future."  The free lecture series at Syracuse University will share information about Onondaga history and the important land rights action they filed last spring.  Andy Mager, of the Syracuse Peace Council, said he hopes to make this educational series a community affair."  We hope that local teachers will attend, especially those who are teaching their students about the Iroquois," Mager said. "This will give them an opportunity to get out of the books ... and learn about the issues directly from the people." Onandaga chief Jake Edwards agrees.  "We all know what condition this world is in..."  he said,  "but we can set a precedent right here in our own community."

Harvard to honor Rosebud alumnus
Massachusetts: Archie Beauvais will be honored by Harvard University Graduate School of Education during its 2006 Alumni of Color Award. Beauvais, who lives on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, was selected for his work and achievements that reflect "Growth, strength and action: honoring our commitment to communities and Individuals of color."   Beauvais, the only Sicangu Lakota with doctoral level credentials from Harvard, has worked for 20 years as Dean and Chairman for Sinte Gleska University Graduate Studies.

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