Native Village 

Youth and Education News

November 1, 2006 Issue 173  Volume 2

"[Sovereignty is] the nearest and dearest, No. 1 issue in Indian Country. It's not something that was given to us. As tribes, we see sovereignty as something we've always had." Jacqueline Johnson, National Congress of American Indians

In the Mix: "Native American Teens: Who We Are"
[Editors Note: Native Village was honored to assist in this project]
What's it like to be a young Native American today? Teens from throughout the United States share their stories in this "IN THE MIX" special co-hosted by rap star and film actor, Litefoot. Shot around the country, the program features a champion lacrosse player from western New York, a Grammy-nominated flute player from rural Idaho, and short films made by teens in Alaska and Washington State. A group of young leaders from cities and reservations also weigh in on the issues that affect them everyday—common misconceptions and stereotypes about Native Americans; how they balance traditional culture with contemporary concerns; and their hopes for the future.  This IN THE MIX  segment, "Native American Teens: Who We Are"  will air on many PBS stations the week of November 18.
In the Mix:
Pam Benson, PBS Producer

Lakota Circle Village to use home schooling model for language teaching
South Dakota: In 2007, the Lakota Circle Village will become a Lakota immersion school for children ages 5 - 12.  The village is a  project of the Lakota Language Consortium, a nonprofit that promotes language preservation.  ''On this reservation there is no program that is successfully creating fluent speakers,'' said Leonard Little Finger, co-founder of LLC.  ''The only way it's going to happen is if it's community-based, community-assisted, and [we] find a way to be able to give that child as they progress in life the same kind of recognition they would get in a different school.'' The school will operate on a ''home education'' model, without state accreditation.  Little Finger said accreditation ''will come eventually,'' but that the current state standards for Lakota education are too European-based to be useful.  At the heart of their plan is an old controversy: evolution versus creationism.  ''We are creation-based,'' Little Finger said firmly. Though the school will offer social studies, science, language and math - all from a Lakota perspective - the core of the program will be spiritual teachings.  The Lakota Circle Village will emphasize ''knowledge acquisition'' in a setting that stresses mutual respect, not individual achievement. Students will attend classes six days per week and have 900 teacher-contact hours per year. The Lakota Circle Village will be located in Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Kickapoo school excelling with innovative programs
Kansas: Kickapoo Nation School is the only tribal school in Kansas.  It receives funding from the federal government based on the number of Indian students with CDIB cards which verify a student's Indian blood.  KNS students typically come from four tribes -- Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, Iowa and Potawatomi -- but students from other tribes and non-Indian students are welcome, too.  The school is widely recognized for at least two of its programs: Family and Child Education, and bilingual education.  Family and Child Education, or FACE, has been implemented in 38 schools across the country.  FACE provides family literacy services to about 80 parents and children ages birth to 5 in their homes and at the school.  ''It's about parent and child time, or learning how to learn together,'' said one tribal member. ''It's a lot like Head Start, but they have the parent element with it.''   Kickapoo Nation School is also the state's only public school with a bilingual program focusinng on an American Indian language.  The program's goal is to make sure the Kickapoo language doesn't die. ''The tribal language isn't surviving because it's not spoken in the home anymore,'' said Superintendent Ken Tarrant\. ''This truly is one of the missions of the school, along with math, science and reading.''

Life lessons come to the classroom for Prairie Island students
Minnesota: A life lessons pilot program has been initiated by the Prairie Island Community Council.  A team of teachers, professionals and elders bring life lessons to area public schools.  K-12 students who are tribal members are taken from their regular studies once a month to participate in the program. The program shares the Dakota culture and the importance of our environment.  It also focuses upon life skills such as healthy eating, self-esteem, making good choices, finances and budgeting, and choosing colleges.  Parents are also invited to attend.   At the end of the year, students, teachers, and presenters will evaluate the program. If the evaluations are favorable, the program may expand to include other students. ''We are expecting the community will see this as a positive move to help youth develop and get additional training,'' said Dannie Harjo, project coordinator.
Indian Country Today

Native youth seek roots, self through leadership camp
Alaska: About 40 Native youth attended this year’s Latseen Leadership Training Camp in Juneau.  “Our youth are no longer raised in the traditional way,” said Barbara Cadiente- Nelson, from the  Sealaska Heritage Institute. “This camp focuses on rooting them in place, reconnecting them to who they are in history. It is important to know your past in order to go forward.”  “Latseen” means “strength” in the Tlingit language.  Camp events focused on strengthening three Rs: rigor, relevance and relationship.   Campers began each day with a martial-arts-like “freedom dance” at 7 a.m. They also tended to graves at the Native Graveyard on Douglas Island, prepared meat, rendered seal oil, and learned the traditional way to cook salmon—wrapped in leaves and baked in the ground.  “Our scholars envisioned this camp to build up Native youth and train them to be tradition bearers,” said Cadiente-Nelson.
Students' comments:
“I’ve felt disconnected since I left. This camp helped me remember who I am, where I come from. It’s something I wish I could have participated in when I was in high school.”  Jennifer Hanlon,  21
“We’ve learned a lot from the elders ... how to carve a dagger and how to build a smokehouse. We dissected and smoked fish, and learned how to prepare other traditional foods.”  Tiffany LaRue,  15
Each student earned four college credits for attending the camp: one credit in Tlingit language, one in physical education, and two in Alaska Native history.

School Thrives Under Tribe
Oklahoma:  Sequoyah High School was built in 1871 as a home for Civil War orphans. It later became Sequoyah High School, an Indian boarding school and a last resort for education.  In 1985, the Cherokee Tribe began investing their time and federal funds in the school.  Thanks to that involvement,  youth are now flourishing at Sequoyah High.  A Bureau of Indian affairs study rated it the best BIA school in the country.   The school's athletic teams have piled up championships in basketball and cross country, and its football team is currently undefeated.  Nearly 400 students attend Sequoyah High, including about 150 who live in dorms.  Most are Cherokee, but about 25 other tribes are represented as well.  The school operates on federal funds, but the tribe pays for after-school programs and supplements teachers' salaries.  The school is just one example of how the tribe uses federal resources wisely, said Cherokee Chief, Chad Smith.
Sequoyah High School:

H-Amindian Listserve

ESF launches Native Peoples Center
New York: Robin Kimmerer wants every scientist graduating from SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry to understand issues facing Native Americans. She wants students to leave with a knowledge of treaty rights, environmental justice and native sciences.  Kimmerer just might get her wish.  Robin has been named director of a new Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. The center is the only one of its kind in the Northeast. It will draw on both native wisdom and conventional science to help protect and restore our environment.  "What makes this center unique is the bridge between Western, scientific knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge," Kimmerer said. "This is a way to increase our ability to learn from each other and work together to solve environmental problems." The Center for Native Peoples and the Environment will focus on education, research and public outreach. New courses will include indigenous issues and the environment, ethnobotany (the plant lore of indigenous cultures) and traditional ecological knowledge. The first new classes begin in spring 2007.  SUNY will also will create a minor: Native Americans and the Environment.

Haskell crowns homecoming queen

Kansas: Melinda Adams is the 2006 Haskell Indian Nations University homecoming queen.  Adams, a San Carlos Apache tribal member, was selected from nine students. She was voted the honor after a speech and an interview on her knowledge of Haskell history.  “I’ve been going to school here for four years,” Adams said, “so I know a lot about the history.”  Melinda, who is an environmental science major, was nominated by her American Indian Science and Engineering Club. She is also a four-year starter on the university’s women’s basketball team.

National Science Foundation grant supports training of next generation of Lakota Linguists
Colorado: In the Fall of 2007, The University of Colorado Department of Linguistics will be offering full support to three Lakota speakers for three years each.  The support will enable the grantees to study for the Master of Arts in Linguistics and document everyday Lakota conversation. The project hopes candidates will find careers supporting efforts to keep Lakota alive. The project is led by Prof.  David S.  Rood and has support from the Lakota Language Consortium.

Yellowtail tabbed as MSU endowed chair in Native American Studies
Montana: Montana State University has named Bill Yellowtail as the new holder of the Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies.  Yellowtail, a Crow Indian,  plans to develop curriculum and leadership activities that center upon the future of Native peoples in the West and on "personal Indian sovereignty."   Yellowtail  says individual sovereignty differs  from tribal sovereignty.  "... individual sovereignty has to do with a mindset and point of view of building  your own world, charting your own destiny, being in charge of your own self,  your family and your future." Yellowtail is the second occupant of the MSU endowed chair in Native American Studies.  The first was Henrietta Mann, chair emeritus, an world recognized Indian educator and member of the Southern Cheyenne Tribe.  Mann is currently a special assistant to MSU President Geoff Gamble.
MSU News

Convention sees donations, youth programs
California: The National Congress of  American Indians has concluded its national convention in Sacramento.  This year, the NCAI established the Youth Ambassador Leadership Program which recognizes the strong leadership skills of Native American youngsters. "Native youth are collaborating in ways that will  benefit all of us in the future, and this program will only enhance the way in which they coordinate their efforts to improve the lives of their peers," said  NCAI president Joe Garcia.  Each year, one male and one female will be selected to act as the public face for the NCAI's youth commission.

Meet this year's  ambassadors
 Patricia Carter, Nez Perce, is a sophomore at Northwest  Indian College.  "The implementation of this new program is exciting.  Our strength is our diversity within the leadership program," Carter said.  "We all  have various ideas and have the drive and passion to implement new initiatives such as creating a multimedia campaign to fight drug and alcohol abuse and push  for stronger possession laws.  We can educate other youth about NCAI and Indian Country initiatives."
Quintin Lopez, Tohono O'odham, is a high school senior. "For the next two years as a representative, I will express my  true feelings and those of the youth," Lopez said.  "They should be heard.  I will  do more with Native youth and have them be more outspoken about who they are and  where they come from."
Meet the under-ambassadors
Marrisa Corpuz,  Tlingit-Haida, is a freshman at University of Alaska Southeast. "This is  a wonderful opportunity for me to reach out to youth on a national level and a personal level.  I am very excited to see the issues that we will be dealing wit  and to assist in creating solutions," Corpuz said.  "I know that I am working with three wonderful Native youth and with the emergence all of our individual  strengths we will make a difference and impact on Indian Nations.  I can't wait  to get out and hear the voices of the Indian youth of America.  I can assure you  that we will represent Indian Youth across the nation to the best of our  capabilities."
 Nick Stranger, Confederated Tribes of the Colville  Reservation, is a high school senior.  "I look forward to this opportunity  to learn more about politics and the political process in Indian Country,"  Stranger said.  "I've always been active in sports so this is something new that  I can do.  I'm interested to learn more about Native issues."'

Governor General [Honors] Aboriginal youths with the Aboriginal Role Model Awards
Ontario:  Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada,  recently presented 12 Canadian Aboriginal youth with the National Aboriginal Role Model Awards. Each year, the NRMA Program celebrates the accomplishments of 12 Aboriginal role models, ages 13-30, who come First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
The National Aboriginal Role Model Awards for 2006-2007:

Alexander Angnaluak:
Alexander, 13, is of Inuit and First Nations descent and lives in Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta. He is involved in a variety of sports, enjoys science classes, and recently won first place at the Treaty Six Science Fair.  Alexander plans to attend post-secondary school for environmental sciences.
Alisa Blake: 
Alisa, 28, is  from Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories.  Her ancestry includes Gwich’in, Inuvialuit and Métis.   Alisa is enrolled in a  Professional Pilot Training Program and hopes to fly planes for her community's local airline.  Alisa's inspiration is her 10-year-old son.
Shane Byrne:
Shane, 21, is from the Innu community of Natuashish, Newfoundland and Labrador.  He is a recreation assistant, coach, and has earned medals in judo, volleyball and table tennis.  Shane is eager to share his culture and Innu-aimun language with other young people.  He hopes to someday compete on Canada’s National Men’s Volleyball Team.
Alberta Eashappie-Prettyshield:
Alberta, 19,  is Assiniboine from Carry the Kettle First Nation, Saskatchewan. She can speak Nakoda.  Alberta is a jingle dress dancer and was named "Senior Princess" of Carry the Kettle Pow Wow.  She is an aspiring actress whose television appearances include “Moccasin Flats” and “Corner Gas.” Alberta hopes to become a teacher or marine biologist.
Chelsea Lavallée:
Chelsea, 15,  is Métis from St. Ambroise, Manitoba, and has been an honour role student since 2001.  She dances in a youth Square Dance Program which performs at local and provincial events. Earlier this year, Chelsea received the National Métis Youth Role Model Award in the “Young Métis Leaders” category. She hopes to become a veterinarian.
Terry Lyall:
Terry, 30, is an Inuk originally from the community of Nain, Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador. Terry was very involved in his community.  He has volunteered with the fire department, recreation department, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Citizens on Patrol program. Terry graduated from the RCMP Training Academy and currently serves as an   RCMP in Ottawa, Ontario.
Daniel McKennitt:
Daniel, 23, is an Ojibway from Sandy Bay First Nation, Manitoba and currently lives in Edmonton.  After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta, Daniel enrolled at the University of Alberta where he is studying to become a physician. Daniel also served as a youth advisor for an Aboriginal Youth Centre.
Aisa Pirti:
Aisa, 19, is an Inuk from Akulivik, Nunavik, in northern Quebec. He  speaks three languages-- Inuktitut, English and French -- and has learned traditional ways of surviving on the lan.  Aisa has received 30 medals and 5 trophies for Inuit games in area and circumpolar competitions, including the Arctic Winter Games.  He now attends post-secondary school in Montreal.
Megan Pizzo-Lyall:
Megan, 18,  is an Inuk from Taloyoak, Nunavut. She's served on many youth committees and is vice-president on the National Inuit Youth Council. Megan competed at the Arctic Winter Games in speed skating and as assistant captain on the women’s hockey team. She also coached a girls’ soccer team that won in regional competitions. Megan now attends the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa.
Derek Sanderson:
Derek, 17,  is a Métis from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He manages to balance his school work, a job and sports.  Derek was selected to play as the starting tight-end for his high school football team.  He also enjoys playing baseball and hockey. 
Christine Smith:
Christine, 19,  is a Métis from Wabowden, Manitoba. In 2005, she received her Emergency Medical Responders License.  Now she is an Emergency Services Intern Attendant, and recruits youth into the ambulance service. This fall, Christine will be an auxiliary member of the RCMP, volunteering her time to accompany regular members on patrol.
Caitlin Tolley:
Caitlin, 15, is Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi First Nation, Quebec. She received the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth bursary for her academic achievements, and is currently a Secondary IV student at Kitigan Zibi School. Caitlin speaks fluent Algonquin and is a jingle dress dancer.  She is involved in bantam hockey and a rock and roll band. 

The 12 winners will spend their year visiting.  First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to share their stories with other Aboriginal youths.
For more information on the National Aboriginal Role Model Program, please visit

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