Youth and Education News
December 1, 2007 Issue 182 Volume 2
"The hearts of little children are pure, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss." Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) Oglala Lakota
Hualapai Ethnobotany Project publishes cookbook
Arizona: The Hualapai Ethnobotany Project brings together tribal elders and young people to share tribal culture, plant, and food knowledge. Twice each month, the youth and elders travel across the reservation and their traditional homelands. Students have learned to identify and use plants from the lands. They learned how to make cradleboards and basketry. They've also learned how to cook with foods like mesquite beans, prickly pear, jerky while learning oral histories from their elders. The students and elders in the Hualapai project have published a traditional foods cookbook and a deck of playing cards featuring recipes of the Hualapai Tribe.
NativeNews Digest Number 3509
Sage shares her heritage
Ohio: Sage LaDeaux, 9, is the great-granddaughter of Sioux Chief Oliver Red Cloud. The 4th grade girl recently shared her American Indian heritage with classmates at Lincoln Elementary School. She showed items from the reservation and shared native music “When we dance in circles, our feet sort of stomp on the grass,” Sage told them. She also shared a medicine bag that would contain wild sage. “You can guess where I got my name,” she said. Cindy Suffecool, Sage’s foster mother, is ill and moved to Ohio for medical treatment. Sage’s birth mother, Rainee, wanted more opportunities for her daughter, so asked if Suffecool would take Sage along. “She wanted a better life for Sage. Isn’t that awesome?” Suffecool asked. “Her mother gave her up so she could have a better life.” As a non-native, Suffecool only has temporary custody of the child; the Sioux tribal court does not grant adoptions to non-natives fearing the children will lose their heritage. Suffecool speaks the tribal language with Sage. She also makes sure Sage has correct regalia and is involved in area powwows. They stay in close contact with Sage's family, and her uncle tapes reservation powwows and sends her movies. Suffecool is saving money to go back to see Sage's family next summer. “That would be awesome for her,” she said. “It’s time to go again.”
Chief Oliver Red Cloud photo: http://www.prministries.net/
How UVic is Encouraging Aboriginal Students to Dream Big Dreams
Australia: For the past few summers, aboriginal high-school students from the Vancouver Island area have been bussed to a the University of Victoria. These students come from remote villages of a few hundred people. For many, life has only been about survival, so the culture shock of thousands of people and big buildings is overwhelming. When the students are asked about their career plans, no one knows. This is how UVic's week-long mini-university summer camp for aboriginal students usually begins. During their time on campus, the kids stay in residence and are exposed to everything a great university offers. When the week ends, and before they hop on the bus, students will again be asked about career plans. Their interviews will be videotaped.
Nixyaawii students connect with past
Oregon: For three months, small groups of students at Nixyaawii Community School have been interviewing tribal elders and documenting the information. Each project includes three interviews: asking about childhood experiences; the teen years, and dealing with adulthood and the future. "We had one group who was really excited about the information that they were getting because they've never really asked these questions to their grandparents before," said one educator. High school senior, Isaiah Welch, was especially interested about the dramatic life changes the elders experienced. "They went through changes from living off the land to living in houses, and having to go to school and learn a foreign language," he said. He described elder's story of one Celilo Falls, once a prominent fishing and trading outpost for tribes. It was destroyed by The Dalles Dam in 1957. "He remembers when ... there was a boy down there who was 7 years old, and he fell into the falls," Welch said. "And there was about seven families who had different fishing areas, and they tried catching him with their nets, but they couldn't catch him. And he fell into the swift water and some guy got him with his net." Students learned audio and video editing and are using those skills to create a final multimedia presentation. The finished projects will be on display at Tamastslikt Cultural Institute beginning in December.
Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and photo credit: http://www.tamastslikt.com/
Miss Teen Lumbee's crown stolen
North Carolina: Alexis Rising's hand-made shawl, moccasins, regalia, and silver crown have been stolen from a car in a mall parking lot. The solid silver crown depicts the Lumbee crest. It is worn with a traditional Lumbee dress, once made from gingham and old feed sacks. Alexis, 15, wears the regalia at educational events and powwows. “She was devastated...” said Rising's mother. “She is really without everything. She lost so much in just a moment." The stolen items are not covered by her insurance. Anyone with information about the missing Indian wear is asked to call the Lumbee tribal office at (910) 521-8602.
Miss Teen Lumbee: http://www.lumbeehomecoming.com/teen.html
Takini School wild horse program helps youth
South Dakota: Takini School is located on an isolated area of the Cheyenne River Reservation where there is little for youth do. Ten wild horses were adopted by the school in a program to help give youth direction and responsibility in their lives. The yearlings will require a lot of groundwork before anyone can ride them. Phillip Whiteman Jr., Northern Cheyenne, will teach the students traditional methods of training horses. Whiteman calls his method the medicine wheel model to natural horsemanship. Like American Indian people, Whiteman says, the horse is a circular thinker. He looks to the center of the circle to balance himself. Students can also learn to balance themselves from that circle and apply the lessons to school, social life, sports, and families. Students' comments:
"I like working with them [horses]; they are very neat, a neat creature. When I'm working with them, it's like I'm in a different place. It's just me and the horse, the whole time." Christian, 10th grade.
''I don't know a lot about it, but I do know how horses think now. I know that they think, not about talking, but with sign and body language.'' Christian, 10th grade.
''This will teach us patience and responsibility and how to be focused.'' Kiko,11th grade.
''I have learned how to communicate with horses, and with other people." Taten, student .
Other reservation districts wish to adopt some horses as well. The horses are descended from herds brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The Cheyenne River herd began in 2001 when the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe acquired them from Nevada in 2001. The original 82 head grew to a herd of 300, much larger than tribal pastures could sustain. The Tribe tried to acquire more land, but the deals fell through. As a result, most of the wild horses are now up for adoption. Otherwise, they will starve. Takini School is asking for donations of hay or money to buy hay for the horses that are in dire need of food.
Takini School: http://takini.k12.sd.us/
Takini School: http://takini.k12
Banner World of whiz kids
Arizona: Phoenix recently hosted the 29th annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society national conference. More than 2,000 Native students and those with careers in engineering and science attended the 3-day AISES gathering. Also attending were recruiters from major companies such as Intel and Google. Events included a career fair, student workshops, panel discussions, and speeches from renown speakers. The tribes ranged from Inupiat Eskimo and Athabaskan from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks to Oneida, Hopi, Anishinabe and Choctaw.
"There's a lot of job offering that goes on here. Last year I attended the conference in Detroit and was able to get an internship out of it." Rueven Jim, freshman, Fort Lewis College.
"I want to find a job and come back to the community. There's petroleum in the area, it would be good to come back and help people back home." Jim, 18
"My AISES connections got me to Intel. Now I'm giving back to the Native community, being out here at the AISES conference and helping these students." Elmer Roanhorse of Intel
"There was a teacher there who doubted me. It became so that I just wanted to succeed to prove him wrong." Karlette Chief, Ph.D. in hydrology and water resources, former Miss Navajo.
"You have to really be interested in what you are doing to go to grad school. I didn't like what I was doing at first, I thought it was boring. But I was really only scratching the surface. As time went on I became more and more excited by what I was learning." Aaron Thomas, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, tenured professor.
"... first I want to go to Diné College to learn more of the Navajo language. I feel I need to make that connection so that I can continue toward my goal of helping my people. It seems that the older Navajo people especially respond better when you speak to them in Navajo." Heather Yazzie, senior, Dartmouth College.
"Be willing to ask questions. At Stanford I was shy - I was a good student, I did every reading assignment and attended classes, but still didn't get good grades. After one class where I received a poor grade, I asked the TA what I did wrong, she said I had to participate more in discussion in classes. I realized that I quickly had to develop that skill in order to succeed at Stanford." Karlette Chief, Ph.D. in hydrology and water resources, former Miss Navajo.
"Voice your ideas. be inquisitive about whatever field you're pursuing. The more questions the more direction you have in what you study." Karlette Chief, Ph.D. in hydrology and water resources, former Miss Navajo.
"There's so much out there, open your eyes. The rez will change, but it will always be there... " Anthony Marquez, Navajo, graduate student
"You need to give back, but you only have these chances once. Take all the education and things you see back with you. Don't go home just because you're homesick - everyone gets homesick." Anthony Marquez, Navajo, graduate student.
AISES website: http://www.aises.org/
Montana: Salish Kootenai College is among the most successful tribal colleges in the United States. SKC opened in 1977 in an abandoned school with a handful of classes and less than 50 students. Today, Salish Kootenai serves more than 1,100 students on a 140-acre campus in Pablo. It offers eight bachelor's degrees in a range of fields, associate degrees in many more, and certificate programs from highway construction to dental-assisting technology. Joe McDonald, SKC president for 28 of its 30 years, remembers when the school moved to Pablo. “Originally, our campus was just a small building,” McDonald says. “It had a kitchen, cafeteria and classrooms... We put the building in back of the tribal office so we could share their parking lot.” Today, two new buildings, a performing arts center and a special events center with a 2,700-seat gymnasium are being built. SKC may soon offer its own graduate degree, field intercollegiate athletic teams, and apply to join the Frontier Conference.
List of Tribal Colleges
Interest in Native American studies grows at BSU
Indiana: College students nationwide are showing increased interest in Native American Studies. In the past few years, students working toward a Native American Studies minor at Ball State have grown from very few to 12 students, said Colleen Boyd who oversees the NAS minor. "We have a plan to revitalize the minor, bring it into the 21st century," Boyd said. "And classes are filling up." In addition to the NAS minor, Ball State will add more electives focusing on Native American culture. A new faculty advisory board, which includes faculty of Native American descent, is helping select the courses. Students are also showing more interest in Ball State's chapter of the Native American Student Association. Similarly, Indiana University's NASA chapter was resurrected in 2006.
Trick or Treaty DVD sparks fears at Haskell
Kansas: Linda Warner has been President of Haskell Indian Nations University for only eight months. She is making a lot of small changes across the campus, and University students are concerned. Some of these concerns are included on a DVD titled “Trick or Treaty,” which began circulating on the campus on Halloween. “I’ve cried every time I watch it,” said Connie Hudson, a senior in American Indian studies. “Trick or Treaty,” is a 30-minute documentary that accuses former Haskell President Gerald E. Gipp of trying to shut down Haskell in the 1980s. It also has a short segment, “Parallels of a Dictatorship,” that implies Warner is trying to do the same. “Trick or Treaty” questions some of Warner’s changes including:
Why she took the football concessions away from students;
Why faculty and students can’t send campus wide e-mails;
Why Warner’s executive assistant was appointed as an adviser to the student newspape;
Primarily, students are concerned about a rumored increase in student fees from $210 to $1,000. They fear this raise would cause decreased enrollment and risk closing the university.
Warner said she wishes those behind “Trick or Treaty” had talked to her before circulating it on campus. “If you had a real concern, you would come in here and ask me or you would stand up and say, ‘I think X, Y or Z." But they are not doing that. So somebody is encouraging people to be sort of almost terroristic in their tactics.” The original “Trick or Treaty” was made by some time ago by James Mountain Chief Sanderville. Although he isn't responsible the section about Warner, he thinks it is “wonderful” the DVD is being watched. “People need to know the history of Haskell,” he said.
See Trick or Treaty: http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2007/nov/12/15933/
Law students celebrate Native American Heritage Month
Washington, DC: The Native American Law Students Association at George Washington University recently hosted Lawrence Baca, Pawnee, as a speaker during Native American Heritage Month. Baca's speech focused mostly on the Indian sports mascot issue. "The prevalence of these racist mascots is inextricably linked to the basic human rights that many Native Americans are not welcome to," Baca said. "Countless native people cannot obtain loans from banks or live where they want to due to the negative stereotypes these mascots encourage." Baca said many schools have become racially hostile places because of American Indian mascots He's a strong supporter of multicultural education. "Multicultural education is so important in college because the development of cross-cultural competencies is basically essential for future careers," Baca said. "Every student should engage in activities like this."
National Association for Multicultural Education: www.nameorg.org
Sen. Johnson, Rep. Pomeroy Introduce Tribal School Construction Bill
Washington DC: The Indian School Construction Act would address the federal
government's responsibility to repair, renovate, and replace tribal schools.
Introduced by two senators, the proposed legislation will:
* Allow individual tribes to issue 15-year bonds;
* Authorize the federal government to create an interest bearing escrow account to repay the principal owed on the bonds;
* Provide tax credits for tribal financial partners to pay off the interest on the bonds.
The Indian School Construction Act would not interfere with the any tribe's sovereign immunity. Instead, it pushes the federal government toward fulfilling its treaty agreements with Indian tribes.
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