Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 1, 2007 Issue 175  Volume 2

"There are bad and foolish people in every race. You have to judge them one by one, and then you have to give them a second chance."  Imogene Bowen, Upper Skagit Tribe

Pilot Program Will Teach Mi'kmaq Language
Girl talking on the telephoneNewfoundland: The Mi'kmaq community of St. George's Bay is setting up its own Mi'kmaq immersion pilot program for primary schools.  The immersion program will be similar to programs offered in Conne River and Cape Breton.  Jasen Benwah, Benoit First Nation chief, said he knows of many Mi'kmaq families ready to enroll their children in the program.  The ultimate goal, Benwah said, is to have the program implemented in all area schools with a large number of Mi'kmaq students.  "I'm not saying we don't want to give our kids a modern education, and we don't want to go back in time and live in wigwams," Benwah said.  "We want to move forward, but we need to embrace our culture and history and still move forward."
Listen to Mi'kmaq words and phrases:
The Telegram

Fewer young people speak Crow, Cheyenne
A Harvard University study shares that about 54% of 11,500 Crow tribal members are active or passive speakers of Crow. However, the numbers are declining: 
Crow still is among the top five strongest American Indian languages, but the only one whose numbers are declining in the percentage of speakers;
1968, 84% of all Crow people were active Crow speakers;
10% of people 36 years old and younger speak Crow;
1% of people 15 years old and younger are Crow speakers.
The Crow language is being taught at Montana State University-Bozeman, Montana State University-Billings and Little Big Horn College at Crow Agency.
A decline in the number of Northern Cheyenne speaking their language also is raising concerns:
A few years ago,
70% - 80% of Northern Cheyenne 50 years and older spoke their native language;
A very low percentage of tribal members
30 years and younger speak Cheyenne.
Northern Cheyenne is taught on a limited basis in some schools attended by Cheyenne children.  Northern Cheyenne and an advanced class in written Cheyenne is taught at Chief Dull Knife College.

Active speakers are those who are fluent in both speaking and understanding the language.  Passive speakers are those who can understand a language, but may not be able to speak it fluently.

Anti-bullying workshops teach vital social skills
Alberta: When Janice Franklin, principal of Sister Gloria School in Alberta,  held an opening-day assembly for her 150 K-12 student last fall, the students' behavior was so horrible that she was afraid to hold another. But that was before Susan Buchanan turned up last January with her Anti-Bullying and Social Education Skills curriculum.  ''I saw a 75 percent decrease in teasing, hitting, and bullying within the first week,'' said Franklin.  Buchanan, who is of Cree descent, works exclusively with First Nations students and communities.  Her program has been used in every Canadian province and territory.  Susan uses a nonviolent approach to stopping bullying. It is about teaching positive behaviors, not about punishing unacceptable behaviors. ''The first skill I teach is good listening, respectful listening.  I teach the social skill immediately, so they know what I expect."  Buchanan has developed a list of 72 social skills that children, parents and other adults can use in everyday life.  For two weeks, she works with the community's children during the day and with the adults in the evening.  She finds her work is extremely helpful to parents.  ''I have found that a lot of parents have given up their parenting power. They let the children make decisions, and they think they are being good parents by letting the children do what they want. Even if they don't like what the child is doing, they often don't know what to do to stop unhealthy behavior.'' She cited video games as one example. ''Playing with violence is not healthy for a child, and it has to be parents who say no,'' she said.  Buchanan's business name is Clarior Consulting. ''Clarior,'' she explained, means ''clarity'' or ''brightness."   Buchanan is now eager to begin working with American Indian communities in the United States.
Visit her website:

Indian Schools Help Students Connect With Their Culture
Wisconsin: The resurgence of Indian schools is attributed in part to the growing charter school movement. The Indian Community School of Milwaukee is one of at least 150 schools in the nation designed to help children connect to their native heritage.  Two sacred plants, tobacco and sage, are in every classroom.  Outside, a sweat lodge and tepee stand ready.  And field trips include long drives to northern Wisconsin to pick and dance over wild rice.  Now ICS plans to increase student access to native languages and spiritual ceremonies. Since Logan Gott, 12, started at the school, he has learned how to sing and drum at sacred ceremonies and powwows, an honored opportunity.  "At school, people think it is just about learning,’ he said.  "But at school, you should learn things that put together your cultural, historical side with your today side, too."  At ICS, all 300 students have some kind of tribal affiliation.  Currently 53 Native American charter schools are spread across the country, 31 of which are located on non-tribal lands.
Indian Community School of Milwaukee:

H-Amindian Listserve

Heritage center's after-school curriculum includes hands-on lessons in cultural history
Alaska: The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage helps urban indigenous youth connect with their elders, cultures, and traditions. The Center's after-school programs offers visual arts, dance, media/technology, leadership or Native games that "preserve and perpetuate Native culture and languages," said Becky Etukeok, art coordinator and instructor. About 65 students are enrolled in ANHC. Almost half participate regularly while others juggle their visits between school activities like sports. Students from eight major high schools can get picked up and dropped off, but others need to find their own rides  The after-school program serves Alaska Native, Pacific Islands and American Indian students for free through funding from the U.S. Department of Education.  Among the comments:
"My belief is that every child has the potential to be a leader."  Bob Harty, program director.
"It gets me to know my tradition and meet new people."  Joleen Lane, 17
"To me, one of the most wonderful things to see happens when our staff goes into the schools to recruit, and the kids already in the program are being upfront about what they're doing.  They're seeing themselves as emissaries of their cultures. I'm old enough to remember when it wasn't so cool to be seen as Native. "Patricia Partnow, vice president of cultural and educational services.   

Poet bound for Oxford
California: Tanaya Winder, 21, a junior at Stanford, will spend spring quarter 2007 at Oxford University in England.  Tanaya, who is Duckwater Shoshone, will study poetry by working one-on-one with an Oxford faculty member.  For much of her youth, Winder lived on the southern Ute Indian Reservation. She credits her family and the Upward Bound program, a college-prep course for Native high school students, for her accomplishments.  "If it weren't for this program, which is in the midst of being eliminated due to lack of funding, I know I would not have been prepared for college," she said.  Winder, whose strong suit in high school was math, is now leaning toward law school or a doctorate in English literature.  Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Although there is no clear date of foundation, teaching at the university dates to at least 1096.

Haskell says goodbye to president
Kansas: Karen Swisher has retired as president of Haskell Indian Nations University.  Swisher, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, started on the Haskell faculty in 1996 before becoming president in 1999.  Colleagues, alumni, friends and students lauded her as a skilled educator and gracious leader.
“She has been an exceptional leader in helping us through some very difficult times.”  Jackie Mitchell, Potawatomi, and member of Haskell's Board of Regents.
“I know that she’s agonized — over very real — and very tough decisions that must be made when resources don’t match need.  But she’s never been filled with such despair that she’s allowed herself to believe that we, Haskell, are defeated.”  Venida Chenault, Haskell’s vice president for academic affairs.
“At the time the foundation had collapsed, she inherited everything that went along with that.  Despite this, she stepped up to the plate to help Haskell.”  Venida Chenault, who recalled Swisher's first term when the Haskell Foundation declared bankruptcy after then-director Gerry Burd stole more than $100,000.
During the hourlong ceremony, Swisher, 63,  received gifts from the university, students and Lawrence community members. Swisher made special mention of the tradition which allows each graduating student to write a message to be read as he/she walked across the stage. “In those statements, you hear sometimes of their struggles, but almost always about their hopes and dreams,” she said.  “They’ve had an experience at Haskell, and more and more we hear ‘I’m going on.  I’m going on to get a graduate degree."   Although she plans to relax during retirement, Swisher will remain in Lawrence and spend a good amount of time at Haskell.  
Watch video of Swisher's ceremony:

Benay honored in Montpelier    
Vermont: Jeff Benay has spent nearly 30 years working tirelessly with northwest Vermont's Abenaki and educational communities. Benay was recently honored for his work by the Vermont Legislature.  "I personally don't know anybody who's helped students in Franklin County as much as Jeff," said Rep. Carolyn Branagan. "He's worked tirelessly with kids ... You don't often find someone so selfless."  Missisquoi Abenaki Chief, April St. Francis-Merrillm agreed.   Since the Abenaki Self-Help Association hired Benay in 1979, dropout rates among Abenaki students have gone from above 70% to less than 3%.  "We've come a long way," she said. "We have children going to college now.  And Jeff was a big part of that."  Benay has served as Chairman of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs. He has also mediated and worked with others to address burial rights, recognition and other Abenaki issues. "He's been an advocate for the Abenaki for a really long time. It went far and beyond education issues," said St. Francis-Merrill.  Benay hopes that the new Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs will hire a Native American for the position.

UA Pushes For More Minority Librarians 
Arizona: Hispanics are 12.5% of the population, but make up only 2% of all librarians.   American Indians comprise less than 1% of all librarians.  However, those statistics are rising. Since 2001, the University of Arizona has offered new opportunities with Knowledge River, a master's program in library science and the only one of its kind in the country. Nearly 100 Hispanic and American Indian students have enrolled in the program, and graduates now work everywhere from community libraries to the nation's premier institutions.  However, Knowledge River faces an uncertain future.  Its federal funding ends within two years, and administrators need to raise private dollars to save this important program. Graduates say they never would have become librarians without it.
H-Amindian Listserv.

Tribal Colleges Ask State For Help With Non-Native Students
North Dakota: Most tribal college funding comes from the federal government through the 1978 Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act.  Through that legislation, the nation's 34 tribal colleges receive between $4,500 -- $5,000 per student each year. However, the funds may only be distributed to tribal members.   Now North Dakota's tribal colleges are asking the state to help pay the costs of educating students who aren't tribal members.  Of the 2,600 students attending the state's five tribal colleges, about 175 are not enrolled in Native tribes.  Many of these students are married to tribal members, are local residents with strong ties to the area, or are American Indians who don't meet enrollment requirements,  A bill introduced in the House Education Committee would grant the tribal colleges $700,000 to help educate those students at about $2,000 apiece each year.  
H-Amindian Listserve

AAC&U Chooses 18 Colleges and Universities to Lead Initiative
The Association of American Colleges and Universities has chosen 18 schools to participate in the Core Commitments Leadership Consortium. The schools will lead Phase 1 of a national initiative for personal and social responsibilities in all aspects of University operations. 
The five key dimensions forming the CCLC core of this initiative are:
1. Striving for excellence: developing a strong work ethic and doing one’s best in all aspects of college;
2. Cultivating personal and academic integrity: recognizing and acting with a sense of honor;
3. Contributing to a larger community: recognizing and acting on one’s responsibility to all communities;
4. Taking seriously the perspectives of others: taking responsibility to inform one’s own judgment and learn from other's viewpoints,
5. Become competent in ethical and moral reasoning that incorporates the other four responsibilities; use such reasoning in learning and in life. 

The 18 CCLC schools are:

Babson College, MA
Bowling Green State University, OH
California State University-Northridge, CA
Concordia College-Moorhead, MN
Miami University, OH
Michigan State University, MI
Middlesex Community College, MA
Oakland Community College, MI
Rollins College, FL
Saint Mary's College of California, CA
St. Lawrence University, NY
Tulane University, LA
United States Air Force Academy, CO
University of Alabama Birmingham, AL
University of Central Florida, FL
University of the Pacific, CA
Wagner College, NY
Winthrop University, SC

Core Commitments Leadership Consortium:
NAME Listserve

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