Native Village Youth and Education News

“We’ve gone away from the naturalistic way of life for the materialistic. We’ve forgotten about nature, to be thankful even for just the breath of life, for the sun coming up.”
Edna Gordon, Seneca

April 1, 2008   Issue 188   Volume 2

Head Start Official Says President Bush is Bleeding Head Start to Death
Washington DC: NHSA [National Head Start Association] officials say the Bush White House is once again trying to "dismantle"  Head Start. The President's Fiscal Year 2009 Head Start budget proposes a deep cut of 14,065 Head Start child slots.  "What we are looking at here is a deliberate and long-term effort by the Bush Administration to slowly dismantle the Head Start program in nearly the same way they tried to do starting in 2003," said NHSA Chairman, Ron Herndon. "This new attack is even more insidious because they are slowly forcing Head Start programs to reduce days of service, hours of operation, teachers, transportation and health insurance. Instead of simply killing Head Start outright, the Administration is slowly bleeding it to death in a long, painful process" 
Since 2002, Head Start funding has declined by 
The President's is $923,000,000 short of covering program cuts since 2002;
If federal support for Head Start kept up with inflation, funding should have increased from $6,540,000,000 in 2002 to $7,770,000,000 in 2008.

mr. Bush's proposed cuts of head starts students for  2009
California 523 Texas 1,047 New York 756 Illinois 614 Ohio 587
Florida (49 Pennsylvania 548 Michigan 543 Mississippi 413 Georgia 363
Migrant/Seasonal Worker program 556 Puerto Rico 
American Indian/Alaskan Native Program 358

In the meantime, President Bush's 2007 Head Start Reauthorization Act imposed hundreds of new Head Start requirements. Soon after it took effect, a Presidential veto forced Congress to impose more than $10,000,000 funding cut to Head Start for 2008. That leaves Head Start without the money needed to meet the new regulatory requirements. 

To save money, hundreds of Head Start programs have already :
Scaled back days and hours of operations Scaled back bus service
Scaled back support staff and other critical services and manpower Eliminated health insurance coverage for their teachers and staff;
Slashed operations to the bones -- and further.

NHSA says that, for Head Start to be saved:
The program needs a "catch up" amount of at least an extra $472,000,000 this year.
It then needs $360,000,000 extra over the previous year's funding level for each year from 2009 to 2013.
Take Action to Save Head Start:

Tribe working to bring Head Start into compliance

San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona: The Head Start program on the San Carlos Apache Reservation is expected to have its federal funding reeinstated soon. Several compliance violations centered on building and furnishing conditions.  San Carlos education director, Fred Ferreria, said a few of the buildings are 40 years old and give the appearance of being unkempt.  Among the Federal Inspector's violations:

After a new smoke detector was installed, the old one was not remove; 
Batteries in one smoke detector were found to be old and had to be replaced;
There was a need for light covers, completion of a ventilation duct and capping electrical wires no longer in use;
Children’s tables and chairs appeared dirty.

 Pen-pal program closes the 3,700-mile gap between third-graders 


Asa'carsarmiut Tribe of Yupik Eskimos, Alaska:  Yupik Eskimo 3rd graders from Mountain Village and 3rd grade Amish students from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania have been pen pals since October. The students have exchanged letters filled with interests and  tidbits about their young lives. Recently, the Amish youth sent their new Alaskan friends whoopie pies -- two small, chocolate cakes with a sweet, creamy frosting sandwiched between them. The pies were a hit.  Now the Yupik youth want to share their own treat with their Amish friends,  "Eskimo ice cream,"  which is made from snow, Crisco, sugar, whitefish, and berries.  "I think it's probably yummy," said one Lancaster youth.

Guitarist rocks Red Cloud in surprise visit
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D.: Red Cloud Indian School students and teachers had a surprise visit from Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam guitarist and singer. Gossard is well- known at Red Cloud -- he's contributed to new home development and providing wheelchair ramps for the elderly and handicapped on Pine Ridge. "It's not every day that a rock legend like Stone comes to a school like Red Cloud to meet with and perform for students," said Reverend Peter Klink, Red Cloud President. Gossard became close to Pine Ridge residents after he helped sponsor a home for an elder 13-years ago. During his visit to the school, Gossard spoke about his life and the importance of looking to the future.  "You can find a path through any of the things you do," Gossard told Red Cloud students. "Whether it be playing music or making something, find out what it is that you 'do' and go with it."

Dormitory cultivates Indian values for youth
Arizona:  Nearly 150 Native American students at Flagstaff High School are living at Kinlani Bordertown Dormitory.   While Native dorms once tried to assimilate Indian youth into white culture, the Kinlani staff makes sure students develop the same values important back home.  "Our culture isn't completely forgotten here," said Cherish Tso, a FHS senior from the Navajo Nation.  About 30 dorm workers provide counseling, drive students to appointments, supervise study hours, and monitor students' whereabouts. "We all take a part in raising the child, all take on the responsibility of teaching these kids as our own," said Verlinda Folgheraiter, a Kinlani academic adviser. Students also participate in cultural activities such as powwows, talking circles, dancing and rodeo clubs.  Bobbie-Lynn Black, Navajo, regards her classmates as brothers and sisters and the dormitory staff as family. "We're a big dysfunctional family, but you get through it," Black said.

Katy Folklife Festival Return
Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, Texas: Members of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe will participate in April's Katy Folklife Festival. This year's events will feature a Native American Pow Wow that includes traditional dances such as boy’s grass, fancy, straight and traditional, as well as girl’s jingle, fancy shawl and southern cloth dances. Guests can participate  in inter-tribal dances, Anasazi bean planting, a tipi exhibit and string games. The Native American exhibits are presented by the Indian Culture Club of the Big Sandy High School from the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation.
Alabama-Coushatta tribe:

Students Will Spend Spring Break Helping Others
Missouri: Nearly 60 Saint Louis University students will spend spring break exploring social justice issues facing people across the U.S. Some will travel to the Rosebud  Reservation in South Dakota where they'll do more than just build homes or stock food pantries -- they'll also live in the communities and learn about the issues residents face.   "There's a ministry of presence, of walking with the people who are struggling and standing in their shoes," said one SLU student.  Campus minister Benjamin Smyth, who helps organize the trips, said there is something that ties all of them together.  "I think that these students want to do spring break in a non-traditional way," Smyth said. "To travel and do some good while you're there is a positive thing."

MTV's Native Voice
New Mexico: Christine Begay is part of MTV's Street Team '08, part  of the Emmy-winning "Choose or Lose" campaign. Christine, who is Yankton Lakota, Arikara and Navajo,  is a citizen journalist covering youth concerns, views and issues during the 2008 presidential campaign. She is the only Native American to participate in the program. "I was looking for my first job after graduation [from Fort Lewis College]," Begay said.  "They (MTV) had an advertisement, and I just clicked it."  From about 600 applicants nationwide, Begay was one of 51 chosen. Begay travels throughout New Mexico interviewing  other for articles and video reports.  "I really think my  reason for doing this is to cover Indian Country," Begay said.  "Everybody knows the African American struggles, (but) what about us? That's always been in my mind, even when I was younger." Begay's work is posted on her profile on MTV's Think Web site.

Miami University helps Miami Tribe reclaim language
Ohio: The Miami language is one of many Native American languages threatened with extinction. Today, the Myaamia Project is preventing that by teaching the Miami language, culture, and traditions.  In 2001, a long-standing relationship between the Miami tribe and Miami (Ohio) University led to the program's creation."The Myaamia Project already has done a lot to help save our language and culture, but there is so much more to do," said one  a Miami University senior. "I didn't know any of our language before coming here, but now I have such a better understanding of where I come from and the closeness language gives a community." The Myaamia once inhabited areas of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, including the Miami Valley region where Miami University now stands. The tribe now has only about 3,400 members scattered around the country and fewer resources to save their languages."Growing up I knew I was an Indian and Miami, but I thought all Indians were pretty much the same.  Learning our language and culture was almost a spiritual awakening for me. Now when I say 'nilla myaamia,' I'm not just saying 'I am Miami,' I'm also feeling it, " said Joshua Sutterfield, Miami University graduate.
Myaamia Project:

U works to revive, retain native languages
Minnesota:  Dennis Jones teaches Ojibwe language classes at the University of Minnesota. Jones is known by his Ojibwe name, Pebaamibines. "It's part of the language revitalization movement to honor your traditional name," he said.  Pebaamibines says many native languages may be lost because the federal government imposed boarding schools on American Indian students in the 1950s and '60s.  There, students were punished for speaking their native language and forced to learn English.  When those students became parents and grandparents, they had either lost the language or were too ashamed to pass it onto their kids.  According to Diidaashimi, (student David Rodriquez), the tribes who have completely lost their language report feeling "spiritually dead" as a result.  To help save the dying languages, Minnesota has funded $300,000 for Dakota and Ojibwe language instruction. The money is being used for classes and for a teachers' certificate program which is vital to the revitalization process. "The language revitalization has begun,"  Pebaamibines said. "And that is the formula."
Hear Pebaamibines introduce himself in Ojibwe and English:

Nunavut Arctic College struggles to find nursing students - CBC

Nunavut: Officials at Nunavut Arctic College want to attract more people, especially Inuit, into the health care professions.  While most NAC programs are filled, only 5 students have signed up for 14 spots in the school's nursing program.  Part of the problem, officials say, is that many high school grads must spend a year upgrading their math and science skills to qualify for the program. To attract more students, NAC recently hired a public affairs person to do outreach work with high school students across the  territory.  It will also offer courses in smaller communities so that students - often women with children - can stay closer to home.
NAC location map:

[inuitindianart] Digest Number 2039

SFU seeks to double number of native students
British Columbia: Simon Fraser University has a bold new plan to recruit more native students and foster their success. The school will create an Office of First Nations with three full-time staff members. They will also hire more native faculty members, hold workshops,  and fund an aboriginal education handbook. Currently, the SFU Native student population is around 450 students.


Washington: Five institutions of higher education are joining efforts to deliver quality education and services to American Indians.  The presidents of Lewis-Clark State College, North Idaho College, Northwest Indian College, the University of Idaho and Washington State University have signed a memorandum of understanding. This agreement will:
Help recruit and retain Native American students;
Help students with their transition to college;
Provide focused Native American studies;
Collaborate on programs or services relating to Native American education and outreach;
Establish a joint committee, known as the Native American Collaborations Committee, that will report to each schools' provosts. 

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