Native Village Youth and Education News
December 1, 2008 Issue 192 Volume 2

Crow version of the Nativity
by Fr. John Giuliani 

 "When a child is born, it is kept indoors for four days. Then it's taken outside and presented to the Creator and is given a name. At Christmas time, the same is done with the baby Jesus."
                                    Rebecca Martin, Acoma Pueblo


PBS to do documentary on Cherokee language program
Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma: A program that teaches the Cherokee language to Cherokee children will be featured in a PBS documentary, "We Shall Remain."  Producers and a film crew visited the Cherokee Language Immersion School which has 58 students ranging from 3- to 8-years-old. They also interviewed Principal Chief Chad Smith and others.  "We Shall Remain" is a 5-partdocumentary scheduled to air in April. The series will cover major turning points in relations between American Indians from the 1600s - early 1970s.

Boy allowed to wear braid to school after all
Louisiana: Curtis Harjo is a five-year-old Native American child who wears his hair in a neat braid down his back. Like many Native Americans, his family believes that hair should only be cut as a symbol of mourning when a loved one dies.  Curtis's school superintendent, Galye Sloan, said the braid violated school dress code and must be cut.  The Harjos appealed, and Sloan then said Curtis's braid could remain, but only if it were worn in a bun.  To the Harjos, this still required Curtis to hide his religious beliefs, so they approached the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and NARF (Native American Rights Fund). On November 21, the Harjos won their case.  Curtis's braid may remain.  “We just wanted Curtis to be able to go to school without prejudice,” said Joni Harjo, Curtis's mother.  “It might seem to some people that Native Americans are gone, but we are not. We are still here, and I think we just had to open the school’s eyes to that. It is very important for Curtis to be able to go to school and be himself. We are so happy.”

Tribal school offers culturally relevant curriculum
Michigan: The Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe Public School Academy is a charter school through Northern Michigan University. It is also an Office of Indian Education Programs school located on trust land near the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians reservation.  Of JKL's 450 students, 67% are American Indian. JKL's learning  and teaching environments focus on their Native American culture. “Having native culture as part of our lesson plans is unique," said Carolyn Dale, curriculum director. "It doesn’t apply for every lesson, but in many instances a cultural connection is made.” JKL opened in 1994 as a K-6 school. It now serves students up to grade 8.  “When I first came here I remember looking through the MEAP [Michigan Educational Assessment Program] scores and seeing low single-digit numbers. Now when you look at our MEAP scores, they range from 80 to 100 percent. Our staff and students have worked hard but it is also about being in touch with your culture and being comfortable with that. We find that is a big part of their achievement; in many grades our Native students are scoring slightly higher than non-native students. I attribute that to community, to the way Sault Ste. Marie has embraced our Native culture as well as the things we do at school.”  JKL is among 20 of the state's 229 charter schools which attained the highest across-the-board averages on MEAP tests.
The Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe Public School Academy:

California Charter Schools Serving Low-Income Students Outperform Similar Public Schools, Analysis Shows
California: More families are choosing California's charter schools as an alternative to low-performing inner-city schools. According to The API (Academic Performance Index),  “charters are doing [their] job well, outperforming most traditional public schools that serve children in poverty." The API is a public school ranking system based primarily on state test scores. All public schools are expected to score 800 out of 1000 points, or make a 5% yearly growth toward that target. The API's recent charter school analysis focused on schools where at least 70% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.  More than 3,000 public schools fit their guidelines. Among the findings:
The state's
80 "veteran" charter schools open for five or more years have average scores of 708;
The average public school scores ar
e 689;
The average score is
667 for all active charter schools;
12 of the state's top 15 public schools catering primarily to poor children are charters;
The highest API score —
967 — was earned by Oakland's American Indian Public Charter. It has a poverty rate of 98%.
American Indian Public Charter:
Read the report:
animated graphics: Heathers Animations

Club's creation gives SHS students a chance to learn about heritage

North Carolina:  After nine years of trying, a Native American Student Association has been established at Scotland High School in Laurinburg.  NASA is an organization that serves the community and educates members about American Indian history and culture.  More than 90 Scotland students have already joined NASA, and dozens of applicants are waiting for approval. "Young people listen. You're born Lumbee, and you're going to die Lumbee," said Lumbee Tribal Chairman Jimmy Goins during the opening ceremonies. The group is expected to be one of the largest students organizations at Scotland High.

Chickasaw student music compositions performed at Kennedy Center 

Washington D.C.:  Classical music compositions by three Chickasaw students drew thunderous applause at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Compositions.  The Oklahoma youth -- Wyas Parker, Courtney Parchcorn and Kate Duty --  were part of Classical Native, a series of recitals, concerts, and discussions at the National Museum of the American Indian. Their music was composed during the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy.  “One of our primary goals in developing the arts academy is to help students realize the range of opportunities available to them,” said Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. “This kind of experience can help them understand those opportunities are within reach and inspire these students, and others, to focus their energies in pursuit of their goals.  Courtney Parchcorn’s mother, Francine Parchcorn, said  the event was a life changing experience for her daughter. “Her music, I know that it’s real, and to hear it played here by such a talented quartet, it’s hard to describe, really,” she said.
animated graphics: Heathers Animations

Cultural passion that runs deep
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan: Tashina Emery-Kauppila is the current Miss Keweenaw Bay. Her native name, Misanaquadikwe, means “Clearing of the Sky Cloud Woman.” And Tashina, a 15-year-old sophomore at Baraga High School,  does reach for sky -- her resume is longer than many twice her age:
She is the president of the KBIC Youth Council;
She has traveled to Italy and plans a trip to Ireland in 2010;

Tashina is active in basketball, volleyball, track, swimming, cheerleading, chorus;
She belongs to the Future Entrepreneurs class and the International Club.

“We had to raise all the money by ourselves and learned to be responsible,”  Misanaquadikwe said of her trip to Italy with several dozen classmates.  “At least 15 of us are going to Ireland in 2010 , and we’ve been selling cookie dough, pizzas and candy bars.” Tashina's dream of becoming Miss Keweenaw Bay 2008 began years ago, so she joined a regalia class at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College.  KBIC elder Diane Charron taught Tashina how to design and create native clothing, including the blue and green regalia worn at this summer's powwow.  Misanaquadikwe has also learned to make jewelry, medallions, and soon, moccasins. 

 Tashina continues soaking up her KBIC heritage with an eye toward the future. She believes native youth have a burning desire to learn their tribe’s culture and heritage on many levels. Tribal elders and other concerned people can help. “We need encouragement and it is super important to learn about our culture so we can pass it on to our younger generations" Misanaquadikwe said. 

Teaching Tools Foster Science and Diabetes Education in Native American Schools
Washington D.C. "Health is Life in Balance," is a new curriculum launched by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Health is Life integrates science and Native American traditions to educate students about diabetes, its risk factors, and how nutrition and physical activity help maintain health and balance in life. "Health is Life in Balance" is free to K-12 schools across the United States.
"Health is Life in Balance":

College guidebook targets underserved students
The Center for Student Opportunity helps first-generation, minority, and low-income students with their plans to attend college. CSO has released a new publication called "College Access & Opportunity Guide." The guide highlights more than 225 colleges and universities with programs geared for these students.  The guide also includes material developed with KnowHow2GO. 2Go is a national college access campaign created with Lumina Foundation, the American Council on Education, and the Ad Council.  COS will distribute more than 100,000 free copies of the guide. It may  also may be purchased online.

IsumaTV creates Inuit Language and Culture Institute
Nunavut: Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk has announced the creation of the Inuit Language and Culture Institute on IsumaTV. The 5 year, $25,000,000 plan is to install high-speed broadband and public access studios in every participating Inuit community. This new media will preserve, promote and revitalize Inuktitut language and culture in the face of 21st century challenges. IsumaTV/ILCI is scheduled to launch on  April 1, 2009.

animated graphics: Heathers Animations

[Indigenous Peoples Literature] Digest

Students connect at new center
Utah: Cozy couches, computers and a large television fill Dixie State College's new Diversity Center, a new best place for students to hang out. It serves the Native American Student Association, Black Student Association, Hispanic Student Association, and the Polynesian Club. "It feels like a second home," said Brian Johnson, president of the Native American Student Association.  "It's a place where you can go to make new friends and get help with different subjects."  The Native American Student Association has already held several meetings and is planning a spring semester powwow.  "Our philosophy, in general, is to strive higher in education and bring education back to our communities," Johnson said.  "We also want to get our culture out there.

Native American numbers grow
Choctaw Indian Reservation, Mississippi: Sonja Monk plans to become a future tribal leader for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Right now, she works full-time, attends the University of Southern Mississippi, and with her husband, is raising two children. Monk, 30, is joined by other Native Americans at Southern Miss who are happy to see their state's native population growing.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mississippi had 11,652 Native Americans in 2000. By 2006, the numbers grew to 12,280. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians  -- the state's only federally recognized American Indian tribe -- has 8,151 registered members. Tribal membership is increasing by about 100 names per year. "I try to keep in the know," Monk said about the population statistics. "It's good that we're growing and starting to get stronger."  Southern Miss identifies 50 students as Native American.  Most belong to the Golden Eagle Intertribal Society. "You don't have to be Native American to belong," Monk said. "We build a stronger native presence on campus. Native is a general term. We want to teach here about our diversified culture."
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians:

Fellowship puts Native professor on dental hygiene tenure track

Arizona: Maxine Janis, an assistant clinical professor at Northern Arizona University, will receive a Minority Faculty Fellowship. The $336,000 fellowship will help Janis obtain the skills and knowledge needed for a NAU  tenure track teaching position.  It also adds diversity to NAU's dental hygiene faculty.  Janice, who is Lakota Sioux, received her master's degree in public health from Portland State University in 2004. Previously, she served the national Indian Health Service for more than 30 years. "I am attracted to NAU because its dental hygiene students are given an opportunity to participate in clinical enrichment education experiences among underserved populations in northern Arizona," Janis said. This Minority Faculty Fellowship was the only one awarded in the nation. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation.


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