Native Village Youth and Education News

"Could I once see the day that whites and reds were all friends, it would be like getting new eye-sight."
   Piamingo, Chickasaw

May 1, 2008   Issue 188   Volume 2

Immersion program provides new hope for preserving Ojibwe language
Leech Lake Reservation, Minnesota - In the K-3 classroom at Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, the rule for teachers and students is: no English. The Ojibwe language immersion program, called Niigaane ("the ones who lead"), is the vehicle for teaching everything including reading, writing and arithmetic. Program director Leslie Harper said the idea for the school and program came out of the desperation of elders and parents.   "We are really coming close to losing our language, to letting go of it," said Harper, "and that was just too great, too devastating a thought for a few of us to face, you know?  We just said we cannot let this happen."  Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school is on the Leech Lake Reservation where the Niigaane students are the youngest group of Ojibwe language learners. They are held by all in the highest esteem.


Aaniin (weweni) ekidong _______ anishinabemong? (How do you say _____________in Ojibwe?)
Aaniin ezhinikaadeg (in) anishinaabemong? 
(What is it called? (object not alive)
Aaniin ezhinikaazod anishinabemong?  (What is it's name in Ojibwe? (something alive)
Daga miinawaa ikidon!  (Please say that again.)
Miinawaa ina gidaa-ikid?  (Could you say that again?)
Weweni ina gidaa-ikid?  (Could you say that slower / more carefully please?)
Gawiin ninisidotanziin. (What are you saying?)
Gawiin ginisidotoosinoon.  (I don't understand you.)

Mii ina gwayak? 
(Is that the way?)
Niwanendaan ekidong. (I forgot how it's said.)
Daga gagwejim!  (Please ask him.)
Gidaa-gagwejimaa.  (You should ask him.)
Daga wiindamaw!   (Please tell him.)
Daga gidaa-wiindamawaa.  (You should tell him.)
Wiindamawishin awengonen I'iw  (Tell me what that is.)
Gawiin ingikendaziin  (I don't know.)

Niigaane Program:,file=article,nid=18231.html

Head Start Director Chosen for Panel
Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Alaska:  Debbie Shuey, director of the Kenaitze Head Start, is among 22 participants on a national Head Start panel. The panel will focus primarily on American Indian/Alaska Native Head Start Programs located throughout the country. They will address specific AI/AN concerns including health, nutrition, child development, early childhood education, native languages, family and community partnerships and program design and management

Crow Agency's child advocacy center seen as model for tribes
Crow Reservation, Montana: The Child and Adolescent Care Center at the Crow-Northern Cheyenne Hospital is the first of its kind in Montana. "Having a child resource center is a good thing" said Dr.  Earl Sutherland, who helped develop and works at the center. " It pulls resources together; it makes life easier." Sutherland said it's time for all Montana tribes to do the same thing.  He's urging them to pull  together, learn from and mentor each other, and create care centers on reservations.  "The thing you learn over and over and over in Indian Country is that nobody is going to come do it for us," he said.  The Care Center streamlines the process of medical and mental health evaluations for children who may have been abused. It also works with law enforcement and prosecutors  to reduce the child's trauma .

School boards join reserve fight

Attawapiskat Reserve, Ontario: Ontario's public school boards are encouraging their 2,100,000 students to write letters to Ontario's government asking them to pay for a school for Attawapiskat's children.  Eight years ago, Attawapiskat parents pulled their children out of the town's grade school because a diesel spill contaminated the land.  The parents then moved their kids to portable school units which they thought were only temporary. Eight years later, the kids and run-down portables are still there. The wind blows through cracks in the walls; the pipes freeze, leaving students nowhere to go but home.  Each time the 400 students visit the school library, gym, computer room, etc, they must suit up in boots and coats. So poor is this setting for learning that they drop out by Grade 8, says Attawapiskat principal Stella Wesley.  "Portables aren't the whole problem, but they make children feel very isolated in a community already segregated from the rest of society," she said.  Last fall Ontario said a new Attawapisak school was in the works. Now Ontario's Indian Affairs says it doesn't have a plan or timetable at all.   Officials also said another Native community deserves a school first because their school was destroyed by fire.  That will cost $13,000,000 and push Attawapiskat school off the current waiting list.  But Ontario's schools boards disagree, and they and their students are responding.  "All children have the right to a quality education, and we want the students of Attawapiskat to know their peers care about them," said Catherine Fife from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association.
Learn more:

Students granted broadcast scholarships
Hopi Reservation, Arizona - Two Hopi High School radio students were awarded scholarships to attend a prestigious national radio conference. The students, Povi Lomayaoma and Paul Quamahongnewa, will attend the National Federation of Community Broadcasters Youth in Radio Journalism Project in Atlanta.  The Youth in Radio Project offers training  in radio journalism and First Amendment rules and rights.  It also helps students learn how to select, research, and write a story.  The Youth In Radio Project is funded by the McCormick Tribune Foundation.
Photo: Navajo Hopi Observer,file=article,nid=18038.html

Student named national scholar
Saginaw Chippewa Reservation, Michigan: Autumn "Ellie" Mitchell, a graduate of Oasis High School, has been named a 2008 national Morris K. Udall Scholar. "In the 12 years that I've served as principal, I've never been so impressed by a student," Principal Jeff Platte said. "Everybody calls her Ellie."  Mitchell, 19,  is a sophomore at Michigan State University and Honors College member. She is majoring in linguistics, including French and the Ojibwe language, which she's studied since her days in the reservation's Montessori School.    "I feel really proud to receive this national scholarship," Mitchell said. "It means that somebody is recognizing an issue that is important to me, preservation of the Ojibwe language."  Ellie is among 80 Udall Scholarship recipients.

Complaints grow against Indian education bureau
Navajo Nation, Arizona: A grassroots movement against the Bureau of Indian Education is gaining momentum.  They are supporting two former employees who filed a lawsuit against the Shiprock Education Line Office. The lawsuit claims harassment, hostile work environments, wrongful termination and misusing funds.  Educators in the Eastern Navajo and Western Navajo agencies have joined the movement.  For months Bureau of Indian Education officials have denied comment on the complaints.
H-Amindian Listserve

Tribal College Erects Small Wind Turbine
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian Reservation, ND: Turtle Mountain Community College has erected a 660 kW Vestas V47 660 wind turbine. The turbine is designed to dramatically cut the school's electricity costs which now average $300,000 per year.  With the power generated with this new turbine, TMCC expects its costs to drop by 33-50%

Lacrosse offers lessons in community, Native American culture
Laguna and Taos Pueblos, New Mexico:  Tracy Goodluck knows about the days when lacrosse was used to train Native Americans for war, solve tribal disputes between tribes, end tribal ceremonies, and just bring out the competitive spirit.  Lacrosse is immensely popular among tribes in the eastern United States and in Ivy League schools. And now students at the Native American Community Academy are proving the sport is popular elsewhere.  Nearly 50 players and coaches from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania traveled to NACA to teach young tribal members the basics of the game. "It was really neat to see a bunch of Native American students playing an indigenous game but not really indigenous to the Southwest," said Goodluck, the dean at the academy. "This is something I never thought I'd see."The Dickson group conducted lacrosse clinics at the academy and at Laguna and Taos pueblos. They also planted trees along the Rio Grande and made a walkway and garden area at the academy. "It was a decision we made as a team," said head coach Dave Webster. "Part of the commitment we're making is to make a difference on and off the field, and this is part of our learning experience."  The team also donated 20 full sets of equipment to the American Indian charter school that represents students from 45 tribes.

Sorority put on yearlong probation for Indian party
North Dakota: A UND sorority has given a year's conduct probation after hosting a party where students wore mock Indian clothing and red face and body paint.  The Dean's office says Gamma Phi Beta sorority may still participate in university events and host parties but will be suspended if they violate the school's Code of Student Life again.  The sorority must also design a diversity education program for its members.
H-Amindian Listserve

American Indian grants returned
Utah: The University of Utah has returned $2,000,000 in grants to the Department of Education.  The grants were meant to help students who want to be teachers for American Indian populations. However, the grants also required the University to invest another $1,000,000 to start the program. According to Michael Hardman, dean of the college of education, the university doesn't have the money.  "(Returning the grant) is not something that anyone at the U wanted to do," he said. "We wanted to broaden the range of students assisted, and we couldn't do that and commit to the additional million."  Dozi Lynn, a graduate student in the Native American Teacher Training Program, wonders why Native American communities and reservations weren't asked to assist with the funding. "I think this is one more example of how the University couldn't care less about native Americans on campus," Lynn said. "It is sad to see this program leave because of the difference it's made to students in the program and the communities they go to."  The Four Corner States Aid to Teachers grant would have helped provide distance learning, teacher training, and mentoring for program graduates during their first year of teaching.,op=visit,nid=18242.html


american Indian College Fund Event Celebrates 40 Years of Tribal Colleges and Honors Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Colorado: The American Indian College Fund will host a special event in Dallas, Texas, to celebrate 40 years of tribal colleges.  The Fund will also honor the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma by repatriating historical artifacts. The items include a telegram from Will Rogers.  “The Choctaw nation is honored to be the recipient of these valuable items from our past. Tribal history is very important to all generations...” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle. “The Council, Choctaw People and I are very thankful that the American Indian College Fund has ensured the return of these artifacts to the great Choctaw nation.” The first tribal college opened in 1968 when the Navajo nation founded  Diné College, in Tsaile, Arizona.

See where they are:
Tribal College map and list

American Indian Higher Education Consortium Prepares for New Leadership
Navajo Nation, New Mexico: On June 1, Carrie Billy will become executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The Navajo woman will replace Dr. Gerald Gipp from of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Gipp has served as executive director since 2001. Billy is currently AIHEC's deputy director and director of STEM development.  She has also worked in American Indian higher education circles for many years.
American Indian Higher Education Consortium:
H-Amindian Listsve

Aztecs devised sophisticated arithmetic system
Mexico: Using written symbols, the ancient Aztecs maintained an arithmetic system far more complex than previously understood.  Scientists examined hundreds of Aztec drawings in manuscripts created between 1540-1544. The manuscripts used symbols such as hearts, arrows and hand to create fractions for agricultural counts and parcels of land.  "What we thought we knew about the Aztec measuring system was a little simplistic," said researcher Barbara Williams.   "We've determined that it was more complex.  They used the four mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. But in almost all of the early societies, they could do everything they needed to do, with just those four. They didn't need square roots.  They didn't need trigonometry. " The Aztec empire ruled much Mesoamerica until Spanish invasion. Their capital,  Tenochtitlan -- with towering pyramids and amazing architecture -- was larger than any European city of the era.  Since 1980, scientists knew  the Aztecs mathematically calculated areas, but they didn't understand how it was done.

Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time
British Columbia:  Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Native children are buried in mass or hidden graves at residential schools once run by the Catholic, Anglican and United Church and the Canadian government.  Many of those children were secretly buried and never identified.  One eyewitness described how he helped bury a young Inuit boy at the United Church's Edmonton residential school in 1953. "We were told never to tell anyone by Jim Ludford, the Principal, who got me and three other boys to bury him," said Sylvester Green. " But a lot more kids got buried all the time in that big grave next to the school."  At a public ceremony, the FRD (Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared) released a list of 28 mass graves of Aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.  FRD leaders will ask the United Nations to supervise the mass graves and observe an inquiry and judicial prosecution against those responsible for the children's deaths. 

Mass Graves at former Indian Residential Schools and Hospitals across Canada
(Information provided by local residents, eyewitness accounts by survivors, and archived documents.)
British Columbia 
1.  Port Alberni: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1973).  Grave site is in hills 100 metres due west of the NTC building. Children also buried at Tseshaht reserve cemetery.
2.  Alert Bay : St.  Michael´s Anglican school (1878-1975).  Site is an overgrown field near the old building and under the new building's foundation.  Skeletons seen "between the walls". 
3.  Kuper Island: Catholic school (1890-1975).  Two grave sites: one in a field near the former building; another in a lagoon  near the main dock. 
4.  Nanaimo Indian Hospital: Indian Affairs and United Church experimental facility (1942-1970) on federal land.  Grave sites near former buildings near Malaspina College. 
5.  Mission: St.  Mary´s Catholic school (1861-1984).  Grave sites near the former girls dorm and  present cemetery for priests; larger mass grave in a mound near cemetery; graves in slopes near old school grounds. 
6.  North Vancouver: Squamish (1898-1959) and Sechelt (1912-1975) Catholic schools.  Children's graves in the Squamish Band Cemetery . 
7.  Sardis: Coqualeetza Methodist-United Church school (1889-1940) which became a Federal Government experimental hospital (1940-1969 Burial site next to Sto:lo reserve and Little Mountain school, possibly near former building.   
8.  Cranbrook: St.  Eugene Catholic school (1898-1970), now a federally funded resort. Mass burial site and other graves under golf course.
9.  Williams Lake : Catholic school (1890-1981). Grave sites near old school grounds and under foundation of tunnel.
10.  Meares Island (Tofino): Kakawis-Christie Catholic school (1898-1974).  Body storage room reported in basement; burial grounds south of school.
 11.  Kamloops : Catholic school (1890-1978). Mass grave in orchard near school.  Numerous burials witnessed there. 
12.  Lytton: St.  George´s Anglican school (1901-1979).  Graves of children who were killed, and others, reported beneath floor and beside playground.
13.  Fraser Lake : Lejac Catholic school (1910-1976. Graves reported under old foundations and between the walls. 
1.  Edmonton : United Church school (1919-1960. 
Children's graves reported under thick hedge near former school site.  
2.  Edmonton : Charles Camsell Hospital (1945-1967). 
Experimental hospital run by Indian Affairs and United Church.  Mass graves reported near staff garden. 
3.  Saddle Lake : Bluequills Catholic school (1898-1970).
Skeletons and skulls observed in basement furnace.  Mass grave reported near school. 
4.  Hobbema: Ermineskin Catholic school (1916-1973). 
Skeletons observed in school furnace.  Graves under foundations.
1.  Brandon: Methodist-United Church school (1895-1972). 
Burials near school building. 
2.  Portage La Prairie: Presbyterian- United Church school (1895-1950.
Children buried in Hillside Cemetery. 
3.  Norway House: Methodist-United Church school (1900-1974). 
Grave site near former building site. 
1.  Thunder Bay : Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, still in use.  Experimental centre. 
Women and children reported buried near hospital grounds. 
2.  Sioux Lookout: Pelican Lake Catholic school (1911-1973). 
Burials in mound near school. 
3.  Kenora: Cecilia Jeffrey school, Presbyterian-United Church (1900-1966).
Large burial mound east of former school. 
4.  Fort Albany : St.  Anne´s Catholic school (1936-1964). 
Children killed and buried next to school. 
5.  Spanish: Catholic school (1883-1965).
Numerous graves. 
6.  Brantford : Mohawk Institute, Anglican church (1850-1969). 
Graves in orchard behind building. 
7.  Sault Ste.  Marie: Shingwauk Anglican school (1873-1969.
Several graves reported on old school grounds. 
1.  Montreal :
Allan Memorial Institute, McGill University, experimental centre.  Mass graves of children killed near building. 
This is only a partial list; it doesn't include all grave sites connected to Canada's Indian residential Schools and hospitals.  In many cases, children dying from diseases were sent home to die.  Remains of other children were also incinerated in the residential school furnaces.  An inquiry was established with a Tribunal of hereditary chiefs including:
Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the Squamish Nation,
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind),
Anishinabe Nation,
Chief Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation
Clan Mother Lillian Shirt, Cree Nation,
Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe,
(Ojibway) Nation Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson
Chemainus Nation Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island.

Volume 1 Volume 3

 Native Village Home Page

Native Village is published with the generous help and support of friends, listserves, and online publications. Without you, Native Village would not exist.  Megwich to you all.

To join our mailing list and receive news update reminders, send email address to:
To contact Native Village staff, email:

Native Village Linking Policy
Our research, study and resource collections cover a lot of Internet territory! We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate "kidsafe" and appropriate. However, Native Village does not control the content found on third-party sites, so we are not always aware when content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information, please contact us immediately.  In addition, please be aware that each linked site maintains its own independent data collection, policies and procedures. If you visit a Web site linked from Native Village, you should consult that site's privacy policy before providing it with any personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.

Native Village © Gina Boltz
All rights reserved