Native Village Youth and Education News
November 1, 2008 Issue 191 Volume

“Turtle,” 1981
Randy Chitto,

 "In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we've got something to share." 
                                                                          John Peters (Slow Turtle),   Wampanoag   



National Indian Education Association Releases Honors List
Washington, DC: The National Indian Education Association has honored three schools and eight Native individuals for their impacts to the world of education.


Cultural Freedom Awards
Chief Leschi School (Puyallup, WA)   Nixyáawii Community School (Pendleton, Oregon)
Rough Rock Community School, Rough Rock, AZ

2008 NIEA Lifetime Achievement Award
Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne and Arapaho of Tribes of Oklahoma
Gerald Gipp, Hunkpapa Lakota, Alexandria, VA
2008 NIEA Elder of the Year Award
Lillian Williams, Skidi Pawnee/Chickasaw/Cherokee,
Tulsa, OK
John Emhoolah, Kiowa Nation, Northglenn, CO
2008 Educator of the Year Award
Dr.  David Kekaulike Singm, Native Hawaiian, Hilo, HI
2008 NIEA Community Service Award
N.  Kathryn Brigham, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Pendleton, OR
2008 NIEA Teacher of the Year Award
Roxanne Small Not Afraid, Apsaalooke Nation, Hardin, MT
2008 NIEA Parent of the Year
Vivian Peters Delarosa, Yakama Nation,Toppenish, WA

“These people and organizations are strong and courageous advocates for the education of our Native youth," said Dr. Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, NIEA President. "These great individuals and schools have worked hard to preserve our Native languages and our cultures, and make sure that every Native child has a chance to get a great education. They have shown that it is possible, and we honor their personal commitment.”
National Indian Education Association

ACLU Sues School District For Punishing Kindergarten Student Because Of Family's Religious Beliefs
Texas: The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Needville Independent Schools for punishing a five-year-old American Indian kindergarten student.  Since Sept 3, Needville Schools have isolated the boy in an in-school suspension for not stuffing his long hair down the back of his shirt.  The student, who wore his hair long in violation of school rules, was practicing  his family's traditional religious beliefs. "[The student's] parents have raised him to practice and be proud of his religion and culture as an American Indian, which includes wearing his uncut hair in two long braids," said Lisa Graybill from the ACLU of Texas. "NIS recognized that [his] religious beliefs exempt him from having short hair, but the alternate policy they adopted for him is still unlawful." The five-year-old's hair has never been cut. The family believes that one's hair should only be cut for life-changing occasions, such as the death of a loved one. They believe their long hair is a sacred symbol of their own lives.
Read a copy of the lawsuit

Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young
Wind River Reservation, Wyoming: "Only 200 Arapaho speakers are still alive, and tribal leaders fear their language may not survive. In a growing effort to save the Arapaho  language, the Northern Arapaho tribe opened Hinono’ Eitiino’ Oowu’ (Arapaho Language Lodge), a new school where students will be taught in Arapaho. About 22 PreK-1 children have begun their classes in the rectangular one-story structure.  Elders and educators hope it will create a new generation of native speakers. “ I want my son to talk nothing but Arapaho to me and my grandparents,” said Kayla Howling Buffalo, who enrolled her 4-year-old son in Hinono Eitiino Oowu. Ms. Howling Buffalo, 25, has taken her own Arapaho classes because her grandmother has no one to speak with.  She's also afraid of losing her first language.  Similar sentiments began growing when 96-year-old Helen Cedar Tree,  the tribe's oldest living member, made an impassioned plea to the council of elders five years ago.  “She said: ‘Look at all of you guys talking English, and you know your own language. It’s like the white man has conquered us,’ ” said Gerald Redman Sr., council of elders chairman. “It was a wake-up call.”
Watch the
Grand Opening of Hinono’ Eitiino’ Oowu’ school:

Real Girl of the Year awarded to Madison Bella King
Indiana: Madison Bella King is among three winners of the 2008 Real Girl of the Year Award sponsored by American Girl. Bella, who is 9, was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. When her family moved to the Midwest, Bella began dancing and competing at area powwows. She started as a traditional dancer but was drawn to the bright colors and sparkling beadwork on the regalia worn in Fancy Shawl, a fast and athletic dance. One night driving home from a powwow, she and her friends decided to start a youth group for Native girls. “We said to each other, how come we only get together for powwows?" her friend Jennifer King remembered.  "We talked among ourselves … OK, let’s start a youth group. We took it to our parents and they took care of the legal stuff. The kids came to us with a list of things they wanted to do.” That youth group is now the non-profit group, Soaring Eagles Native American Youth and Family Council. “Madison Bella’s entry truly exemplified what it means to be a Real Girl of the Year," said Stephanie Spanos of American Girl. " [She's] passionate, dedicated, and has an award-winning attitude. Her commitment to honoring her heritage through powwow dancing, and starting the Soaring Eagles youth group to teach native children about their cultures, is a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to her amazing spirit.”  The grand prize winners were selected from more than 8,000 entries
Soaring Eagles Native American Youth and Family Council:

State Adopts Navajo Textbook

Navajo Nation, New Mexico:  New Mexico has adopted a textbook for learning the Navajo language.  The textbook's co-author, Evangelina Parsons Yazzie, said Navajo is one of eight American Indian languages taught in New Mexico's public schools. It is also a one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn.  The text, "Rediscovering the Navajo Language," is aimed for beginning classes at the high school and college level.

School tailored for O'odham tribe enjoys success
Arizona: Studies show that Native students do best in schools adapted to their cultures. One such school is Tuscon's Ha:san Preparatory & Leadership School. Ha:san Prep  is designed for Tohono O'odham youth and Native students interested in a college prep curriculum. Ha:san Prep has about 150 students. 99% are American Indian, most of whom are  members of the Tohono O'odham Nation.  While students take state required coursework, they also learn traditional native art and tribal songs and grow traditional crops, such as squash and beans. Teachers --half of whom are American Indian -- are also required to attend weekly sessions to learn how to integrate language and culture.  19-year-old  Frances Ortiz attended Ha:san because of it's academic focus. She also wanted to be surrounded by other Indian students. "I thought it was important so that I could learn more about my culture," she said. While Frances still struggles with the language, she remains committed to learning the O'odham language so it doesn't disappear.

Bush costs prompt exodus to cities
Alaska: Alaska is seeing a mass migration from rural villages to major cities. The main evidence is the increasing enrollment in Anchorage schools. Since school began in September, more than 400 new Native students have registered.   The relatively high cost of living in the villages is forcing these students and family to move:

In 2008, the poorest 20% of rural residents were paying 47% of their income in energy costs.
In 2000, they were spending 16% on energy.
But in Anchorage, that group pays just under 9%.
The 60% middle class in rural Alaska are spending 12% of their money on energy.
In Anchorage, the number is just over 3%.

Ancorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau said the transition from rural to urban schools can be hard. "We're talking about high schools that are bigger than the communities most of the students are coming from," she said.  Secondary teacher specialist Barb Dexter works with homeless middle and high school students. "I've had three students in the last two days who have come in from rural communities, and they've come in without adults," she said. One high school senior who moved from Bethel said, "I can't afford to live there."  The migration has also created a crisis for many rural schools whose government funding is based on head count. Schools with fewer than 10 students could even close. "It's a trend that's been going on for quiet some time. It seems to be accelerating this year," said Larry LeDoux, state commissioner of education.  We have heard that some districts are reporting a real loss of students."  Comeau and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich asked Governor Sarah Palin to create an emergency task force to find ways to stem the migration.   They say Anchorage and the state  "cannot stand by and tolerate the deterioration of rural Alaska."

Haskell Indian Nations University in an uproar as embattled president stands firm

Kansas:  The Haskell University’s Board of Regents wants her gone. Nearly half of the students signed petitions asking her to resign. But Linda Sue Warner, president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, is standing firm, and her bosses in Washington are backing her.  Haskell is the only federally funded four-year college dedicated to American Indians.  And, since Haskell operates under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education, Haskell's board is powerless to remove her.  When Warner took office two years ago, she promised reforms and quickly shook things up. She started a new campus research center, a new student health program, signed cooperative agreements with other universities and worked to expand degree options.  She created a new personnel policy, and some faculty members were reassigned. But several students have criticized some changes, including a dramatic fee increase. Although Haskell's 1000+ students do not pay tuition, they do pay a student fee -- around $215 per semester.  Warner wanted to raise fees to $1,000, far beyond the means for some low-income students. “Who will we be kicking out? What students will you be willing to sacrifice?” asked student Abigail Estes . Warner has since reconsidered. Other complaints are a tough student conduct code, lax campus security, and cafeteria food options. Warner's supporters think the backlash is just a reaction to change. “Since this lady has been here, my job has improved,” said student counselor Angelina Tah. Whatever problems there are at Haskell, she said, “they’re all fixable.
photo: Haskell Indian Nations University

2008 RBC aboriginal scholarship winners
Ontario: The RBC Aboriginal Student Awards program is offered to students enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies.  Winners receive up to $4,000 a year, up to four years, to help with education expenses. "RBC is dedicated to helping Canada's aboriginal students realize their full potential," said Christianne Paris, a Royal Canadian Bank vice-president. "The RBC Aboriginal Student Awards program gives us a way to invest in those who have demonstrated academic excellence and a capacity for leadership/"
The 2008 RBC Aboriginal Student Award winners:
    Kristy-Lee Tremblay, Métis from the community of Selkirk, Manitoba  
 Shelby Lindley, Status (Treaty Indian) from Merritt, British Columbia
     Matthew McGregor, Status (Treaty Indian) and member of the Whitefish River First Nation,  Birch Island, Ontario
Aaron Holway,  First Nations, Whitehorse, Yukon Territories
     Tyler Duhart, Non-Status Indian, Town of Massey Drive, Newfoundland
Katrina Whiteduck, First Nation Algonquin from the community of Kitigan Zibi, Maniwaki,Quebec
     Melanie Anderson, Mohawk Nation from Six Nations, Ohsweken, Ontario
Josée Lépine, Métis, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  RBC has a long-standing relationship with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples. In addition to the Student Awards program, RBC has joined the Assembly of First Nation's Corporate Challenge, supports the Historical Foundation's heritage programs for Aboriginal students, and donates funds to support  the Aboriginal Youth Writing Challenge.
Learn more about the winners:

Blackfeet member utilizes old technology
Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana: Ten years ago, a Blackfeet tribal elder presented Latrice Tatsey's family with a gift. Latrice only saw it as a striped stick. Almost two years ago, her father, Terry, visited Latrice's class at Blackfeet Community College. He showed the students how the Blackfeet calendar stick was used for thousands of years  to unite the Blackfeet bands in tribal ceremony. He also explained how its ancient system relates to the modern calendar. Latrice wanted to learn more, so she used her family's calendar stick to measure shadow lengths and wind direction at the same location and at the time every week. Then she recorded her data based on the Blackfeet calendar. The National Science Foundation was so impressed by Tatsey's use of traditional tools to study modern science that they invited her to present their national meeting. Latrice has also worked with teachers at Montana State University and the University of Montana. What she likes best, though, is visiting students on the Blackfeet Reservation and helping them make their own calendar sticks to use throughout the year.  "It's really important to me that the younger generation picks up this tradition," Tatsey said. "If this knowledge isn't transferred down to the younger generation, it will be lost." She  added that the calendar stick also encourages students to study science at an earlier age\. "They'll already have research experience at a young age, before they get into middle school,"  she said.

Facts about the Blackfoot Calendar Stick:
The Blackfoot Calendar Stick is 3' 11" long.
It marks the days, months and years.
Using shadows, it indicates the time and season, while a feather indicates wind direction.
A red stripe tops the stick, illustrating the Blackfeet Tribe's creation story.
30 black stripes alternate with 29 yellow ones to mark the days.
The calendar stick has four small lines to record quarter days once a year, a slightly different way of working out leap year.
The traditional Blackfeet calendar is based on days between full moons, so the months are shorter and the year lasts 360 days.
The Blackfeet calendar begins in the spring, not January.

View Latrice's online presentation about the Blackfeet Calendar Stick:

 Schulte receives Emmy Nod
Alaska: Dr. Priscilla Schulte, Ph.D. has added an Emmy award to her list of accomplishments.  Shulte is a professor of anthropology and sociology at the University of Alaska-Ketchikan.  Dr. Schulte received the award as an advisor for an educational series, "Physical Anthropology: The Evolving Human."  A production of California's Coastline Community College, the series interviews and films anthropologists working in Africa and Europe.  Schulte also produced a video, "The Bear Stands Up," which aired on public television and is available at local libraries.  Dr. Schulte began her teaching career at Dine College on the Navajo Nation. She later moved to Alaska where her teaching interests included Alaska Native cultures and Native American culture change.   Her most recent research has focused on the totem pole carvers of the Civilian Conservation Corps era.  Schulte is an adopted member of the Tongass Brown Bear clan of the Tlingit people.

Background: Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

 Bar: Ted's Graphics

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