From Indian Country Today:

Luci Tapahonso (Navajo) wrote the text for a photo essay in the July 2016 issue of Smithsonian magazine: “For More Than 100 Years, the U.S. Forced Navajo Students Into Western Schools. The Damage Is Still Felt Today.”

She opens, “At the beginning of Navajo time, the Holy People (Diyin Dine’é) journeyed through three worlds before settling in Dinétah, our current homeland.” After describing the formation of the Dinétah physical world, she says, “Today, in the fourth world, when a Diné (Navajo) baby is born, the umbilical cord is buried near the family home, so the child is connected to its mother and the earth, and will not wander as if homeless.”

Tapahonso, now poet laureate of the Navajo Nation, writes from her roots. She was born and raised in Shiprock, the town where I first encountered Native culture, as a lawyer for Dinébe’iiná Náhiiłna be Agha’diit’ahii —the Navajo legal services program.

The Smithsonian essay focuses on the infamous boarding schools, where Native children were kidnapped from their families and forcibly inducted into American culture under the rubric, “kill the Indian, save the man.” The notion of “saving” arose from the Christian missionary complex that attended the entire boarding school assimilation effort.

Christians approach life from a starting point of “sin,” and see themselves—and all Creation—as in need of being “saved.” All too often, in trying to kill the Indian, the children themselves were killed. Mass graves are still found on old boarding school grounds. “Saved” by death.

The boarding schools were a knife stabbed into families and clans—the heart of Indian Country. The government and churches in Canada have acknowledged all this in what they call a “reconciliation process,” though it needs to be asked what “reconciliation” means when anti-Indian policies still exist.

United States government and churches have done far less—in most cases, nothing at all comparable to the acknowledgment of wrongdoing in Canada. For whatever reasons, Native people in the U.S. seem comparatively willing to let the wrongdoers go unnamed and unaccountable.

Tapahonso doesn’t wade into the “reconciliation process.” With her usual incisive writing, she chooses instead to focus on the survival of Native Peoples from the boarding school experience; albeit, survival that carries deep scars, passed from the children who were kidnapped to their children. “Today those [boarding school] students are parents and grandparents. Many hold onto a lingering homesickness and sense of alienation. Others are beset by nightmares, paranoia and a deep distrust of authority.”

Tapahonso tells her own stories of surviving a mission boarding school, and recounts the legal history of the 1928 Merriam Report and a 1969 U.S. Senate report, which constituted “major indictments” of the boarding school system. “It would be several years,” she writes, “before widespread changes would take hold.” By 1990, “tribal involvement in education had become the norm.”

I have the Navajo to thank for beginning my education in what it means to be a human being. My encounters in Navajoland set me on a path that changed my legal career and my life.

I recall one example related to Navajo schools: I had just spoken in the Teec Nos Pos Chapter House about the community taking control over the local school. When I finished my talk, which was being translated by Frank Begay, a Navajo Tribal Court Advocate, several people spoke. Frank said, “They want to know more.” I began to discuss the general plan for Navajo legal services. He stopped me: “No, that’s not what they’re asking about. They want to know about you. Where were you born? Do you have any brothers and sisters? Things like that.”

I was flabbergasted. American society—and especially law school—isolated professional work from personal life. I felt shock and surprise. I was embarrassed. I was thrilled. The people were looking at me as a human being, not just as their lawyer.

After that first experience of being cared about as a person, I worked with Frank a lot. We traveled to meetings together, sometimes hours away. He told me stories about places we passed, about people, about what it means to be human in the Navajo cosmos. I learned to see the world with new eyes.

One morning, months later, a family arrived outside my house. They said they were there to have an argument. They didn’t want my legal services, but my presence as a person. All day they stayed around, talking out whatever it was that had erupted among them. I never knew what it was, whether it was a legal problem or something else. By day’s end, they had resolved something, and they left. Their presence was an honor and a blessing.

You can tell the Smithsonian editors had trouble figuring out how to present Luci Tapahonso and the photographs by Daniella Zalcman without angering U.S. politicians who vote their budget: Although the essay subtitle focuses on “how native populations had a new nation foisted upon them,” the overall section title steps back from the acknowledgment of force and separate nationhood: It reads, “American Exiles: Leaving Home: A series of three photo essays explores how America has treated its own people in times of crisis.”

“Leaving home” sounds tame—even romantic—compared to “forced.” Moreover, Navajos and all other Indigenous Peoples of the continent are not America’s “own people.” The boarding schools were one element in a long—and still ongoing—effort to make Indians disappear as nations, to force them to become Americans. Many have succumbed.

If the Smithsonian were really to present the full history of U.S. treatment of Indigenous Peoples, the exhibit would be named “American Holocaust.” That would stir up even greater anger in the U.S. Congress than the 1995 controversy about the museum’s atomic bomb exhibit, or its 2003 exhibit about the Arctic and climate change.

We can be thankful that Luci Tapahonso’s essay made it through the gauntlet.

Peter d’Errico graduated from Yale Law School in 1968. He was Staff attorney in Dinébe’iiná Náhiiłna be Agha’diit’ahii Navajo Legal Services, 1968-1970, in Shiprock. He taught Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1970-2002. He is a consulting attorney on indigenous issues.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/07/25/luci-tapahonso-boarding-schools-smithsonian

Written by Peter D’errico 

From AISES:

AISES is now accepting applications for the 3rd LTP cohort!
All applications and supporting documents must be received by August 19, 2016.

DESCRIPTION

AISES was awarded a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create the “Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM” program.  The program’s goal is to increase the representation of American Indians, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiians in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty positions at universities and tribal colleges across the country.  The program aims to create an intergenerational community of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and junior and senior faculty members.  This full circle of support will help guide students to successful degree completion and advancement to the next stage on the academic career path.  In addition to full circle mentorship, the program strives to provide students with valuable academic and professional support, travel funding, and educational, research, fellowship, and internship opportunities.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Full time college undergraduate, graduate student, or postdoctoral scholar in a field within Biological Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Geosciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, or Engineering at an accredited four-year college/university or two-year college.  Must be enrolled in a program leading to an academic degree.
  • Interest in becoming a faculty member at a college, university, or tribal college.
  • Have a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher cumulative grade point average (GPA), with consideration being given to applicants reflecting somewhat lower GPAs but with high potential to raise the GPA above 3.0.
  • Current member of AISES.

Selection of students will seek balance with respect to a diversity of tribes, geographic areas in the United States, STEM majors, and gender. While the focus is primarily on American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians, all AISES members are eligible. The selection process will attempt to ensure that a diversity of STEM disciplines is reflected.

Scholars in the program will receive an annual participation stipend of $2,250 for two years, and two years of travel funding to attend the AISES National Conference and AISES Leadership Summit or discipline-specific professional conference.  Scholars will be matched with an AISES selected faculty mentor to interact with at least monthly.  Scholars are required to participate in skill-building, professional-development in-person programming and webinars.  Finally, scholars will have the opportunity to engage in an active community of Native STEM researchers.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

  • You must be either an undergraduate student, graduate student, or post-doctoral fellow to apply.
  • Complete the “Lighting the Pathway” application online: www.aises.org/pathways2016
  • Submit the following supporting documents to kcoulon@aises.org(link sends e-mail):
    • Unofficial transcript(s)
    • CV/Resume
    • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Application and supporting documents are due August 19, 2016 by 5:00pm (applicant’s time zone)

If you have any questions, please contact Kyle Coulon at kcoulon@aises.org(link sends e-mail).

A link to begin the application can be found here

From Indian Country Today:

Summer reading can help slow down the “summer slide,” a term educational researchers use to describe the loss of academic skills over the months that kids aren’t in school. With the following books, parents can put the brakes on that slide, and give their kids’ identities a boost.

Below are some outstanding books by Native writers. Buy them if you can, or ask for them at your local library. Librarians want to know what readers want to read. Far too many books by Native writers aren’t reviewed in the review journals librarians use to select books. You’ll be helping them by asking for these books.

Let’s start with a road trip story. Joseph Marshall III’sIn the Footsteps of Crazy Horse(Harry N. Abrams, 2015) has a lot going for it. First off, it’s set in the present day. The main character, Jimmy, is Lakota. But, he has blue eyes and light brown hair because his lineage includes people who aren’t Native. That means he gets teased for his looks. In steps his grandpa, who takes him on a road trip. As they drive, Jimmy learns about Crazy Horse, but he also learns that Native people have different names for places. One example is the Oregon Trail. Jimmy’s grandpa tells him that Native people call it Shell River Road. Marshall’s storytelling is vibrant and engaging, and the perfect tone for kids in middle school.

Start your summer reading journey with this road trip story by Joseph Marshall III.
Start your summer reading journey with this road trip story by Joseph Marshall III.

You can’t miss with Arigon Starr’sSuper Indian(Wacky Productions Unlimited) stories. She’s got the inside track on telling it like it is. Or, could be, if eating commodity cheese could give you super powers. In other words, every panel of Starr’s comics is a reflection of Native life, and she brilliantly pokes at the uber popularTwilightbooks and movies, and testy issues like blood quantum. There’s a ka-pow to thissuper power series(two volumes at this point) that will have you and your kids laughing out loud.

RELATED:A Chat With Arigon Starr, Creator of ‘Super Indian’ Comics

Arigon Starr’s “Super Indian” comics poke fun at many topics.
Arigon Starr’s “Super Indian” comics poke fun at many topics.

Richard Van Camp’sA Blanket of Butterflies(HighWater Press, 2015) is riveting. This graphic novel opens with a boy who looks to be in his early teens, standing in front of a samurai suit of armor in a display case in his tribe’s museum. That suit is going to be returned to its original owner, but the sword is missing. That launches this fast-paced story in which Van Camp provides us with an opportunity to think about museums and who owns items in them.

This book will have students thinking about who owns items in museum collections.
This book will have students thinking about who owns items in museum collections.

For your older kids, take a look atMoonshot(Alternate History Comics Inc., 2015).In it, you’ll find a collection of short stories by Native writers, told in graphic novel format. There is a wide range of voice, style, and tribal nation. Getting to know the writers in this collection can lead readers to other works by Native writers whose stories are inMoonshot.

This collection of short stories will give students a glimpse at the work of a number of Native writers.
This collection of short stories will give students a glimpse at the work of a number of Native writers.

We must not forget your younger kids. For many Native people, berry picking is part of our summer activity. In Julie Flett’sWild Berries(Simply Read Books, 2014), a little boy named Clarence and his grandma are out picking blueberries. They sing as they go. And of course, they eat some berries as they gather them. Clarence sees a fox, and a spider web, and, an ant crawls on him at one point. A huge plus is that you can get and read the book in English, or in Cree.

Follow a young boy and his grandmother as they go berry picking.
Follow a young boy and his grandmother as they go berry picking.

Many of you will be going to gatherings of one sort or another. Check out Cheryl Minnema’sHungry Johnny(Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2014). In it, a little boy—named Johnny, of course—comes home and spies a plate of sweet rolls on the counter. He heads straight for that plate, but his grandma stops him, saying “Bekaa, these are for the community feast.” Bekaa is Ojibwe for “wait.” Waiting is tough on Johnny. He’s got to wait while the elders at the feast pray, and then he’s got to wait for them to eat first. Will there be any rolls left for Johnny? Minnema’s use of Ojibwe and English is great. A lot of families talk to each other using a mix of their Native tongue and English. And that feast is like ones so many Native kids go to all the time.

RELATED:‘Hungry Johnny’ Dishes Up Elder Knowledge, Native Culture in Children’s Book

Hungry Johnny must be patient in this children’s book.
Hungry Johnny must be patient in this children’s book.

One last suggestion is Marcie Rendon’sPowwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life(Carolrhoda Books, 1996). It is a nonfiction photo essay about a family on the powwow circuit. Rendon’s words, coupled with photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville, are a delight. Those of you who go to summer powwows know exactly what it’s like to be out there, but being able to give your kids a book that reflects what you’re all doing: priceless.

(Written By Debbie Reese)

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/07/20/7-books-native-writers-slow-summer-slide-165153

Applications must be filed online.

The closing date is August 8.

Preference will be given to persons of Indian descent who are:

(a) Members of any recognized Indian tribe now under Federal jurisdiction;

(b) Descendants of such members who were, on June 1, 1934, residing within the present boundaries of any Indian reservation;

(c) All others of one-half or more Indian blood of tribes indigenous to the U.S., and

(d) Eskimos and other aboriginal people in Alaska,” according to 25CFR 5.1.

You can read more about the position here.

We know that culture plays an important role in maintaining and improving our community’s health. Whether it’s hitting the powwow trail or pulling in canoe journey, summer is a great time to connect with your culture. We know that culture plays an important role in maintaining and improving our community’s health. Encourage youth you know to get involved in cultural activities and share their experience by entering this month’s We R Native contest.

ELIGIBILITY:

American Indian and Alaska Native youth 15-24 years old
TO APPLY:

Youth can enter online or by sharing their story on social media using #REPRESENT
Fill out online form here.

DEADLINE:

August 20th, 2016

AWARD:

Stories will be featured on weRnative.org and youth will be entered to win up to $150 (1st place), $100 (2nd place), or $75 (3rd place)!
For more information:

Go to weRnative.org to learn more and get started on your application!

Additionally, you can contact 503.416.3307 or email native@npaihb.org for more information, including answers to questions, instructions and guidelines

By submitting an entry, you grant the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) the right to use, edit, and disseminate submissions in print, online, and through other forms of media for educational, public service, or health awareness purposes. By submitting an entry, you release the NPAIHB and its agents and employees from all claims, demands, and liabilities whatsoever in connection with the above. For more information click here.

We encourage you to visit our website for a comprehensive list of available resources (scholarships, fellowships, summer programs, grant opportunities, etc.). Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Center for Native American Youth and Generation Indigenous.

 

Center for Native American Youth
http://www.cnay.org
cnayinfo@aspeninstitute.org