Michigan State Superintendent is seeking action against schools that won’t drop offensive mascots

Michigan – State Superintendent Brian Whiston is seeking to take actions against school districts that refuse to remove degrading mascots. The issue derived  from Paw Paw, when the school board still voted 4-3 to keep the district’s Redskins mascot and logo. Superintendent Whiston wants to fine school districts five to ten percent of their state aid as a repercussion for not dropping the racist or degrading mascot and logo.

To read the full story, click here.

8 Facts Parents Need to Know About Tribal Consultation in Public Education

U.S. Department of Education, OESE Dear Colleague Letter “Tribal Consultation FAQ”

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance detailing the steps states and school districts must take to help ensure the ideas, opinions, and requests of tribal leaders, educators and organizations are heard, respected and considered. Almost half a million AI/AN students attend public schools, representing more than 90 percent of the AI/AN school-age population. […]

Read full article at Indian Country Today Media Network

Click for USDE Dear Colleague Letter ESSA FAQ on Tribal Consultation Guidance

Do you know about the lawsuit between the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe against the BIE Reorganization?

The Department of Interior has proposed reorganizing the Bureau of Indian Education in order to improve Indian Education across the States. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sued the DOI to seek a permanent injunction to block the proposed restructuring. Does the DOI have the right to restructure BIE, how does this improve education, and do other tribes have a say?  To read more about the case please click here.

 

Elizabeth Reese: The Making of a Modern Warrior

From Harvard Law Today:

Being Native American defines Elizabeth Reese ’16. Then again, so does being the granddaughter of a Lutheran minister from Pennsylvania. Together, the two have helped shape a woman and a lawyer.

Reese was raised 20 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as a member of the Pueblo of Nambé tribe. The village there is small and old—it dates back to the 14th century—as is the tribe that makes the reservation home. Some 1,100 members of the 2,000-person Nambé tribe live on the 20,000-acre reservation, which is filled with cottonwoods, juniper, and scrub oak, and surrounded by sandstone and mountains and river. Such isolation has helped the community maintain its culture and traditions.

Reese was raised squarely in that community and in that culture, although she’s always felt she belonged in two very different worlds. She grew being called Elizabeth but also Yunpovi (which means Willow Flower in the Tewa language). She may have been surrounded by scrub pine, but her father read her Homer as a child, which helped her navigate traditionally elite white spaces more easily than she might have otherwise.

She considered her educational journey an opportunity to learn things that would aid her in making a difference for her people—for her tribe specifically, but for native people more broadly. First, she went to Yale.

“When I went off to school at Yale I really wanted to make sure I understood the world of education and power that exists in America, because that world is something few Indian people have been a part of and understood,” says Reese. “And yet, that’s where so many decisions that impact us and define what will happen to us get made.”

As an undergraduate she developed a background in political theory, which led her to England and the University of Cambridge. There she earned a Master of Philosophy in political thought and intellectual history and did work on Indian political theory. She counts herself as one of the first Native Americans to attend the university and one of the first scholars there to focus on Indian ideas.

Reese’s commitment to the study—and protection—of Native concerns led her to Harvard Law School and shaped her focus during her three years. She built visibility, programming, and recruitment as a leader in the HLS Native American Law Students Association. She helped to write a District Court amicus brief intervening in a tribal water jurisdiction case through the Native Amicus Briefing Project. She also served as a congressional intern and a fellow for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and interned at the Department of Justice in the civil rights division.

Now she is hoping to become a warrior.

“There’s a common theme in Indian society that lawyers are the modern warriors for Indian people,” says Reese. “I’m really excited to become one of those warriors and to join the fight to ensure that tribal sovereignty survives for my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren.”

After graduation Reese will clerk for Judge Amul R. Thapar at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Late in the year she’ll head to Washington, D.C., as a Public Service Venture Fund Redstone Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The breadth of cases she’ll be part of—from litigating voting rights on one side of the country to school desegregation on the other side—excites her.

While Reese hopes to spend the early part of her career working on civil rights cases that affect the lives of people of color in the U.S—including her family members—she also hopes to someday practice Indian law. After all it’s the law, she says, that determines whether or not Indian tribes survive.

“It can’t be understated how fragile our future is—how our survival is still something we have to fight for,” says Reese. “Unlike a lot of other groups or identities, this is our only homeland. Our culture exists nowhere else in the world if we fail to ensure its survival here. I take that challenge very seriously and hope I can do all I can to protect my tribe and my people and our sovereignty.”

Congratulations Elizabeth!

Inupiaq Drum and Dance: A Cultural Renaissance

From EarthSongs, here. An excerpt:

Alaska Native music and dance traditions are unique expressions of culture and spirituality. Each village has its own unique style of dance and music, reflective of a place in its geographic environment and history. In the 1960s and 70s, the Iñupiaq were among the many Native communities who joined together to stand up against the repression of culture and threat on Native lands by the state.

A resurgence began and led to a cultural renaissance for many Alaska Native tribes, alongside the civil rights movement and the influential 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which created several Native regional economic development corporations. This documentary introduces us to the Iñupiaq people who carry on these traditions of song and dance, while sharing stories of their ancestors.

Via NPR.org: Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem

An excerpt:

Let’s begin with a choice.

Say there’s a check in the mail. It’s meant to help you run your household. You can use it to keep the lights on, the water running and food on the table. Would you rather that check be for $9,794 or $28,639?

It’s not a trick question. It’s the story of America’s schools in two numbers.

That $9,794 is how much money the Chicago Ridge School District in Illinois spent per child in 2013 (the number has been adjusted by Education Week to account for regional cost differences). It’s well below that year’s national average of $11,841.

Ridge’s two elementary campuses and one middle school sit along Chicago’s southern edge. Roughly two-thirds of its students come from low-income families, and a third are learning English as a second language.

Here, one nurse commutes between three schools, and the two elementary schools share an art teacher and a music teacher. They spend the first half of the year at different schools, then, come January, box up their supplies and swap classrooms.

“We don’t have a lot of the extra things that other districts may have, simply because we can’t afford them,” says Ridge Superintendent Kevin Russell.

One of those other districts sits less than an hour north, in Chicago’s affluent suburbs, nestled into a warren of corporate offices: Rondout School, the only campus in Rondout District 72.

It has 22 teachers and 145 students, and spent $28,639 on each one of them.

What does that look like?

To read the entire article, click here.

Via CPR.org: In Rural Eaton, Students Takes Lead on Whether to Remove Indian Mascot

An excerpt:

Like most students, Eaton High School senior Karalee Kothe had never thought about her school’s mascot — the Fightin’ Reds — really deeply.

Then last year, she heard about state lawmakers who were pushing a bill that would have created a committee to review the use of potentially offensive Indian mascots. If the committee – or a tribe – found one to be offensive and the school still had the mascot after two years, it would face a fine of $25,000 a month.

The bill didn’t pass, but it got Kothe thinking.

“I was like, ‘hey what about our mascot’?” said Kothe, who’s also the editor of the Red Ink, the newspaper for the school located just north of Greeley. 

The Eaton mascot is plastered in the middle of the gym floor, on the walls, on students’ uniforms. It’s a cartoon-like caricature of a Native American.

“He’s in an aggressive stance, so it’s just not very realistic and many would say it’s not very honorable for Native Americans,” said junior Devan McKenney.

To read the entire article, click here.

UM Study Says American Indian Mascots Create Negative Stereotypes

A study recently released by the University of Montana has determined that the use of American Indian mascots causes ‘detrimental societal consequences’. 

Justin Angle, Associate Professor at the University of Montana School of Business Administration, along with researchers from the University of Washington and Washington State, said the study focused on Native American brand imagery.

“The study focuses on the concept of ethnic brand imagery,” Angle said. “It’s commonly used most prominently in American Indian sports mascots. What we set out to do was examine whether or not they actually active and then perpetuate stereotypes in the broader population. That’s a claim that’s been made time and time again by social commentators, yet, until now, has lacked any empirical support.”

Angle explained how the study was conducted.

“We exposed people to an American Indian mascot they were not familiar with, and they then completed what is called an ‘implicit association test’,” he said. “It measures memory and strength of association over various concepts. We found that after exposure to the American Indian mascot, they exhibited a stronger association of American Indians with the concept of being ‘warlike’. This effect was particularly strong in liberals, more so than in conservatives.”

Angle said the concept of being considered ‘warlike’ is negative.

“We definitely see the concept of being ‘warlike’ as a negative stereotype,” he said. “The notion that exposure to these images strengthens these stereotypes I think adds weight to the already compelling social commentary calling for the retirement as such mascots.”

A pretest survey found the Cleveland Indians as the most offensive mascot, while the Atlanta Braves tested as the least offensive.

To watch the video/hear the audio, click here.

Via PBS.org: How safe are Bureau of Indian Education Schools?

An excerpt:

Thousands of children attend schools operated by the federal Bureau of Indian Education, and for years, no one has known for sure if the buildings where they learn, eat and sleep are safe.

That’s one finding from a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office that has shaken the bureau, which oversees schools that serve about 7 percent of American Indian students — nearly 50,000 schoolchildren — scattered across 23 states mostly in the rural western and southwestern United States.

The report says more than one-third of all 180 school locations have gone longer than one year without health and safety inspections. Of those, 54 sites haven’t been inspected in at least four years. The Bureau of Indian Education mandates annual inspections for all schools.

And among inspected schools, it’s unclear how many of them received improper or incomplete review, said Melissa Emrey-Arras, who directs education, workforce and income security issues for GAO. She said that in one instance, a “drive-by inspection” was conducted for a school complex with 34 buildings.

“They’re at risk of endangering the children they’re charged with protecting,” Emrey-Arras said.

To read the entire article, click here.