The Great Quake and the Great Drowning: Indigenous people’s terrifying tsunami stories are a history and a warning.

Here, from Slate. An interesting article about Native oral history.  An excerpt:

In the year 1700, on Jan. 26 at 9 at night, in what is now Northern California, Earthquake was running up and down the coast. His feet were heavy, and when he ran, he shook the ground so much it sank down and the ocean poured in. “The earth would quake and quake again and quake again,” said the Yurok people. “And the water was flowing all over.” The people went to the top of a hill, wearing headbands of woodpecker feathers, so they could dance a jumping dance that would keep the earthquake away and return them to their normal lives. But then they looked down and saw the water covering their village and the whole coast; they knew they could never make the world right again.

That same night, farther up the coast in what is now Washington, Thunderbird and Whale had a terrible fight, making the mountains shake and uprooting the trees, said the Quileute and the Hoh people; they said the ocean rose up and covered the whole land. Farther north still, on Vancouver Island, dwarfs who lived in a mountain invited a person to dance around their drum; the person accidentally kicked the drum and got earthquake-foot, said the Nuu-chah-nulth people, and after that every step he took caused an earthquake. The land shook and the ocean flooded in, said the Huu-ay-aht people who are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth, and people didn’t even have time to wake up and get into their canoes, and “everything then drifted away, everything was lost and gone.”

. . . .

What the indigenous people knew all along, geologists have known only since 1984. Thomas Heaton was still in college in 1970 when geologists, who knew that the world’s largest earthquakes occurred where one tectonic plate descended under another one, first recognized that one of these subduction zones ran between the Juan de Fuca and North American plates. But the so-called Cascadia subduction zone had no record of ever producing large earthquakes. So, says Heaton, “they thought it was aseismic, just creeping.”

Indigenous Educational Policy Development with Tribal Governments: A Case Study

Nicole R. Bowman-Farrell (Mohican/Munsee) did her PHD dissertation on Indigenous Educational Policy Development with Tribal Governments and specifically focused on the Stockbridge-Munsee.  The abstract from her dissertation is here.  The poster she used to present her research at NCAI’s mid-year conference is here.  Her actual PHD dissertation can be seen here.

From the abstract:

This study had three major findings:

1. Developing Tribal educational policy is a contextualized and multiple step process. The S-M educational policy system is a series of intra-Tribal interactions. Policy is created in multiple steps involving the Tribal government, Tribal Education Board, and Tribal Education Department. Each of these Tribal educational policy stakeholder groups has distinct roles in the policy process.

2. Multiple factors influence Tribal education policy development. These include “cross-cutting” influences as well as community, cultural/traditional and public/western education influences.

3. Tribal and public educational policy activities vary across educational agencies and affect the policy environment, inter-agency relations, and perceptions of educational stakeholders.

Findings from the study suggest that multi-jurisdictional policy structures and activities that explicitly foster intergovernmental relations across local, state, federal, and Tribal government agencies will best support public school education of American Indian students.

It is great to see some new scholarship on Tribal Education Policy, particularly scholarship that is well researched and written!

NIEA Call for Action to Support Native Education

CALLS NEEDED TODAY TO SUPPORT NATIVE EDUCATION

Native students need your support! Below is a brief summary of two amendments that need support to pass. Please call your Senators today and urge them to support each.

If you have any questions, please contact NIEA’s Federal Policy Associate, Dimple Patel at dpatel@niea.org.

Study of Native Language Immersion Schools Amendment (#2240):
This amendment offered by Senators Schatz (D-HI), Murkowski (R-AK), and Daines (R-MT) will provide a study to evaluate all levels of education being provided primarily through the medium of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian languages and to require a report of the findings.

While the cognitive benefits of bilingual education are well-known, this study will help to understand how native language medium education can help students develop a more positive identity, build leadership skills, gain greater resiliency, and acquire tools needed to overcome sociocultural challenges. Finally, the study will assess the role of Native American language medium schools in preserving, protecting and revitalizing indigenous languages; and, in addressing deep rooted educational disparities confronted by Native communities.

Accountability Amendment (#2241):

This amendment offered by Senators Murphy (D-CT), Warren (D-MA), Coons (D-DE), and Durbin (D-IL) calls for strengthened accountability so that none of our students, including Native youth, fall through the cracks.

Reasons this amendments is important to Native schools:
-BIE schools have an average graduation rate of 53% compared to the national average of 81%;
-Native students continually perform academically behind their peers – scoring below the national average on reading and math;
-95% of Native students attend public schools and states must be accountability to our tribes for their academic performance.

ACT NOW FOR NATIVE EDUCATION
CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY

Reach out to your state’s Senator and ask them to support these important and necessary amendments for Native education.

To find the contact information for your Senator, please click the link below.

To call the general phone line for the Senate, please call (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with the Senator from your state.

Teaching Tribal History Is Finally Required in Washington Public Schools

Here, from the Stranger. An excerpt:

When Shana Brown was in 11th grade, her US history teacher took a metal wastebasket, flipped it upside down, and started banging on it like a drum. “Go, my son, get an education! Go, my son, get off the reservation,” he sang. Brown had grown up on the Yakama Indian Reservation, but went to public school nearby.

“Yeah,” she says, letting several seconds pass after telling that story. We’re sitting at a cafeteria table on one of the basketball courts of the Chief Leschi School, a cluster of buildings set among fields of plump Puyallup Valley strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. A warm breeze drifts in from a propped-open door in the back.

Brown recounts this memory precisely, patiently, and sitting absolutely straight. She’s been teaching for 24 years. For the last seven of those years, Brown has taught language arts and social studies in Seattle Public Schools. But for nearly half the time she’s been teaching, she’s also been painstakingly crafting a curriculum that aims to correct the marginalizing Pilgrims-and-Indians version of history and Native culture so many kids in this state still learn. That’s why she’s here at Chief Leschi, a tribal school on the Puyallup Indian Reservation, with more than 30 eager teacher-trainers equipped with big, blue binders that read, “Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum.”