Huff Post: Native American Child Reportedly Sent Home From School Because Of Long Hair

A Native American child was reportedly sent home early from his first day of Kindergarten last week because officials said his long hair conflicted with the school’s dress code.

Malachi Wilson, 5, does not receive haircuts because it is against his religion as a member of the Navajo Nation, the child’s mother told a local CBS affiliate. Apparently though, this religious rule conflicts with F.J. Young Elementary School’s dress code, which says that, “Boys’ hair shall be cut neatly and often enough to ensure good grooming.”

When the child showed up for his first day of Kindergarten at the Texas school he was sent away. The principal told April Wilson, Malachi’s mother, that he would not be able to attend class until his hair was cut, reports Native News Online.

To view the entire article and video, click here.

From Indiaz.com- Sandra Fox: Fixing the education system for our Indian children

“It is encouraging that more and more individuals, groups, tribes, and government officials are recognizing the need for major change in Indian education.

Most of the time, however, the focus of recommendations for change is on the facets of the system that have least to do with improving instruction, such things as who should be in charge and where the power should physically be located. With these kinds of changes, Indian children will still be left behind.

Until the area of appropriate instruction becomes the topic of discussion and investigation, academic achievement of Indian children will not improve. The facts are:

The State of Education for Native Students report by the Education Trust (2013) indicates that the academic achievement of Native children showed no improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) from 2005 to 2011 according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and only 18% of fourth grade Native students in the United States scored at the proficient and advanced levels in reading achievement. BIE students scored the lowest of all Indian groups identified, including their counterparts in state public schools. BIE students scored lower than students in major urban school districts other than Detroit.The 2014 Kids Count: Race for Results report by the Casey Foundation rates American children’s success based on 12 indicators including reading and math proficiency, high school graduation, teen birthrates, employment prospects, family income/education, and neighborhood poverty levels. On a scale of 1 to 1000, white children rated 704, Latino children 404, American Indian children 387, New Mexico Indian children 293, Arizona Indian children 282, North Dakota Indian children 280 and South Dakota Indian children 185, the lowest score for any group in any state.

After many years of No Child Left Behind, the results for Indian children speak for themselves.Schools were strictly regulated and trained in terms of the requirements of the law governing instruction for poor children which included the use of an instructional approach that is opposite of the research recommendations for improving Indian student learning.

The programs utilized under NCLB did not allow for recognizing and addressing learning styles, and they included instructional strategies that were generally not compatible with the learning styles of Indian students. Elementary science and social studies classes were removed from the curriculum in favor of drill and kill math and reading instruction for most of the day for memorizing lower order skills with student “seat time” where students had no movement or hands-on learning activities. Schools with Indian children utilized professional development providers that did not know about Indian people, Indian education, or about how Indian students learn best, and, in fact, discouraged the use of anything cultural in instruction.

Poor children across this country did not do well under No Child Left Behind. What is described above is contrary to what is known about teaching and learning, but like sailors on a sinking ship, we run to the other end of the boat. In this case, we run from an incessant focus on lower order skills to a focus on higher order skills. Higher order skills are very important and are very needed in the Indian world, but the following must also be taken into consideration.

To view the entire article, click here.

“She’s so pale”: The good and bad of national exposure – Blogger Adrienne Keene

Adrienne Keene is a blogger, Native Appropriates, who gained quite a bit of exposure as a writer of the Native experience in higher education. Her blog Native Appropriates is a forum discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism, and more.

The following is an excerpt from her blog about dealing with national exposure and the racism she encountered based on a photo accompanying her article via NPR.

On both the NPR article, and definitely on the Facebook thread on the NPR page, my identity is being dissected by hundreds of people who don’t know me. Who don’t know how I relate to my Native heritage, the work I do, who my family is, anything. I also think it’s kinda hilarious–do they not realize that, as a blogger, I’m on the internet? Reading their thread?

But y’all know it’s not new. If you need a refresher, read the comments on, oh, any of my “controversial” articles. Or read the drama I went through over Tonto. Maybe the 500+ comments on this Pocahottie article. Or the follow-up I had to do after it. It’s par for the course. I also specifically address my white privilege a fair amount, see the end of that Tonto post, or the annotated version of my Pocahottie letter for examples. I know my white privilege has afforded me protection and opportunities. That’s why I write about it.

I am 98% positive that if this NPR article wasn’t accompanied by a photo, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There is very little commentary challenging my ideas, or what I had to say about Native students transitioning to college–it’s all focused on how I look.

You wonder why I care so deeply about representations? This is why I care. Because all those people think that Native identity is tied to looking like something off the side of a football helmet.

This isn’t just something that happens to me, either. Last week, the Center for American Progress hosted a forum about Indian Mascots, and an incredible 15-year-old Native student named Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown spoke to the group. He talked beautifully about the effects of mascots on his schooling experience, and also what it means when fellow students, and even his vice principal, say he doesn’t “look Indian,” and how it is all tied in together. This sentiment is real, and it’s all connected.

In writing Native Appropriations, I am inviting readers into a community. I want folks to get to know me, know how I think, operate, where I come from, what ideas we share, and where we differ. I love comment chains where we have discussions that push my thinking and help me grow. I love when it’s an equal exchange of knowledge. That can’t happen when I’m summarily dismissed. So I never “got around” to making an “about” page. I’m all up in this thing. It hasn’t seemed to hold us back. But, for better or worse, that’s not the way the internet functions. People want quick, easily digestible sound bites. They don’t want to enter into a relationship (which is the Indigenous way of doing things…). They want to be able to categorize and move on. Which is what happened with the NPR piece.

To view the blog post and the entirety of Adrienne’s blog, click here.

National Advisory Council on Indian Education- Notice of an Open Teleconference Meeting

National Advisory Council on Indian Education
A Notice by the Education Department on 07/23/2014
Publication Date:     Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Action:     Notice of An Open Teleconference Meeting.

This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of an upcoming teleconference meeting of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (the Council) and is intended to notify the general public of the meeting. This notice also describes the functions of the Council. Notice of the Council’s meetings is required under Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Date and Time: August 4, 2014—1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jenelle Leonard, Designated Federal Official, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: 202-205-2161. Fax: 202-205-5870.

The meeting will be conducted via conference call with NACIE members. Up to 50 dial-in, listen-only phone lines will be made available to the public on a first come, first serve basis. Dial in 5-10 minutes prior to start time using the Participant Phone Number and Participant Passcode. The Participant Phone Number is 888-523-1208 and the Participant code is: 727274. The public may also attend the conference call meeting at the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 1W103, Washington, DC 20202-6400. Members of the public should report to the security desk 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start of the conference call. A form of Federal I.D. will be required for security clearance and escorted access to the meeting room.

Details About the Meeting Location Will Be Posted on the Council Web site on July 29, 2014. Web site: www.NACIE-ED.org (To RSVP, and for NACIE Meeting Updates, 2014 Report to Congress, and Final Agenda)

For more information, click here.

American Indian Teacher Loan Forgiveness Act of 2014 Bill Introduced

Senator John Walsh, D-Mont., introduced a bill that would give American Indian teachers in classrooms with over 10% Native American students or in Bureau of Indian Education schools loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 after five years of service. The bill aims to recruit and retain American Indian teachers as well as to increase the quality of education for Native American students.

To read the article in its entirety, click HERE.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on June 10, 2014 for consideration.

To track S. 2458, click HERE.

2014 Summer Internship: BIA Forestry Tribal Youth Initiative for 20 Students

The Salish Kootenai College Center for Tribal Research and Education in Ecosystem Sciences (TREES) just received funding through the BIA Forestry Tribal Youth Initiative to fund a national network of 20 high school interns this summer. Here is how it works:

Tribes may apply for one or two interns that are either current high school students or are under the age of 24 and are attending college as non-forestry majors (but might be interested in switching)

For each intern, the tribal forestry program will receive a direct payment of $5,000 for intern salary and an additional $1,000 for expenses and equipment.  In addition, if the intern decides to enroll in any college forestry program in the next two years, SKC TREES will award him/her a one-time $2,000 scholarship

Applications must come from tribal forestry or BIA partners but are very simple: please provide name, age and tribal affiliation of proposed intern and a brief description of what the intern will be doing. Preference will be given to applicants that focus on introducing the intern to key activities in forest management. You can email this information directly to me at this email address

If you have any questions, please email at adrian_leighton@skc.edu or call Adrian Leighton, PhD Chair, Natural Resources Department at the  Salish Kootenai College on her cell phone (406-885-2787). A total of 20 interns will be supported during this summer, and applications can begin immediately, and will be considered until all positions are filled

Please pass this post on to others that may be interested. The Salish Kootenai College is very excited to “host” this opportunity and hope that it helps build the career ladder in forestry for BIA and Tribes.