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Posts Tagged ‘Indian Education’

On Monday, April 13 – “We Shall Remain.” From the award-winning PBS series American Experience – We Shall Remain, a provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. This series is highly acclaimed by Native Americans. For more information:

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CHANGE IS NEEDED BY ALL

Victor S. Gonzales, Principal

La Luz Elementary School

The year 2009 looks to be an unprecedented time in American history! A very important election has just passed and we, educators, are anxiously waiting to see if our elected officials will actually “walk the walk”. Change was the term used by most, if not all politicians spoken across our country. Our economy, foreign relationships throughout the world, and the war in Iraq were the major topics discussed in debates and campaigns from all parties represented during this election season. Education, unfortunately, appeared to have been of little interest for most Americans as the campaigns progressed along. While the economy and our diplomatic relationships around the world are very important issues that must be addressed, we must not forget how education impacts our future.

Education, for most Americans, is specifically looked at and critiqued based on student performance in reading, mathematics and writing. However, most people seem to forget that public schools are also given the responsibility of teaching and modeling appropriate social behaviors to be practiced in and out of the school setting. There was a period of time when the vast majority of families taught these skills through reinforcing family values and beliefs. Recently, President-elect Barack Obama released a campaign commercial in which he reminded all of us that it is time for parents to get involved with their child’s education. He recommended that parents begin this effort by turning off the television. He’s right! The time spent watching television and playing video games could be spent engaging in conversation, reinforcing positive values which affect children’s academic and social skills.

During the past two years, La Luz Elementary invited special guests from Colorado who presented “life-long” messages for students and staff members. Robert and Terri TallTree are Native Americans who provide interactive school assemblies and professional development for students and educators throughout the country. The programs, entitled

“Walking in Wisdom,” addressed the power of self-images through the creative use of Native American storytelling, ancient songs and legends, sign language and humor. The emphasis being on self-respect and respect for life. Our kids were repeatedly told throughout the programs that they are a “gift to the world”. The gifts given to each and everyone of us include what the TallTrees call “The Three Arrows of Power”.

The first arrow is the thoughts we think. We must use our thoughts wisely. Thoughts can be more powerful than the atomic weapon, if we think about it.

The second arrow is the words we speak. The old cliché, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is not true, according to message we learned from the TallTrees. As many of us have experienced in the past or perhaps the present, words are sharp and they can cut like a knife, leaving permanent scars.

The final arrow and most powerful message given to us by the TallTrees are the actions we take. We all must learn to help one another and take care of our precious resources.

Can you imagine if all human beings, including our politicians, followed this simple message shared to us by the TallTrees? What a difference we could make in our world! This should be the “change” we are all looking forward to in the very near future!

For more information regarding the TallTrees, please feel free to visit their website at:

http://www.thetalltrees.com.

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Zuni Tribe

from www.crystalinks.com/zuni.html

The Zuni or Ashiwi are a Native American tribe, one of the Pueblo peoples, who live in the Pueblo of Zuni on the Zuni River, a tributary of the Little Colorado River, in western New Mexico. Zuni is 55 km (35 miles) south of Gallup, New Mexico and has a population of about 6,000, nearly all Native Americans, with 43.0% of the population below the poverty line.

Many, many years ago, the A:shiwi (Ahhhh-she-we, the name the Zuni people call themselves) came up to this Earth from the underworld at a place that is identified as either the Grand Canyon or the Mojave Desert. For many generations, the A:shiwi wandered throughout the area. Finally, they settled in the place they are now. They call this area the center or middle place.

The Zuni Indians of today are one of 19 original tribes that once inhabited the area that is now called New Mexico and Arizona – The Zuni River Valley.

The Zuni tribe is said to have originated from a tribe that lived in the same area over 1,500 years prior to the coming of the Europeans – 400 AD.

This tribe, the Anasazi, was a large society that encompassed large amounts of land, riches and many distinct cultures and civilizations. The Zuni are thought to be direct descendants of the Anasazi.

The Zuni are also distinct in that they have managed to remain quite unaffected by outer influences. They still claim the same land they always lived on, an area about the size of Rhode Island. They also mainly reside in one city, Zuni, New Mexico. Although there are Zuni Indians who live outside of the city and the general area, they are few and far between. The tribe has managed to remain intact due to the fact that they were never involved with problems that didn’t concern their own people. Because they did not fight in any wars or take sides in any conflicts, they were able to remain autonomous and were unaffected by the changes around them.

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You already possess everything necessary to become great.

(Crow Proverb)

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X – The Four Directions – X

Native American Medicine Wheels teach people about their place in the universe and their relationship to all things on Earth. The Four Directions, inherent within medicine wheels, represent East, West, North, and South each have their own meanings.  There are many interpretations, and they may vary from tribe to tribe. Here are a few aspects, according to our Anishinaabeg teachings:

– East – Yellow, where the sun rises, birth, new beginnings
– West – Black, where the sun sets, adults, a place of introspection (the “looks within” place)
– North – White, where the snow comes from, the position of the elders, the seat of wisdom
– South – Red, the place of family and relationships, adolescents

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When you were born, you cried
and the world rejoiced.
Live your life
so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.

White Elk

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Very seldom now do I catch one familiar note from those early warblers of the woods. They have all passed away …

I now listen to the songs of other birds that have come with the advance of civilization … and, like the wild wood birds our fathers used to hold their breath to hear, they sing in concert, without pride, without envy, without jealously – alike in forest and field, alike before wigwam or castle, alike before savage or sage, alike chief or king.

(Simon Pokagon – Potawatomi Chief)

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