Category Archives: Education

During Covid-19, The Navajos Are Planting and Sharing

“As the pandemic has brought home the importance of the global movement for food sovereignty, members are planting and sharing.”  A. Nierenberg, The New York Times

Artie Yazzie grows produce for his community in the Arizona section of the Navajo Nation. Credit- J. Burcham- NYT

Excerpt;  For the Navajo Nation, a Fight for Better Food Gains New Urgency . Amelia Nierenberg, The New York Times

“When Summer Brown lived in Phoenix, she had no problem finding fresh produce. If the Sprouts supermarket near her home didn’t have what she was looking for, she would just drive somewhere else. This winter, Ms. Brown, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, moved back to her childhood home in Cornfields, Ariz., to start a small business as a leatherworker. Now, healthy food is harder to find for her two children, Paisley, 6, and Landon, 7. The entire Nation, which stretches 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has fewer than 15 grocery stores.

The Teesto Community Garden, which Mr. Yazzie tends, has remained opened through the pandemic.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

The small gardens and cornfields rising across the Nation are attempts to correct legacies of historical wrongs. Once, the Diné were prosperous gardeners, hunters and stewards of the land. Then the United States government colonized the land and displaced the Diné in the mid-1800s, during what is now known as the Long Walk, to an internment camp at Fort Sumner, N.M. Livestock were killed off. Fields were trampled. And some orchards were lost forever…Many households do not have running water, at a time when hand washing is critical.

Many multigenerational families live together in compounds, which makes social distancing impossible. And for the Diné and many other Indigenous nations, the public health crises caused by food inequality are generations old… After seeing food shortages during the pandemic, many Diné have started gardens. Normally, they would work communally, but social distancing has required some innovations.

Mr. Earle keeps corn pollen in a pouch for his morning prayers.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

Many Diné also receive federal food benefits. ‘You’ve got to stretch those funds, and the cheapest out there is junk food,’ said Artie Yazzie, a community gardener, who grows produce for his neighbors.  ‘People come in here and pick whatever they want,” Mr. Yazzie said. ‘I just leave a sign.’ Some programs are working to get fresh produce to Diné children. The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment program, a nonprofit health partnership, provides vouchers for families with young children that are good for buying only fruits, vegetables and traditional foods. The amount, depending on family size, can go up to $35 a week…Felix Earle, 43,  has been advising gardeners growing Indigenous seeds. In 2015, he found a handful of white corn kernels in a jar, 35 years after his grandmother hid them for safekeeping…This year, Mr. Earle, a fashion designer, planted his biggest crop ever. Across his property, stalks of corn are rising, almost 1,000 in all. He turned his discovery into a business, Red Earth Gardens, and gives kernels to interested members of the Nation. This year, for the first time, he ran out…It took a deadly virus to make people realize just how important this is, how important it is to grow your own food, he said.’ Some gardens at schools and senior centers have been closed since March.”

Notices From the Office of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (Democratic Party)

Here are new rules for schools across the entire state

Click here to learn more about child care.

Click here to find nutritional assistance near you.

current public health order

following COVID-safe measures

For Personal Help – please visit  http://www.newmexico.gov/i-need-assistance/

Indian Country Today:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

“The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.” By Reid J. Epstein and Katie Glueck, The New York Times

Credit: M. V. Agins/The New York Times

“I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis,” Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser on Wednesday. “Science matters.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Tribe Buys Back Ancestral Land After 250 Years!

“The tribe purchased the 1,200 acre ranch near Big Sur as part of a $4.5m deal and will use it for educational and cultural purposes.”M. Koran, The Guardian

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey county now owns a small piece of their ancestral land along California’s north central coast.. Credit- Doug Steakley:AP

Excerpt: Northern California Esselen tribe regains ancestral land after 250 years,Mario Koran, The Guardian

“Two-hundred and fifty years after they were stripped of their ancestral homeland, the Esselen tribe of northern California is landless no more.

This week, the Esselen tribe finalized the purchase of a 1,200-acre ranch near Big Sur, along California’s north central coast, as part of a $4.5m acquisition that involved the state and an Oregon-based environmental group…Tribal leaders say they’ll use the land for educational and cultural purposes, building a sweat lodge and traditional village in view of Pico Blanco peak, the center of the tribe’s origin story.

The deal by the Esselen tribe will protect the Little Sur River. Photograph- Doug Steakley:AP

‘We’re the original stewards of the land. Now we’re returned,’ Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the Esselen tribe of Monterey county, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel… Since the 1950s the property, known as Rancho Aguila, had been owned by Axel Adler, a Swedish immigrant. After his death in 2004, his family put it up for sale for $15m.

After years-long negotiations, the Western Rivers Conservancy, a Portland-based environmental group, etched a deal to purchase the land and hand it over to the US Forest Service.

Working on behalf of the tribe, the conservancy secured a $4.5m grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to cover the land purchase and studies of the area.

Nason said the 214-member Esselen tribe will share it with other groups also native to the area, including the Ohlone, the Amah Mutsun and the Rumsen people – all of whom were devastated by the arrival of white settlers.”

‘This Is About Justice’: Biden Ties Economic Revival to Racial Equity

In the last of four proposals laying out his vision for economic recovery, Joseph R. Biden Jr. pledged to lift up minority-owned businesses and to award them more federal contracts”. – By T. Kaplan and K. Glueck , The NYT

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. released the fourth piece of his “Build Back Better” proposal in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday.Credit- M. Agins-NYT

 

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

Indian Country Today:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

“How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19”

“…A chat with expert Tracy Stanhoff,of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce. Stanhoffhosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.” R. Tupica, Native News Online.Net

Tracy Stanhoff-President

Excerpt: How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19, By Rich Tupica, Native News Online.Net–

Tracy Stanhoff of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce hosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the third in a series of Q&A profiles spotlighting both established Native American business owners and emerging entrepreneurs who are working through the pandemic. Native News Online shares their story, including how they became the person they are today and how they’re coping with the COVID-19 crisis. If you have a suggestion for a person we should profile, please email rich@indiancountrymedia.com

Being a small-business owner when the economy is strong is often a challenge—surviving through a pandemic turns that into an uphill battle not everyone will survive. 

Luckily, during trying times, there are experts like Tracy Stanhoff, president of American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California, who are offering advice and support to Native business owners across the country.
Back in 1988, she founded AD PRO, a firm located in Huntington Beach, California. The company is a full-service advertising, graphic design and branding firm with clientele that includes everything from Fortune 500 corporations and Tribal enterprises, to government entities and small businesses.

Stanhoff, who is also a former Tribal Chair of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, chatted with Native News Online about what entrepreneurs can do to weather the storm and be prepared for the post-Coronavirus economy.

NATIVE NEWS: In response to COVID-19, there are some new financial resources available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). What should people know about those?


Tracy Stanhoff: One important thing is, there’s a lot of fraud in the loans right now. Just go through the SBA portal and go to your local bank that you use already. There are a lot of people sending e-mails out saying they are loan brokers for the Small Business Administration, and they’re not. Once you get a loan, document, document, document your uses of the money. You need to do that so you can get it forgiven under the regulations they have. 

NATIVE NEWS: If someone is a new Native business owner, what would you tell them right now?

Tracy Stanhoff: For new businesses, I’d say, ‘Good luck.’ I don’t mean to sound flippant or rude, but when you’re first starting up, there are a lot of challenges— I couldn’t imagine just starting a restaurant during this time. It’s never easy, even when the economy is doing well… So, for new businesses, I’d say, just hang in there or reevaluate what you’re doing, because there might not be tomorrow for you.

NATIVE NEWS: For those looking to be proactive in saving their business, what would you recommend?

Tracy Stanhoff: I’d encourage everyone to join our chamber’s weekly webinars. There are several facets, but one of them is (about) what you can do to stop the bleeding and see where access to capital is going to be. So we’ve worked with the SBA, and the states and the feds to help provide input into the program and stimulus packages that are out there now for Indian Country.


NATIVE NEWS: Your chamber webinars are hosted on Zoom, is anyone able to join in?

Tracy Stanhoff: People are from all over the country. Our California chamber really has a national presence, and it has for a long time… We’re just trying to help anyone we can and we share information. If somebody’s been through something, they’ll reach out and give advice—and we’re open to it. And, it’s nice to be able to connect with people right now, we’re all sitting at our houses so it’s good to be human.

NATIVE NEWS: Where do people goto join these chamber meetings?


Tracy Stanhoff: Go to our website aiccal.org, or follow me on Facebook, I post info on there.

NATIVE NEWS: Face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are in demand, what would you say to someone looking to pivot in that direction?

Tracy Stanhoff: “There are some opportunities happening now to support the COVID fight. For instance, we just had a webinar on supply chain management: what can be sold to the government and what cannot….Also, what irks me is, I’ve heard people say, ‘Tribes don’t have to follow rules and regulations as strictly as hospitals,’ or whatever. Well, we better! With the liability that you sell something to somebody on a reservation that’s not good, and they think it’s good, and then they expose people — that’s traumatic and negligent…”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 04/24/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. The National Retail Federation also has over 70 corporations looking for workers.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

For The Kiddies:

Former First Lady Michelle Obama-Reading to Children

Michelle Obama Is Reading Books to Children Stuck at Home, By Mariel Padilla

“Michelle Obama read one of her beloved children’s books aloud on Monday, live streaming to hundreds of thousands of people stuck at home. The virtual story time was the first in a four-week series called “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”

In partnership with PBS Kids, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, Ms. Obama, the former first lady, said she would share some of her favorite children’s books, provide an opportunity for children to practice their reading and give families a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Join me, @PBSKIDS, and @penguinrandom for read-alongs on Mondays at 12pm ET Facebook and YouTube!  https://twitter.com/pbskids/status/1251196381840187395 …

Be Smart…Be Safe!

COVID19 Resources for Indigenous Peoples

Art by Isaac Murdoch

Hello relatives! During this difficult time, we wanted to put together some links for Indigenous folks north of the medicine line, specifically. We hope that you’re all staying safe; we will get through this like we always have. If you have any other COVID-19 resources that would be good for Indigenous folks to have access to, please send them to lindsey@indigenousclimateaction.com

This page will also be updated with resources as they come out

Every Sickness has a herb to cure it.-BlackCloud

In case you missed it, Indigenous Climate Action and Idle No More hosted a webinar on Covid19 and Indigenous communities. You can watch it here.

Photo- John Locher:AP Photo

Elderly hour started at 6am Bashas in Arizona. Elders really needed this time for their own shopping. Kenny Corona Sanchez

 

HEALTH PROTOCOLS

Symptoms

Cold or Allergies:

Itchy eyes

Stuffy nose

Sneezing

Flu or coronavirus:

Fever

Fatigue

Body Aches

Cough

Worsening symptoms

Coronavirus:

Shortness of breath

History of travel

Exposure to a confirmed person

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center, meets with other Navajo Nation officials to discuss the coronavirus crisis.Navajo Nation

Symptom Self Assessment Tool

Defining Coronavirus Symptoms – mild, moderate & severe

Common Questions about COVID-19

How to apply for EI sickness benefits and the new emergency worker fund

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response plan – supports for individuals & business

Please call TeleHealth before visiting a doctor or the emergency room:

Tollfree throughout Alberta: 1-866-408-LINK (4565);

Edmonton: 780-408-LINK (4565); Calgary: 403-943-LINK (4565)

Tollfree throughout Manitoba: 1-888-315-9257

Winnipeg: 788-8200

New Brunswick, Quebec, BC, Nova Scotia: 811

Ontario: 1-866-797-0000

Saskatchewan: 1-877-800-0002

Use the SKODEN Protocol (from 4Rs Youth Movement):

If you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus, check-in on the SKODEN protocol: S – Severe symptoms, go to the doctor; K – know the precautions; O – Obey social distancing; D – Don’t touch your face; E – Every time wash your hands for 20+ seconds; N – Nose and mouth should be covered if coughing.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day [Asaf Bitton, Medium]

The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’

How to “flatten the curve”

Slowing The Spread Of Coronavirus Is Easier Than You Think: Just Stay Home [Buzzfeed]

Cancel Everything – social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus

When Social Distancing is a Matter of Life and Death

ENTERTAINMENT FOR CHILDREN

Virtual field trips list

Free educational websites

Anaana’s Tent: website with songs, videos and games in English and Inuktut

PBS Space Time

Scholastic offering free online courses for Kids

Giant List of Ideas for Being at Home with Kids

APTN Kids: shows for Indigenous children

EMERGENCY FUNDS

Resources for artists, writers and media workers during shutdowns

A summary of COVID-19 emegency funds

2019 Native Students: “Broken promises — that’s all you get from the school.”

“At Wolf Point High School in rural Montana, Native American students face the same neglect Native students across the U.S. do as they navigate a school system that has failed American Indians.” E L. Green and A. Waldman, The New York Times

Ms. Fourstar, center, spending time with friends at the Wadopana celebration in August.CreditAnnie Flanagan for The New York Times

Excerpt: I feel Invisible: Native Students Languish in Public Schools By E L. Green and A. Waldman, The NYT

The faint scars on Ruth Fourstar’s arms testify to a difficult life on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation: the physical and emotional abuse at home, the bullying at school, the self-harm that sent her rotating through mental health facilities and plunged her to a remedial program from the honor roll. A diploma from Wolf Point High School could be a ticket out of this isolated prairie town in eastern Montana. Instead, Ms. Fourstar, 17, sees her school as a dead end.

The tutoring she was promised to get her back on track did not materialize. An agreement with the high school principal to let her apply credits earned in summer courses toward graduation fell through, Ms. Fourstar said. The special education plan that the school district developed for her, supposedly to help her catch up, instead laid out how she should be disciplined. Her family fears that she will inflict the pain of not graduating on herself. ‘I’m just there,’ Ms. Fourstar said. ‘I feel invisible.’

Jayden Joe, who attended Wolf Point High School, fatally shot himself last year. Credit A. Flanagan NYT

Her despondency is shared by other Native students at Wolf Point and across the United States. Often ignored in the national conversation about the public school achievement gap, these students post some of the worst academic outcomes of any demographic group, which has been exacerbated by decades of discrimination, according to federal reports. The population is also among the most at risk: Underachievement and limited emotional support at school can contribute to a number of negative outcomes for Native youths — even suicide. Citing these factors, in 2014, the Obama administration declared Native youths and their education to be in a ‘state of emergency.’ While the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Education runs about 180 Native-only schools, more than 90 percent of Native students attend integrated public schools near or on reservations, like Wolf Point.

Annette Henderson, 18, is a senior at Wolf Point High School. Credit A. Flanagan-NYT

In June 2017, the Tribal Executive Board of Fort Peck filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights requesting a federal investigation into the tribe’s contention that the Wolf Point school system discriminates against Native students…According to the complaint and to interviews with dozens of students and families, Wolf Point schools provide fewer opportunities and fewer social and academic supports to Native students, who make up more than half of the student body, than to the white minority. The junior and senior high schools, which together have an enrollment of about 300, shunt struggling Native students into a poorly funded, understaffed program for remedial and truant students, often against their will…One of the few places where Ms. Fourstar has flourished at the high school is the Opportunity Learning Center, an ‘alternative’ program with more than 50 students — about 95 percent of them Native. They spend a couple of periods to most of the school day there.

Cookie Ragland, the program’s director and only full-time staff member, is white and grew up just west of the reservation. She has devoted her career to students who ‘don’t fit into mainstream, traditional educational classrooms’ and was drawn to Wolf Point in 2003 because it had the only alternative program in northeastern Montana.

For her classroom, Ms. Ragland procured a refrigerator, which she stocked with sandwich supplies, and a washer and dryer for students who did not have homes. She allowed Native students to earn a biology credit for going fishing and bringing back their catch to dissect. She spurned worksheets and encouraged students to do research papers on topics that interested them.

In recent years, though, the school administration has given Ms. Ragland ‘little financial or other support,’ according to the tribal board’s complaint. It has ordered her to stop developing Native-centered curriculums and taking students on field trips. At one point, it required learning center students to enter the school through a back door. 

Because she considers the school ‘toxic,’ she said, she encourages some Native students to take a nontraditional path to graduation, such as a training program called Job Corps or the Montana Youth Challenge Academy. Ms. Ragland’s approach has been criticized by parents who say that steering students toward outside programs can set them back even further, and by some Native students who say Ms. Ragland appears to have lower expectations for them. ‘I’m not saying I’m a miracle worker,’she said. ‘I’ve lost students, and there are students that aren’t happy with me. I try to be consistent and fair, but I’m not perfect.’

Andrew Youpee, 16, practiced basketball behind Wolf Point High School. A. Flanagan NYT

Over her grandmother’s objections, Ms. Fourstar wants to complete her high school education at a Native boarding school in Oregon. She sees the faraway school as the only way out of Wolf Point and the issues plaguing her community.”

Category: Education

Native High School Veterinary Program Empowers Students

“It’s 8 a.m. in the vast, chilly agricultural-science building, and Clyde McBride is reaching deep into the back end of a cow to deposit prize-winning bull semen. Sixteen teenagers, bunched into a tight semicircle, watch silently, necks craning. Not one of them asks that most pervasive of high school questions: ‘Why do I have to learn this?’ … The students in Monument Valley High School’s ‘ag-science’ program know exactly why they are learning to perform artificial insemination. It empowers them to provide veterinary services that are scarce and crucial to their families and neighbors here in Navajo Nation.” Education Week

Clyde McBride

 

Excerpt: Clyde McBride Recognized for Leadership in Technical Education, Education Week

“It boosts their employability, confidence, and future wage earnings. And it opens doorways to college. Here in the northeastern corner of Arizona, on an arid plain edged with sandy orange spires and pine-dotted mesas, teenagers have a rare opportunity to practice what policy wonks preach: to study academics through a lens that matters to them. A keen sense of relevance, and of community service, runs deep in students’ work here, where many Navajo families depend on livestock for their livelihood.

Clyde McBride, who is the director of career and technical education in the 2,000-student Kayenta Unified school district, started this program in 1990 and has built it into a powerhouse that catapults students past the odds they’d face without it. In a Native American community of high poverty and unemployment, his 200 students outscore their peers statewide on math and English tests, and 100 percent graduate from high school, outstripping the statewide average by 22 percentage points. Three-quarters of McBride’s graduates enroll in college or training programs. The rest go straight into the workforce.

Responding to Community Need

McBride didn’t focus his agricultural-science program on veterinary skills at random. He saw that it was what the community wanted and needed. People kept asking: Can you come out and treat my colicky horse? Can you help birth our lambs? And there were emergencies, like the time a family’s sheep herd was attacked by wild dogs. McBride summoned a group of students, grabbed his bag of supplies, and raced out to the homestead. Suturing and bandaging like mad, they saved the family’s herd—and their livelihood.

Now, the ag-science building functions as both classroom and community clinic. Dogs, cats, goats, cows, sheep, and horses flow through its big doors all day—more than 12,000 animal patients in the past five years. For a modest fee, community members can get a range of services that are either impossible to find nearby or are too costly.

Photo PBS

Trevon Neztsosie, a senior in the program, says he likes the hands-on approach to learning better than sitting in a classroom. With his skills, he can far out-earn the burger flippers down the street and he can help his family, by taking over vaccinations of their sheep, goats, and cattle.‘I like it when I can do something useful.'”

Category: Education