This Week in Native American News - June 17, 2016

This Week in Native American News - June 17, 2016

Montana Tribe Growing Its Own Teachers

Girls at Nizipuhwasin Blackfeet Native Language Immersion School. Photo credit:  Catherine Karnow/Corbis

Girls at Nizipuhwasin Blackfeet Native Language Immersion School. Photo credit: Catherine Karnow/Corbis

Rural districts, and particularly tribal schools, have a hard time recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. To help fix this, the Blackfeet tribe of Montana created a program to raise up their own people to fill the positions within their schools. 

Blackfeet Community College partnered with the University of Montana to create an online & in-person education program for current college students. The tribe is also allowing special licensing for people with a particular knowledge in Blackfeet culture and language to work within their now language-immersion program.

Oregon and Wisconsin have similar programs to train up Native teachers, and the programs are showing returns. In Wisconsin's Menominee Nation, more Native teachers has led to an increase in graduation rates from 60 to more than 95% since 2008. Read the full story here.

Speaking of excelling Native students...

37 Saskatchewan First Nation students recently participated in the National Wiseman Mathematics Competition. The competition, which started in 2008, is organized by the First Nations University of Canada.

“It opens the kids’ eyes to the type of things that are out there for them,” [one teacher] said. “A lot of them don’t realize there are math contests going on and stuff like that.”
The program’s co-ordinator, Arzu Sardarli of FNUniv, said the competition has exceeded all expectations since 2008. He agreed the chance to plug into a nationwide network has been of crucial benefit to youngsters who can often feel isolated.
“There’s a feeling that they are a part of something bigger,” he said. “They can all compete and work together. They want to belong to something; they don’t want to feel alone. I didn’t think about that type of thing when we started, but now I see that it’s happening.” Read the full story here.

Politicians are making the rounds and visiting Native communities

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch greets Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage. Photo credit: Mark Thiessen/AP Photo

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch greets Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage. Photo credit: Mark Thiessen/AP Photo

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Attawapiskat, the Native village in Northern Canada, and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Alaska Natives in Anchorage to discuss issues facing indigenous communities.

Trudeau visited the Attawapiskat First Nation two months after the tribe declared a state of emergency due to its suicide epidemic. Trudeau promised funds to improve mental health services, and the government is working on transferring land to the tribe to alleviate the overcrowding issues.

“It was a start,” Chief Bruce Shisheesh told the Guardian after he sat down with Justin Trudeau in Ottawa. “I’m still concerned, though. We’re still struggling.” Read the full story here.

In other Attawapiskat news... 

The Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School soccer team from Toronto is travelling to Attawapiskat to show the community they care and have some fun. The goal isn't to cure Attawapiskat, but 17-year-old team member Tony Lima explains that soccer is his way of coping and dealing with anger and wants to share that with the teens of the village.

"Sports are just the best way to forget about any problems you have," he told CBC News. Read the full story here.

Photographer Captures what it means to be Native American Today

Miss Native American USA

"The Red Road: Picturing Modern native American Identity" is a compilation of photographs by Carlotta Cardana, an Italian photographer, that captures what it means to be Native American today. The pictures are beautiful and encompass all walks of life. Browse the gallery here.

A little something for the history buffs

Fired clay from excavation site

Archeologists find 400-year-old American Indian homestead in Georgia thought to be the home of the ancestors of the Cherokee. Read more.

Saami family

New research shows the Norse had contact with Native American tribes before the Viking Age, possibly as early as the 11th century. Read more.


Since Pocahontas' name has been thrown around the news a lot lately, here's a fun little video about her life. See more Native American history videos.