UND STUDENTS RALLY AGAINST RACISM
By Rachel Eta Hill
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – In reaction to
the Spring Fest incident on the University of North Dakota campus
where several students posted photos of themselves wearing T-shirts
with the school’s previous mascot with the words, “Siouxper Drunk,”
Native students and others rallied on May 16 at the University of
North Dakota in an event dubbed #WALKFORCHANGE.
This was a student demonstration and
was comprised of over 200 UND students, community supporters and UND
administration members who walked together holding signs to educate
their community and others on the adverse race relations occurring at
Dani Miller, a recent UND graduate and
Sisseton-Wahpeton citizen, was asked by her fellow student body to
give a speech addressing the hostile learning environment at her
school, sparked by the offending T-shirts.
“Native students are just trying to
go to school and now they are being attacked,” Frank Sage, a Navajo
doctoral student said. He attended UND for the last 14 years and said
it was important for students not only to work on changing race
relations between Native and non-Native students at the school, but
that it ultimately comes down to educating others on why this type of
behavior is inappropriate in an academic setting. “Treat people the
way you want to be treated,” Sage said.
Miller added, “All people, native
and non-native, to educate themselves on our histories and on the
current state of race relations in the United States. Education is
the answer to dismantling oppression and [assists in] …
relationship building between all people.”
Native students at UND, like many
others across the country are working to educate and inspire others
on how to change environments of adversity and racism in their own
schools. They are fighting hate with love, unity and education.
Racism, after all, poses a great threat to the attainment of
post-secondary education for our Indigenous students. We must support
and applaud those in our communities who are a positive and
motivating force for that change. To learn more, use the twitter hash
Rachel Eta Hill is an enrolled
member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and present graduate student
in the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program at the
University of California, Los Angeles.
LITTLE EARTH YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM
Little Earth of United Tribes is
seeking interested candidates for its YouthBuild Program, an
education and construction training program. The cohort of
participants will start training classes in late June and go until
early September. The program provides young adults without a high
school diploma the opportunity to continue their education, build
skills, and serve the community.
YouthBuild is a program that helps
young people earn their GED while training participants in the
construction trades, teaches work readiness and leadership skills.
Hands-on construction training takes place while refurbishing housing
within the community. Participants will also build a greenhouse on
site at Little Earth. Participants who successfully complete the
training receive industry-recognized certifications and assistance in
obtaining a livable wage job.
Little Earth is seeking individuals, 18
to 24 years-old, are low-income, have dropped out of high school or
are in danger of dropping out in the opinion of a school official;
that are be motivated to make a positive change in their lives.
Those selected for the program will
earn a stipend for participation and will learn skills that will last
To learn more about the Little Earth
YouthBuild Program, call Kelly at 612-455-2807. Application materials
are also available at the Little Earth Resident Association office
located at 2495 18th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404.
RED LAKE MIDDLE SCHOOL RECEIVES
TURNAROUND ARTS FUNDING
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Perpich Center
for Arts Education chose Red Lake Middle School as one of four
schools to participate in Turnaround Arts: Minnesota, a national
initiative designed to narrow the achievement gap and improve student
engagement through the arts.
Schools in the program receive
intensive arts education resources and expertise and the schools’
communities will be involved in strategic planning processes with
guidance from Perpich, a state agency serving all schools, students
and educators in Minnesota. The agency seeks to advance K-12
education throughout the state by teaching in and through the arts.
Selected schools will receive arts education training and resources
to address their individual needs as well as access to community arts
and cultural organizations and a national network of school leaders
Participating schools were selected by
program partners through a stringent, nationally-vetted process.
Selection criteria included demonstrated need and opportunity, strong
school leadership and a commitment to arts education. Turnaround Arts
schools represent elementary and middle schools from across the
country and encompass a diversity of student demographics and urban,
suburban and rural settings. The program will begin in July with a
summer leadership institute in northern Virginia for all schools in
“It is a privilege to have the
opportunity to be a part of the Turnaround Arts program,” Red Lake
Superintendent Anne Lundquist said. “I am looking forward to the
opportunity to integrate the arts into the current improvement
efforts underway at Red Lake Middle School”
The state legislature approved
$750,000 specifically for the Minnesota Turnaround Arts initiative.
In addition, the Minnesota State Arts Board has committed $300,000
for grants – up to $75,000 per school per year. Each school also
will receive $25,000 in arts supplies, musical instruments and play
licenses through national Turnaround Arts.
“One of the greatest challenges we
face is student performance in the areas of academics and behaviors,”
Red Lake Middle School Principal Susan Ninham said. “My hope is the
arts integration program will provide our students opportunities to
envision themselves as successful at learning. They can get a
high-quality education that includes art forms from their Anishinaabe
Red Lake Middle School provides
education to 275 children in grades 6-8. Most of the students live on
the reservation. Ninham has led the school in turnaround efforts in
recent years and says she sees the arts as key elements in the
students’ lives as well as a tool to help them build confidence and
perform their best.
has a rich cultural heritage that makes use of the natural resources
to express our unique identity and our connection to Mother Earth,”
Ninham said. “I hope our next seven generations can engage in
bringing this artistic beauty into their lives and the Red Lake