What's New In The Community: June 2014

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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

their school.

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

tag #WALKFORCHANGE.

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

RECRUITING PARTICIPANTS

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

a lifetime.

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

and teachers.

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

the network.

“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

culture.”

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.

“Our community

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

Nation.”