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Indian Ed update from Tami Johnson

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Following study of historical passage of the Indian Education Act, we examined ways American Indians reclaimed control of our education since the Act passed.

Students read “Not My Girl” by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton based on Margaret’s experience re-acclimating to her family after being away at boarding school for two years.  We discussed how difficult it must have been to enter into a new culture/society or return home after boarding school for many of our elders who could have been at boarding schools for 8-9 years.  Boarding schools were often a very negative experience for our people and the impact they had on our culture, self-perception, family dynamics and way of life still shows up in how we function in our community and families, and how we interact with the current education system today. 

  • We used a large piece of construction paper with the word ‘Education’ written on it.
  • Students traced problems in our society today to the oppression experienced in boarding schools (dietary problems, family violence, devaluing or not trusting education, suicide, depression, substance abuse, truancy, fear that too much education makes you not Native anymore, etc.)
  • We tore off a piece of the paper.  
  • Students put the word back together.
  • They wrote an action they could take to repair the damage to our relationship and put the pieces back together again.   
  • Students asked that these repaired papers be given to staff.  

Watch for the Education posters to show up around South High next week, accompanied by this message:

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