Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools Program

Joni Ackerman is the project director for the Diabetes Education In Tribal Schools. The project is offering "Health is Life in Balance" a K-12 curriculum for educators (anywhere in the US). The curriculum is inquiry based with a science and health theme; it includes a cultural, career, and physical activities component and is fully aligned with national standards. This educational resource is free.

Two of the "Health is Life in Balance" frequently asked questions are:
1. Why is a K-12 DETS curriculum needed?
Diabetes is almost three times more common in the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) population than in the general population. Once considered an adult disease, type 2 diabetes is increasing in young people in all U.S. populations. Many people are unaware that the onset of diabetes can often be prevented or delayed. The DETS curriculum intends to change perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about diabetes through classroom learning experiences that will empower AI/AN students to adopt healthier lifestyles.

6. What are the goals of the DETS K-12 curriculum?
the curriculum incorporates inquiry-based learning that will enhance students' science process skills. Lessons encourage students to become researchers. Investigative inquiry (observing, measuring, predicting, inferring, classifying, experimenting, communicating, etc.) allows students to emulate the work of real life researchers. The discoveries of diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of diabetes increase student understanding and appreciation for direct and indirect effects of scientific research within a cultural framework.

Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. Lets become part of the solution and educate ourselves and our children to choose health.

Remember the curriculum and Eagle Books are free and so is the shipping.


The curriculum is also available from the Indian Health Service online catalog

Information on ordering the Eagle Books

NIH website about the curriculum and an overview of the units for each grade level

Viewable Downloadable K-12 Curriculum and Copy Masters

Joni Ackerman (406) 768-3024 or online

IEFA Resources & Tools - MEA Conference


For this session I would like you to look at 3 things before exploring the blog and links on your own. You will notice within the blog highlighted words like: Native Child. If you click on an anchor word (the highlighted words) the hidden link will take you to more information or a specific article.

1. Choose at least one link from the sidebar to look at. Most connect to Indian Education for All (Background information, perspectives by tribal members, authentic resources.) Others are good educational and historical resources.

2. Choose one of the following blog entries Columbus Was Lost or Thanksgiving 1621 .

3. Conversations-with-print wiki. At this site you will find lesson plans and book lists.

Another area you might want to consider are the ads. Using your knowledge how are the products marketed? Who are they marketed towards? Are any of them tribally connected? If not do any of the profits go to tribal programs? The ads change regularly and are actual ads through adsense.

I hope that you will return to this site and find information that will benefit you and your class.

Thanks for coming.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pepere Played the Fiddle

Title: Pepere Played the Fiddle
Author: Linda Ducharme
Publisher: Pemmican Publications, 2006

Pepere Played the Fiddle is an elegant book to introduce young children to the Metis culture. The fiddle music of the Metis community is an integral part of their culture. I believe that introducing students to this music helps break the "Hollywood" stereotype of what Indian music sounds like.

Montana Office of Public Instruction has a publication "American Indian Music: More Than Just Flutes and Drums". They also distributed CD's that connect to the publication. Please contact them to see if the following CD and DVD is still available."American Indian Music- More than Just Flutes and Drums"-CD. A DVD that you might want to ask them about is "The Power of the Drum" (OPI: Indian Ed for All DVD).

I saw a friend at WalMart the other night. Angela shared with me that Labor Day weekend she attended the Montana Metis Festival. She said the music was fabulous. I didn't even know about it until then. I came home and told my husband that I wanted to go to it next year.

Butte's National Folk Festival also featured Metis music.


Metis Radio
Metis History and Culture
Metis Fiddler Quartet
Virtual Museum of Metis Culture
Sierra's Song
Fox Fiddle-Metis Tunes from Montana
Montana Metis Project

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving 1621

If you asked most Americans to tell you when the first Thanksgiving was, who was there, and what they ate? You would get approximately the same mythological story.- In 1621 the Pilgrims were so thankful for surviving the winter, that they invited their Indian neighbors for a feast. Dinner is usually a more creative description but usually includes cranberries, turkey, popcorn etc.

I can see many people shaking their heads in agreement. That's pretty much how most of us learned it in school, on tv, and the movies. Would it surprise you to learn that the Harvest Feast of 1621 is more fiction then fact?

Lets look at different perspectives and develop an inquiry model for further exploration.

Resources for Further Exploration: Thanksgiving From Many Perspectives

Native American Perspective Interview with Liz Lodge (Director Plimoth Plantation)

Euro-American Perspective

Primary Resources

Native Resources (General)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Columbus Was Lost

If you ask the average American about Christopher Columbus, they will usually tell you he "discovered" America in 1492. They look at me me with a dazed look when I say America wasn't lost.

Then I say; "If I left Billings, MT and ended up in Denver, CO; would I have discovered Denver?"

The answer is usually; "You can't discover it, there are people living there."

"Well, there were people living here when Columbus came. And to top it off he never set foot on North American soil."

Dr Oz said that men and women are hard wired differently. (Dah) He said men believe they know where they are, hence they don't need to ask for directions. Christopher Columbus truly believed that he had found India and a shorter route to the spice trade. What he really needed was a GPS unit.

One of the books I shared with my older students is the "Coyote Columbus Story" by Thomas King and illustrated by William Kent Monkman. The illustrations are almost cartoonish. I would read the story and ask the students to comment on what they noticed in the pictures. Visual Thinking Strategies work smoothly with this story.

From School Library Journal

"Grade 2-5-Coyote is in her female guise, and King reminds readers immediately that she is responsible for everything in the world-rainbows, rivers, toenail polish, and TV commercials. Her favorite thing of all is playing ball-all positions at once. But she finds it rather boring without a companion. However, the beavers have dams to build, and moose and turtles are also otherwise occupied. The humans will play, but they get rather hostile when Coyote wins every game. (After all she makes up the rules, and changes them as she pleases.) Then, three ships, Christopher Columbus, and a crew of clowns arrive. Will they play ball? No, they say, they've got to find things they can sell. No gold? No computer games? Convinced they're in India, they decide to grab some of the Native people and take them back to sell in Spain. Columbus sails away with his captives, the remaining humans catch the bus to Penticton, and when Coyote tries to fix things, what does she get? Another bunch of funny-looking clowns, led by Jacques Cartier. Monkman's illustrations are perfect. Brilliant colors are daubed onto screwball figures, and anachronisms abound. What seems a funny romp turns out to have a very sharp edge. This irreverent treatment of Columbus and his fellows may be disquieting to some, but it is long overdue."
Ruth Semrau, Upshur County Public Library, Gilmer, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Seriously though, an excellent book to explore is "Rethinking Columbus: the Next 500 Years" 2nd ed, edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. This book is available from Rethinking Schools online. This book provides other voices that tell about the encounter of the Europeans and Native Americans.

I was reading the blog from National History Education Clearinghouse, "Teaching About Columbus Day: Mythbusters". The article is well written and has some wonderful links to other voices and perspectives. If you are curious go to Fact Monster and look at the timeline of Columbus Day.

Education World featured a lesson plan titled "Should we Celebrate Columbus Day?". The students are told they have been hired by a fictitious community to determine if the community should continue recognizing Columbus Day. The students use an inquiry model and primary sources to explore this question. This lesson plan is also available on the National Education Association Website (NEA).

Documents of Taino History and Culture has some great background information about the people who greeted Columbus.

Examining the Reputation of Christopher Columbus by Jack Weatherford is a very thought provoking article. He makes some very powerful observations.

"Because Columbus captured more Indian slaves than he could transport to Spain in his small ships, he put them to work in mines and plantations which he, his family and followers created throughout the Caribbean. His marauding band hunted Indians for sport and profit - beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs. Within four years of Columbus' arrival on Hispaniola, his men had killed or exported one-third of the original Indian population of 300,000. Within another 50 years, the Taino people had been made extinct [editor's note: the old assumption that the Taino became extinct is now open to serious question] - the first casualties of the holocaust of American Indians. The plantation owners then turned to the American mainland and to Africa for new slaves to follow the tragic path of the Taino.

This was the great cultural encounter initiated by Christopher Columbus. This is the event we celebrate each year on Columbus Day. The United States honors only two men with federal holidays bearing their names. In January we commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., who struggled to lift the blinders of racial prejudice and to cut the remaining bonds of slavery in America. In October, we honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history." (Jack Weatherford)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Montana Humanities - One Book Montana

The Surrounded by D'Arcy McNickle is the book that was selected for "One Book Montana". Dottie Susag is the discussion moderator. The story is about "Archilde, a young man of dual cultural identity - Salish/Spanish - returns to the Flathead Reservation to say his last good bye after attending an Indian boarding school and working in Portland".

McNickle's book was written before all of the following author's books: James Welch, Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, and Louise Erdrich books. Unfortunately the issues that are center in most of these books are still issues today.

Everyone is invited to participate in this discussion.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Evaluate from an Informed Perspective

Many books written for children about Native Americans perpetuate stereotypes and disrespect. Debbie Reese reviewed Richard Peck's, "A Season of Gifts" in her blog American Indians In Children's Literature. In her post she quotes some passages from Peck's book and explains why it is disrespectful to Native Americans. An example is the disrespect shown to the dead in this story.

One of the headings in Ms Reese's blog is "Evaluate from an Informed Perspective". I love that title because it says so much. One site that she refers people to is Elaine Cubbins website and her recommendations for evaluating a Native website.

Another great source for evaluation advice is Oyate. They sell the booklet, How to Tell the Difference: A Guide for Evaluating Children's Books for Anti-Indian Bias by Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale (Santee/Cree), and Rosemary Gonzales (Ojibwe). A great resource for evaluating print material.

On the Montana Office of Public Instruction is "A Guide for Evaluating Indian Education Services, Products, and Materials" It gives a checklist of items to consider as you evaluate the material. Becoming "informed" takes time. I believe we owe our students literature that breaks stereotypes and shows respect to other cultures.