Universities to offer online Indian law classes

BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
08/24/2011 10:49 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— In collaboration between the University of Tulsa College of Law and the online Concord Law School of Kaplan University, students will be able to take online classes for a Master’s degree program that focuses on Indian law.

“This came together when a few years ago I decided that my law school, Concord, really needed to be teaching Indian Law courses,” said Professor Tim Pleasant, co-director. “There were a number of reasons why this was so. We needed to branch out within our law school, which is a relatively new school and we needed to reach out to a population that hadn’t been reached before so well.”

The TU College of Law is home to the Native American Law Center, which provides resources for the study and teaching of legal issues concerning Native American tribes and other indigenous peoples worldwide.

Starting on August 29, the 30 credit hour program will allow students to obtain an online Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law degree.

Some of the classes that are offered in the program include tribal gaming law, federal Indian Law, Indian Child Welfare Act, civil jurisdiction in Indian Country, tribal government, taxation, energy and mineral development, environmental protection and remediation, social services, water rights and federal contracting and contacting.

“So that way they would have a good working knowledge of some of the legal language used among the different organizations of businesses and government agencies that deal with doing business with Indians,” said Shonday Harmon, co-director of the program. “They would have an understanding of the legal landscape in Indian Country.”

The program is for graduate students, particularly those working in tribal governments and businesses and government agencies, who are interested in learning about Indian law. The program is for lawyers who would like to gain additional information or expand their practices.

“It’s the very first of its kind offering a master’s level degree in Indian Law,” said Harmon, who is Muscogee Creek. “This particular degree program is not for a student who would want to sit for the bar exam and become a practicing attorney, this is actually for someone who is more along the lines of a non-lawyer but may work in or around state, federal and tribal agencies.”

So far for the Fall 2011 semester there have been 19 applicants from 10 states for the program and 12 tribes are represented. Four out of the 19 that applied are non-Native.

“What we hope to accomplish is to provide this education in Indian law to allow people who are not lawyers but who have to work with it everyday to do a better job in whatever it is that they are doing,” Pleasant said. “There are just tons of people out there who have to interface with the legal system or with federal Indian law on some level, or with lawyers who are practicing these things, they have to do it everyday and the objective is to help those people do that job.”

For more information about the program visit www.indianlawmj.org.

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org • 918-453-5000, ext. 6139

Education

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
09/29/2016 08:15 AM
PRYOR, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Zoe Chaffin, 17, is a senior at Pryor High School who spent Fridays of her summer vacation volunteering as a mediator in training for the Northeastern State University’s Early Settlement East Mediation Program. Chaffin, who is training at the Mayes County Courthouse in Pryor, said volunteering as a mediator is helping with her goal of becoming an attorney. “I want to go into civil rights law, and to be an attorney in the state of Oklahoma you have to be a mediator,” she said. “I went to the training for two days, and then like after that for the next two months I came to the courthouse on Fridays and we did cases.” Chaffin said she has co-mediated six cases, consisting of civil, real estate, neighbors, consumer/merchant, landlord/tenant and community cases. She said she has volunteered for 26 hours and is just a few hours short of receiving her mediator certification in basic court. She said training to become a mediator has helped her with solving conflicts. “In the court it’s helped me a lot with solving conflict like among my friends. It’s really good for like addressing like what the problem is, how do we want to solve it, like compromising,” she said. “It’s like both sides get something instead of just like one losing, it’s everyone’s input into it.” Chaffin said mediating now would give her an “advantage” when she eventually gets into law school. She said she’s “leaning towards” attending the University of Tulsa. “It’s going to kind of like give me an advantage over others who probably haven’t mediated yet, and then I already have been doing it, for it would be five years before I went to law school because if I keep doing it through college, which I plan on doing,” she said. Chaffin said she believes if more people were mediators there wouldn’t be “as much conflict.” “I feel like if more people were mediators in the community that we wouldn’t have as much conflict,” she said. “It really has helped like knowing how to deal with that and just like to get everyone to calm down, talk about it, talk it through, workout a solution to it and then I feel like that would help relationship wise too.” <strong>A Student Spotlight features Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band students whether they are in grades kindergarten through 12 or higher education, excelling in school or doing something extraordinary. To recommend a student, email stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org.</strong>
BY STAFF REPORTS
09/23/2016 04:00 PM
WASHINGTON – The Administration for Native Americans on Sept. 9 awarded the Cherokee Nation a grant of $399,996 to develop a Cherokee language curriculum for Cherokee language programs. As part of the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, the ANA awarded four tribes and one college grants for their site-based educational programs to demonstrate evidence-based strategies that integrate Native language and educational services within a specific community. According to an ANA press release, the language community coordination grants will support the tribes to integrate stand-alone language programs into a broader educational system that can offer a continuum of Native language instruction from pre-school through post-secondary education. Also, the cooperative agreement awards are expected to be renewed annually for a five-year project period. “The Cherokee Nation is committed to preserving and growing our language, and grants like the one from the Administration for Native Americans help us continue that mission,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “I commend our employees for seeking out funding that supports our language efforts. With this funding, the tribe can cultivate more Cherokee speakers and enhance our language programs and resources.” The release also states the CN would have the opportunity to create a Native language Teacher Certification program. “I’ve visited several of our Native communities and found many have components of Native language programs for students, but they often lack the time and resources to fully implement programs,” Lillian Sparks Robinson, ANA commissioner, said. “This funding will help the Cherokee Nation develop comprehensive Native language courses that will be continued through the student’s life and ensure language preservation for native speakers.” The Native Language Community Coordination program is a five-year demonstration project for tribes to create comprehensive education systems focused on high-quality Native language instruction, career readiness and academic success. Tribes will also have the opportunity to develop Native language certification for teachers under the NLCC program. Its goal is to provide a seamless path for Native language achievements across generations for educational and economic success. The NLCC is a new funding program provided by the Administration for Native Americans to help Native communities achieve social and economic self-sufficiency.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
09/12/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Aug. 31, Grand View School students had a special storytelling guest who got them involved with Cherokee stories. That guest was Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist and Cherokee National Treasure for storytelling. Lewis said when telling stories he gets the students involved with roles within the stories. “When I do storytelling’s it’s a little different because I pull them (students) out. Most storytellers will tell the story, but I pull them out here and interact and give them different parts to be where they get to be the bear or the wolf or the deer or the rabbit,” he said. “When I pull them out and physically involve them with the story it’s like something happens…when I come to the area schools and do this for this program it’s a way of reassuring me that out culture still gets passed down.” Sixth grader Elizabeth Cox acted as a grandma in one of the stories. “I thought it was really fun, and I enjoyed playing a character,” she said. Lewis said working with students and spreading Cherokee stories is one of the “best” jobs he’s had. “I get to involve myself with the community, and I love children. They’re a lot of fun,” he said. He said it’s also important to help children understand the aspects of Cherokee culture. “The museum (Cherokee Heritage Center) started doing this and the (Cherokee) Nation started doing this because a lot of the arts programs and a lot of different programs were being cut, and as they’re getting cut the children weren’t learning various aspects of the culture,” he said. “Even Cherokee children weren’t understanding things. They were mixing different cultures together. So we said, ‘let’s start a culture program, go out to the area schools and give them a taste of what our culture’s like.’ So that’s what this is.” Margaret Carlile, Grand View federal programs director, said this is the second year Lewis has gone to the school for storytelling. “We are honored and privileged to have Robert Lewis, a noted Cherokee storyteller, visit with our students,” she said. “He is so engaging and the kids love to have him here. He gets them involved in stories about Cherokee culture. He weaves that in with a message about being a good student and learning and getting along with people. He has so many life lessons in all of his Cherokee tales and fables and stories. He is just such a delight to have around our students whether they are Cherokee or not.” Carlile said the engaging stories seem to be what keeps the students interested in what Lewis has to say. “He is one of the best teachers ever, and I know he’s not in the classroom, but we can learn from everyone. He is so marvelous at getting the students to interact with him. They enjoy him,” she said. “Before he even got here, it was announced who was coming and they (students) started clapping and cheering.” Carlile said Lewis also has a message within his stories that are “important” for the students to hear. “Robert’s message about doing your best and staying in school and making friends and networking and doing all you can just fits right in with our activities where we’re trying to get the students to understand how important their education is and how important to know their culture is in their growth and development,” she said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
09/05/2016 08:00 AM
CHEROKEE, N.C. – As corporations around the globe rethink their business models to achieve the quadruple bottom line (people, planet, profit and purpose), a group of high school students from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Qualla Boundary is moving into its fourth year of a successful social entrepreneurship venture that uses its proceeds to improve schools in Costa Rica. Each year, the Sequoyah Fund, a nonprofit community loan fund, works with a group of 10 high school students to operate TuYa Café, a coffee business that was originally developed by 2014 program participants. Since it’s launch, TuYa Café has sold more than 600 pounds of coffee and earned more than $14,000 in revenues. “Each year with the students is really exciting. They always try – and succeed – in surpassing last year’s sales numbers. It’s great to see their competitive spirit come out to benefit a good cause,” Hope Huskey, Sequoyah Fund associate director, said. In addition to sales experience, students get lessons in marketing and business finance through the program. “Our goal is to not only instill entrepreneurial values in our youth, but also to help them understand how they can use these skills to bring good to others, their local communities and other communities around the world,” Huskey said. All net profits are directed towards service projects for Costa Rican schools. Participating students actually travel to Costa Rica each summer to provide labor for the improvements. This year’s students focused most of their efforts on Tortugeuro Elementary where they worked on beautification and technology improvement projects, as well as established a recycling program. “Our students are always considerate of the environment, and take time to incorporate some kind of environmental aspect into their work,” says Huskey. Last year’s students installed solar panels in Cabecar School, and groups have planted trees the past two years. TuYa Café is part of the Costa Rica Eco Study Tour, a leadership development program that educates students in the areas of cultural diversity, service, environmental sustainability, and entrepreneurship. The program is made possible through a partnership of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cooperative Extension Program and Sequoyah Fund. The Sequoyah Fund is an independent, nonprofit Native American Community Development Financial Institution that focuses on economic and community development within the Qualla Boundary. To date, Sequoyah Fund has dispersed more than $14 million in loans, which has resulted in the creation of nearly 1,000 jobs. More information on Sequoyah Fund can be found online at <a href="http://www.sequoyahfund.org" target="_blank">www.sequoyahfund.org</a>. For more information about the entrepreneurship program, call Heidi Cuny at 415-279-0185 or email <a href="mailto: heidi@cunycommunications.com">heidi@cunycommunications.com</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
08/31/2016 02:00 PM
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — About 76 kids are unable to attend a tribal school that has stopped enrolling students who are not registered with a tribe. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians operates Chief Leschi Schools for kids from about 60 tribes in preschool through high school, the News Tribune reported. Superintendent Amy Eveskcige said the board decided on stricter enrollment standards after it was discovered that students without tribal registration left a $930,000 gap in school funding that had to be made up with other sources. That accounts for about 20 percent of the schools $4.5 million operating budget. The federal Bureau of Indian Education kicks in about $5,000 for each registered tribe member enrolled. The schools have to be able to pay bills and put Puyallup Tribe kids first, Eveskcige said. "We are a tribal school that belongs to the Puyallup Tribe," she said. "All the other tribes are guests in our home." Enrollment this year is expected to stay about the same, between 800 and 900 students, Eveskcige said. Notices were sent in late August to families like Breanna McNeece and her 10-year-old son Roland Ware. McNeece said she and her family have been trying to register as official members of the Cherokee tribe, her heritage, for years. Ware has been attending the school since kindergarten and was anticipating the start of his fifth grade year there. They received their notice Aug. 23, and McNeece said she is now trying to get her son into a nearby school. "They are punishing the students," McNeece said. "It's not fair." McNeece said she plans to appeal the school's decision so that her son can continue to receive an education that includes Native culture. "I wish they would try their hardest and do the best they can to try to get kids back in school," Roland Ware said. Classes start Thursday.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
08/25/2016 04:00 PM
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – Broken Arrow High School senior Jacob Taylor recently attended an engineering experience camp hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Office of Engineering Outreach Program. Taylor’s late July visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts, was his second visit there in two years. In June 2015, the 17-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen traveled to MIT with fellow Broken Arrow students to present their idea for producing less costly food for tilapia fish farms that help sustain communities in developing countries. Taylor said during his weeklong visit in July for the outreach program, students were invited to take courses such as electronics, aerospace engineering, computer science development or underwater robotics. He chose aerospace engineering. He said he studied calculus and physics and made small rockets using water bottles to calculate how high they would travel. He said he also learned about financial aid opportunities, applying for college and what to look for in a college. Taylor said his only cost was paying for the flight to Cambridge. “So it was a very good experience and opened up our college options and seeing that we could go to a college as big as MIT,” he said. Taylor said his has aspirations include mechanical engineering and continuing mission work like he did this summer in Kenya as part of his school’s InvenTeam. He and four other students traveled to Kenya in June to share research that helps Kenyan children living in an orphanage improve their diets. With the help of their teacher, the students created a better and more cost-efficient food for tilapia that are grown to feed the children to help against protein deficiency. They also worked on ponds for algae and duckweed to grow in and built pens for the meal worms as well as worked on ways to dehydrate those ingredients on a reflective surface outside. They also worked on a machine that makes fish food pellets from the ingredients. “We were able to build some things we imagined and shared with the Kenyans what we thought they could do to solve their (fish food) problem,” Taylor said. In high school, he’s taken advanced placement courses in chemistry, physics and calculus for college credit. He participates in the school’s robotics team, is a National Honor Society officer and plans to stay active in student and leadership events. He also wants to learn more about his Cherokee heritage and culture. <strong>A Student Spotlight features Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band students whether they are in grades kindergarten through 12 or higher education, excelling in school or doing something extraordinary. To recommend a student, email <a href="mailto: stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org">stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org</a>.</strong>