Parents seek input on Indian education

5/24/18 (Thu)

By Jerry W. Kram
A dispute between parents erupted at a meeting for parents of Native American youth to give input to the Parshall School Board. However, that did not prevent other parents from giving solid suggestions to the board.
The first half of the meeting was hijacked by two parents whose daughters were members of this year’s girls basketball team. According to the parents, the dispute has involved bullying on both sides and has spilled over into social media.
The board allowed the parents to speak for about 20 minutes when board president Michelle Hoff stated that their concerns have been recorded by the board and would be investigated at a later date. She said this meeting was hear parents’ concerns about cultural education and the other parents in the room deserved their chance to speak.
Angie Wells, who works at the school, said the board and administrators need to be aware of all the resources in the community that can be accessed for cultural learning. She said there are many elders who would love the chance to come into the school and share their knowledge with the students.
“We have people we can approach to bring the culture into the school,” Wells said. “If we ask they will be willing to share.”
Aulora Severance commented that it would be better if Native language instruction was started in elementary school. She said that trying to learn the language as a junior meant most of it would be forgotten. Kenton Onstad said the legislature considered providing funding for reservation schools to teach languages, but it foundered on disagreements about how the limited funding would be divided between the different tribes.