Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota
Canku Ota Logo
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
pictograph divider
Tribal educators told more cultural, native language learning needed
by Kristen Moulton
credits: The Salt Lake Tribune - 09/25/08

VERNAL, UT - One key to improving American Indian students' achievement is to teach them more about their cultures and languages, educators told those participating in the third annual Native American Summit Thursday.

From the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute to the San Juan School District in southeastern Utah, tribes and school districts are using native languages to better reach students.

In the Nebo School District, three Navajo women have spent the past nine years building a program that tutors American Indian students in academics and teaches American Indian art and culture two evenings a week and in the summer.

The results are encouraging, said Eileen Quintana, Title VII director for the school district. Her comments came during the two-day conference held in this eastern Utah community.

While nationally, 49 percent of American Indian students graduate from high school, Nebo's graduation rate has risen from 37 percent to as high as 94 percent in 2006. The past two years, the graduation rate has been 88 percent, she said.

The program began with 99 students and now serves 265.

Quintana's approach has been to go into the homes of American Indian students.

"I'm a simple Navajo woman. You can't fix a problem unless you see, realistically, what you're facing," she said.

Clayton Long, bilingual-education director for the San Juan School District, said math and English scores rise as proficiency in Navajo increases. "We're saying 'Hey, if language can do that, we're keeping it!."

It is now the policy of the San Juan School Board that students will be taught Navajo language and culture, he said.

The business council of the Consolidated Tribes of the Goshute, which has just 10 native language speakers living on the reservation 65 miles south of Wendover, has made it part of the strategic plan to teach the language to students, said Faye Ridesatthedoor, director of Goshute Indian Education.

"It is extremely important to keep our language alive, to assert our identity," Ridesatthedoor told the summit. "It's an essential aspect of who we are."

Vernal, Utah

Maps by Travel
pictograph divider
Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us
Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us
pictograph divider
  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota Logo
The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 of Paul C. Barry.
All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!