Leaving no culture behind

TUBA CITY-Tuba City Unified School District, ever mindful of its culturally rich community, will hold an Oral Traditions Lecture Series to discuss cultural education for district administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community members. The events will be held from 1:30 - 4 p.m., Feb. 21 and 22 at Tuba City High School. Speakers will include: Albert Laughter, Hubert Laughter, Harry Begay, Terrence Whitney and representatives from the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.

The theme is, "Character Education as the Foundation to Life Success." All schools in the district have scheduled staff development time during these two days to learn about school improvement. The time and attention have been devoted to this event because of the irrefutable, solid research evidence that supports culturally grounded students as having more success with school academics. This fact led to including cultural instruction in the district-wide school improvement efforts.

Presenters will be from the Navajo and Hopi perspectives covering how the traditional Indigenous philosophy and practices of character and other teachings impact the success of Native peoples, young and the elderly alike, in all of life endeavors including success with Western education, or the state educational system.

The presentations and teachings are not based on Western American Psychological Association-formatted thinkers, nor are the presenters Western educated researchers, university professors or scholars. Rather, they are traditional spiritual leaders, traditional philosophers and practitioners using teachings passed on from generation to generation to help their people.

The sessions will be conducted in the traditional languages with interpretations as much as possible for English speaking people. These presentations are intended to broaden the boundaries of conventional state and national thinking about quality education and school improvement, enriching the thinking of the current and next generation of educators and leaders. They will also include teachings about the migration of ideas from generation to generation and how this has and continues to play a most important role in lives of Native peoples, stabilizing and strengthening personal, social, and citizenship development.

Dr. Harold Begay, associate superintendent, noted, "Not all of our Native communities, schools, children, our People, are in dire straits. The cultural foundation associated with the well being and healthy existence of many Native peoples today is rarely ever disseminated-much less discussed. As such, I believe it is worth our while to give some thought to what Native educators and communities are currently doing to not leave anyone behind, most particularly, from Native cultural perspectives."


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