Thursday, November 23, 2006

Keeping them down on the reservation

From The Washington Post:

MILWAUKEE -- Fifth-grade teacher Amy Tromp lights a match and then the small pile of sage she holds in a shell. The sage begins to smolder, its smell stinging the nose.

Her students, sitting in a circle on the floor, try to catch the smoke and bring it over their bodies to get ready for the school day. They then share their concerns and stories from the night before. Someone played a lot of video games. Another tells of his pregnant sister who might lose her baby.

This morning's activity, called smudging, is an ancient American Indian tradition. And for many students and staff members here, it is the way of the future, too.


This is how a normal morning begins at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee, a place where tobacco and sage, both sacred instruments of thanksgiving and spirituality, are in every classroom. Outside, a sweat lodge and tepee stand ready. And the long list of possible field trips includes hours-long drives to northern Wisconsin to pick and dance over wild rice. Here, all 300 students have some kind of tribal affiliation.

The Indian Community School of Milwaukee, located in one of the city's rough neighborhoods, is one of at least 150 schools in the nation designed to help children connect to their native heritage. Located both on and off Indian reservations, the schools are growing in popularity.


Student Logan Gott, 12, said he believes he has learned more about his spiritual life and the ways of his ancestors than he would have at a public school. Since he started at the school, he has learned how to sing and drum at sacred ceremonies and powwows, an honored opportunity.

This is wonderful! Help the Indians become even more marganalized and unable to compete in the greater American culture. That way they can stay on welfare or working at the most menial of low paying jobs. Or go to prison.

Just as long as they stay dependant and bitter and voting Democrat.

I wish I were an Indian-hating bigot so I could be happy about this.