What's this blog about?

I teach several courses under the broad topic of "Multicultural Education," prioritizing social justice issues of access, power/privilege, & narrowing the academic achievement gap. I am a person of color and I almost always have a white co-teacher. We include topics, such as: racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ethnocentrism, deculturalization, transforming curriculum, etc. This is a place where I post information that we teach; lesson plans for activities; and resources we use and/or which are shared with me by my adult students.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

We Are Still Alive - A Traditional People in a Contemporary Society



Thank you for inviting me.  I know… I don’t think you’ve probably ever had an Arawak speaker here and probably haven’t ever heard of Arawak speaker.  We, the indigenous people of the Americas, are refugees. We exist despite an unacknowledged, attempted genocide. Most people associate refugees with being forced to leave one’s country, but a refugee, by definition, has lost their land and way of life, often through war or genocide. There is a long history of genocidal programs initiated by the early colonial settlers and, later, by the United States government. 

In 1755, the lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, issued a proclamation that called for British subjects “to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, [capturing], killing, and destroying all and every Indian.” A bounty was paid by the colonial government for every Penobscot captured and brought to Boston.

- For every Male above the age of 12 years, 50 pounds. For their Scalp, 40 pounds 
- For every Female under the age of 12 years, 25 pounds. For every Scalp, 20 pounds. 

Within a year of the proclamation, the Massachusetts assembly voted to raise the ceiling on the bounty to an unprecedented 300 pounds. This Bounty Proclamation was signed by Lt. Gov. Spencer Phips just a short walk from here in the Old State House on State Street.

At the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864, John Chivington said, “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians... Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.”

We were marched, relocated, and put in reserves like animals, ending up no longer being on the land which provided all our needs… where our stories and songs came from… where our ancestors’ bones lay in the ground.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, boarding schools were established. Our children were immersed in European-American culture. They were given haircuts, forbidden to speak their indigenous languages, and their traditional names were replaced by European-American names to both “civilize” and “Christianize.” 20th century investigations have revealed many documented cases of sexual, physical, and mental abuse in these boarding schools.

In 1892, the U.S. Army officer Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian School, said, “…all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.” On reservations, children were taken from our homes and forcibly sent to boarding schools until 1978, systematically destroying Native American cultural continuity.

Today in 2017, we are still fighting for sovereignty and treaty rights; hunting and fishing access; clean water and healthcare; and political and legal justice. On some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than 10 times the national average. Hollywood films, sports mascots, and many other racist images continue to dehumanize us.

On some reservations, families live on roughly seven gallons of water per day per person, since uranium mining has poisoned the wells and radioactive waste leaves no clean water. 40% of the 173,000 DinĂ© living on the reservation do not have running water.  Today, in the United States.

As First Nations People, we have been made invisible, starting with the first maps that were created showing empty land where none of our languages or nations were identified. Towns were incorporated without any thought to the indigenous inhabits. Each “first” became a colonizer’s first – the first house, the first successful harvest, the first thanksgiving, the first marriage, the first baby – while our “firsts” were ignored and erased.

How does cultural genocide translate into today’s experience? I did not grow up speaking my indigenous language or hearing Native Nations’ music on the radio. I did not see people like me reflected in the literature I read, the television I watched and movies I saw, or even on the walls of my classroom. I did not learn the contributions of Indigenous People to this country, and certainly not the actual history of the United States. I did not have First Nations role-models who resisted and stood up for our culture, only those who helped the white Europeans, like Squanto, Sacagawea, and Pocahontas. There’s nowhere in the world where out story, my story, should even be required to be told, except here.

I’ve raised my children in a world that has not recognized our holidays and observances… In a world with stereotypes that have become the only way we are known and recognized… With peers who have harassed them about their long hair… When my son was in high school, a few boys danced around him singing, “woo woo woo.” They weren’t mimicking something they had seen at a pow wow, they were acting out all they knew from when they were much younger and saw movies, like Peter Pan. The racist images of Hollywood and athletic teams have been their loudest teachers.

Other people tell our story or stereotypes about it. We have no control over our own narrative in our own country. I am not currently fighting for food, or water, or heat, or housing, or healthcare, so I must use the privilege and platforms, the ones that I do have, to temporarily, even if temporary, to stand beside my indigenous sisters and brothers and be an ally to support their access, and all people’s, to these fundamental rights in a country as wealthy as ours.

We are refugees from our original lands. We cannot stay silent about genocide here or anywhere, anymore. Please consider joining an indigenous organization, like the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, to learn more about us. We’re still alive - traditional people in a contemporary society.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Video to Use for Racial Identity Theory

When you are explaining the "Encounter" phases of William Cross's Racial Identity Development Theory.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 16, 2016 - Updated Bill

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) to state in the congressional findings that the freedom of thought and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1150

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Teaching Young Children About Oppression

  1. Find a stereotype that kids know.  
  2. Ask them how they know it?  Where have they seen it?  Help them to identity more than personal reasons (books, movies, TV, magazine, costume shop, etc.).  
  3. Explain: When a stereotype becomes so big that "everyone" knows it, then the system is broken.  It's not just want person making something up, it's all those places (the system) using the same one way (wrong way) of thinking and perpetuating it (keeping it going) so that generation after generation only knows that stereotype and acts on it likes it's the truth (not hiring someone, not teaching someone, not thinking someone is smart or beautiful, etc.).  
  4. When many people keep using a stereotype, it is hurtful to everyone (people have the wrong information which they think is true and act accordingly), and it is oppressive to the people who are stereotyped (they start to believe the lies about themselves, their access and opportunities are limited, etc.)
  5. Oppression is when a stereotype happens in all areas of society and keeps some people from having the same access to things that the people who are not being stereotyped don't have to think about having access to.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fran Lebowitz on Race


The way to approach it, I think, is not to ask, “What would it be like to be black?” but to seriously consider what it is like to be white. That’s something white people almost never think about. And what it is like to be white is not to say, “We have to level the playing field,” but to acknowledge that not only do white people own the playing field but they have so designated this plot of land as a playing field to begin with. White people are the playing field. The advantage of being white is so extreme, so overwhelming, so immense, that to use the word “advantage” at all is misleading since it implies a kind of parity that simply does not exist.

It is now common—and I use the word “common” in its every sense—to see interviews with up-and-coming young movie stars whose parents or even grandparents were themselves movie stars. And when the interviewer asks, “Did you find it an advantage to be the child of a major motion-picture star?” the answer is invariably “Well, it gets you in the door, but after that you’ve got to perform, you’re on your own.” This is ludicrous. Getting in the door is pretty much the entire game, especially in movie acting, which is, after all, hardly a profession notable for its rigor. That’s how advantageous it is to be white. It’s as though all white people were the children of movie stars. Everyone gets in the door and then all you have to do is perform at this relatively minimal level.

Additionally, children of movie stars, like white people, have at—or actually in—their fingertips an advantage that is genetic. Because they are literally the progeny of movie stars they look specifically like the movie stars who have preceded them, their parents; they don’t have to convince us that they can be movie stars. We take them instantly at face value. Full face value. They look like their parents, whom we already know to be movie stars. White people look like their parents, whom we already know to be in charge. This is what white people look like—other white people. The owners. The people in charge. That’s the advantage of being white. And that’s the game. So by the time the white person sees the black person standing next to him at what he thinks is the starting line, the black person should be exhausted from his long and arduous trek to the beginning.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Carol Ann Tomlinson and Edwin Lou Javius - Teach Up For Excellence

In a course, Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap, that my colleagues, Elli Stern/Jennifer Wolfrum, and I teach, we ask participants (teachers, counselors, administrators, tutors, nurses, etc.) to get into a group and "become the expert" on an article that we have assigned for homework.  To this end, we then ask the group to construct a graphic organizer, mnemonic, or other visual aid to help "teach" the other groups about the article.  

Joshua Aronson - Knowing Students As Individuals

In a course, Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap, that my colleagues, Elli Stern/Jennifer Wolfrum, and I teach, we ask participants (teachers, counselors, administrators, tutors, nurses, etc.) to get into a group and "become the expert" on an article that we have assigned for homework.  To this end, we then ask the group to construct a graphic organizer, mnemonic, or other visual aid to help "teach" the other groups about the article.  

Pat Guild - The Culture/Learning Style Connection

In a course, Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap, that my colleagues, Elli Stern/Jennifer Wolfrum, and I teach, we ask participants (teachers, counselors, administrators, tutors, nurses, etc.) to get into a group and "become the expert" on an article that we have assigned for homework.  To this end, we then ask the group to construct a graphic organizer, mnemonic, or other visual aid to help "teach" the other groups about the article.  

Willis D. Hawley - Another Inconvenient Truth, Race and Ethnicity Matter

In a course, Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap, that my colleagues, Elli Stern/Jennifer Wolfrum, and I teach, we ask participants (teachers, counselors, administrators, tutors, nurses, etc.) to get into a group and "become the expert" on an article that we have assigned for homework.  To this end, we then ask the group to construct a graphic organizer, mnemonic, or other visual aid to help "teach" the other groups about the article.  

“…teachers need to respect and build on differences to foster student learning.”

“The following practices illustrate the interdependence of good instructional practice and of caring and trustful relationships among students and teachers:
     * Building on students’ prior knowledge, values, and experiences.”
     * Respecting and being interested in students’ experiences and culturalbBackgrounds…….”
             
“…the problem of student underachievement [lay] not in students’ identities or in family culture or poverty, but rather in uncaring school-based relationships…”