January 8th, 2015 Last Updated on: January 8th, 2015
More and more these days Native voices are being heard, especially where we need it the most, at the White House.
Recently, six-year-old Benton “One Moc” Moonshine Covarrubias (Jicarilla Apache) was able to give testimony to the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education about “School Environment” and his experience as a Native youth in the public education system. He spoke about what it is like to be in 1st grade and have the kids at school tease him because of his hair. He talked about how it made him feel when his school celebrated Columbus Day and disregarded the true history of his arrival. His story was so touching that William Mendoza, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, took his story back to Washington DC and shared with Obama's staff. He has now been invited to meet with US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan in his office on January 21st.
I would like to go Washington DC to speak with the White House about Native youth and why we need a more positive experience in school. I would like to learn to speak the language of my ancestors and want to ask the White House to recognize the significance of this and allow me to pick my own language instead of Spanish or French. When kids like me are encouraged to learn our language… well that I think that is a big deal because then we will be able to know what the old people are saying. My mom said that this would be a powerful example of something called tribal sovereignty or healing or something like that.
If you'd like to help out this little guy travel to Washington D.C. you can visit his Go Fund Me page at: http://www.gofundme.com/NativeYouthToDC.
Iheedn. Hych'qu siem. Thank you for sending hope and brightening the future for Native students across Turtle Island.
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