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Everyday Native Celebrates Native American Heritage Month With Culturally Responsive Resource for Teachers, Parents & Public


November 30, 2020

2018 State of Native Youth Report (The Aspen Institute)

Walnut Creek, Calif. (November 24, 2020) – Everyday Native, a free 4th to 12th grade online teacher's resource based on uplifting the stories of today's Native American youth, celebrates Native American Heritage Month in November. Having seen a dramatic 200% growth over the past year with teachers, Everyday Native is serving educators, parents and the public as an effective resource with its culturally responsive curriculum enhancements based on Native youth's everyday experiences.

Everyday Native is the perfect resource for teachers adjusting to distance learning during the pandemic. At this time, more than ever, these topics are important as teachers and students discuss current events, such as the demand for racial justice.

New videos about Native youth Tiyapo give insights and opportunities for reflection about the realities of Native American life as he shares strong feelings of Native pride and details of his life on the Nez Perce Reservation.

Teachers are saying that students gain a deeper appreciation for Tiyapo than they would for a character in a book. He is a real teen, facing teen issues. The companion curriculum enhancement is filled with rich, vital materials perfect for remote teaching. Teachers, parents and public can register on Everyday Native for these first-person, relatable video resources and a full library of useful, free materials to enhance curriculum.

It's not just teachers who praise this resource, however. Librarians passionate about literacy and social justice like Joanne Loecher at Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, California, also recommend Everyday Native. As a teacher ambassador to China through a Fulbright-Hayes group project fellowship, and to Ukraine in the IREX Teachers for Global Classrooms program, Loecher shares in a recent advocacy and leadership blog, KnowledgeQuest about her experience:

"...Everyday Native is infused with ways to enhance the teaching of Native life and history to our students while looking through a different lens. Most Americans know very little about reservation life and rely on stereotypes, which are narrow and dividing. Working collaboratively with families living on reservations in Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas, the Everyday Native team shares these Native experiences. We benefit, learning and growing by gaining direct insights about Natives' everyday lives."

Cross-Cultural Collaboration: A Long Friendship

Everyday Native was born out of the collaboration between non-Native documentary photographer, Sue Reynolds, and Victor Charlo, a Salish Indian poet-playwright and venerated member of the Salish Kootenai Tribes. Reynolds and Charlo's first collaboration included a photo-poetry book, Still Here: Not Living in Tipis, which saw success and recognition from then-US Congressman George Miller and then-California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier.

Everyday Native and its team are recognized for service to the community by then-US Senator Kamala Harris, Senators Jon Tester and Elizabeth Warren, and US Congresswoman Martha McSally. Both Reynolds and Charlo's works strive towards healing racism and have appeared in national and international outlets. Since August 2018, Everyday Native continues to see teacher growth and praise for its content that brings Native youth stories to classrooms throughout the US.

Fact Sheet

Suicide is a pressing issue for Native youth.

The suicide rate for Native youth is 2.5 times the national rate in the U.S. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Native youth ages 10-24, and the 3rd leading cause of death for Native youth ages 5-14. (1)

A 2019 CDC study found that suicide rates amongst Native girls and women have risen 139% and for Native boys and men have risen 71%, when comparing all ethnicities in the United States. (Table 1 & 2)(2)

Systemic barriers and oppression still contribute to racial bullying and lack of culturally sensitive services and education for Native youth.

In 2018, ProPublica found that Native youth in a Montana school district were pushed into programs with minimal resources, received less emotional support and faced discriminatory discipline practices from staff which contributed to Native youth suicide. (3)

A 2018 CDC study showed that Native youth have less access to mental health treatment and diagnosis compared to Caucasian peers, in part because 70 percent of Native youth in the 18-state sample reside in rural communities where there is already lower availability of services. (4)

Suicide Rates for Females and Males by Race and Ethnicity: United States, 1999 and 2017 (National Center for Health Statistics) (June 2019)

The same CDC study found that differences in "alcohol use, interpersonal problems, and access to mental health treatment" in the Native community may be "symptoms of disproportionate exposure to poverty, historical trauma, and other contexts of inequity." (4)

Everyday Native is creating social change through education by featuring Native youth's voices and stories.

The result of the first cross-cultural collaboration between non-Native and Native artists and educators, Everyday Native features images, stories and video of Native youth. Using primary sources, it inspires students to reflect on and discuss the experiences of 13 Native youth and families from the Blackfeet, Crow, Lakota, Nez Perce, and Salish tribes, and relate it to their own. Everyday Native is reviewed by Lakota, Salish, Cree and Dakota educators and non-Native teachers from Montana, Idaho, and California.


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