Manataka American Indian Council


 

Manataka American Indian

EDUCATION TASK FORCE

 

The Manataka Education Task Force was organized in 2001, but failed to get off the ground because we had a notion that other American Indian groups in Arkansas wished to participate.  They did not and eventually all these groups went defunct anyway.   With the appointment of Rev. Dr. Fred Wilcoxson as chairman of this committee, new efforts began in 2013-14 to create a core of educator volunteers to organize, develop curriculum and seek funding for this worthwhile project. 

 



Is there not something worthy of perpetuation in our Indian spirit of democracy, where Earth, our mother, was free to all, and no one sought to impoverish or enslave his neighbor?

                                                            - Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman)

 

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
The task force will honor school-age students by providing access to textbooks, films, CD's, and other teaching tools based on American Indian traditions and knowledge.   The task force, composed of teachers, counselors and people from many occupations, are researching and recommending materials.  Professional instructors will train teachers and perform evaluations. 

 

Values Training: Underlying each core curriculum area of study will be instruction on values and respect.   

Problem Statement

We live in sad times when security guards and metal detectors are required in public schools.   It is a sad commentary on modern society when teachers cannot teach because of severe discipline problems.   They are finding increasingly difficult to control classrooms.   Violence is rampant.   

Since the courts first began to bar schools from teaching moral values based on religious beliefs, school administrators became fearful of civil lawsuits and ethics and values training diminished in the classroom.  At the same time, incidents of disrespectful behavior and violence increased.  Where will it end?  Do we wait for another "Columbine" slaughter of your children to happen?   NO.   There are answers. 

American Indians do not have a corner on the values training market.  All cultures developed systems and codes of behavior that encouraged and rewarded good behavior.  But, the ancient American Indian way of teaching and learning has many excellent attributes that are largely ignored by our modern educational system.

For example, American Indians have always placed great emphasis on parental involvement in the learning process.  Grandmothers, grandfathers and other family members were expected to take personal responsibility for the proper upbringing of the children. 

However, schools today do not facilitate the involvement of parents in academic areas of learning. Schools do encourage a small degree of parental involvement  in non-academic areas such as sports and band booster clubs, but parents are rarely directly involved in the daily teaching process.  This is a fact in the face of countless studies that show a child learns 45% to 60% more when parents are involved in learning.  Why parents are not involved is a problem.  Developing ways to get them involved is the challenge. 

Resolution Methodologies

A unique feature of this Task Force program will be its focus on parental and community participation. The Task Force will develop ways to encourage parents to get involved and have fun learning along with their children.     

The Task Force will create a program to address this obvious flaw and will integrate values training into existing curriculum in core study areas of science, mathematics, history, art, music, and language.  Parental involvement will enhance retention levels.

 

We will use an integrated approach to Curriculum development.  That is, modules featuring critical values will be seamlessly inserted into current subject matter using teaching tools, text books and experiential lessons.  This approach maintains classroom focus on the subject being taught while taking advantage of the unique features developed by the Task Force to enhance behavior patterns in students, parents, teachers and the community.

 

The Task Force will develop modern teaching tools such as DVD's and computer applications using up-to-date technology that will be augmented with hands-on, experiential training exercises to stimulate brain and physical memory.  The mental association between doing something positive and feeling something positive is geared to teaching values that hit home and has a lasting impression.  Indian people used ancient kinetic or experiential teaching methods that were necessary and practical in the past, but they also have tremendous applications in the modern world.
 

*   Teach universal values and truths from an American Indian perspective to students;

    The Education Committee will create a program to address that will integrate values training into existing curriculum

    in core study areas of science, mathematics, history, art, music, language. etc.

 

*   Create multi-media presentations for teacher use; Material is inserted or blended with existing subject matter

     to exceed standards;

       

*   Curriculums suitable for each grade level to be created and developed using subject modules; age levels;

     geographic locale; and other demographics;

 

*   A variety of teaching tools will be integrated into each grade level;

 

*   Teachers are trained by a facilitator at each school selected for participation at inner-city, urban and rural schools. 

     Demographic targeting is important during the initial stages of development.


Outcomes Report

Another unique feature of the program will be the process used to evaluate its effectiveness.  Students will not be the only ones tested.  Teachers, administrators, parents and the community will also participate in surveys and periodic reviews.  Behavior in and out of the classroom will be measured.  Long term evaluations of attendance and participation extra-curricular activities will be an important tool to determine results.

Together, we can give our children a gift so many generations before them have failed to receive.  We can bring values and respect back into schools.

 

We envision seven sub-committees:

 

Sign-up for a committee Now

*  Research

Curriculum Development

Teaching Tools Development

Grant writing / fundraising

Instruction - Teaching Teachers

Program Evaluation

             

The Real Work Begins
The Task Force is currently conducting an exhaustive nationwide search for materials and existing education programs targeted for grades three to eleven.  Members are evaluating and recommending materials (text books, audio and visual materials, computer-related and other educational learning aids) for integration into existing core curriculum areas. 

They will write syllabuses, lesson plans, tests and other evaluation materials.  They will package teaching tools, train teachers, and identify potential schools for pilot programs. 

Financial Requirements Budget

Members will solicit contributions and support from businesses and individuals to provide seed for the program.  They will determine long term funding sources and prepare grant applications. They will contact educators, administrators, and legislators for advice and participation in the development of the program.

 

As with other programs and services created and operated by the Manataka American Indian Council, before we spend a dime, we closely examine ways to create activity and forward movement without the need for huge amounts of funding. 

The will not 'challenge' school systems, teaching methods or curriculum.  Rather, members will assist in developing creative choices and suggest materials for use in the classroom to add breadth and depth to available instructional aids.   

OTHER ISSUES TO ADDRESS
 

American Indian Teachings

Knowledge and understanding of American Indian culture, history and wisdom lacks a foundation of reality and modern ideology in school systems today.  Schools fail to recognize the value of American Indian contributions to science, math, literature, philosophy, history and the arts and thereby deprive students of a large body of learning.  Moreover, the American Indian is often stereotyped, their history is loosely interpreted, and a vast body of learning is relegated to the nether world of modern thought. 

Schools make only cursory attempts to teach about American Indians and what little instruction is available lacks structure, consistency and truth.  Brief and tenuous presentations about American Indians are often but mere entertainment sidelights to the more scholarly pursuits of learning and fail to correctly portray the true nature of the people and their contributions to humanity. 

Government and many private schools contribute to the decline of American Indian culture by systematically denying children a vast body of knowledge, stereotyping a race of people, and participating, even propagating educational euthanasia against American Indians. 

In today's fast paced, complex modern world, public schools concentrate on making children more competitive in a materialistic society.  The ability to compete in the marketplace is a major criteria placed on students by government schools to determinate their success or failure in life.  American Indian philosophy concentrates on the value of individual freedom and not systems or dogmas. 

The future of this nation and the survival and progress of humanity can be enhanced by learning of the age-old truths taught by the indigenous people of this continent.  Failure to embrace the substance and value of the principals found on the Good Red Road is a horrendous oversight made by the dominant culture and its government school systems.

Incentives exist for schools who implement black and hispanic cultural awareness programs.  AAIETF will endeavor to augment and enhance the ability of schools to take advantage of those type of opportunities by offering American Indian study materials.

MISSION STATEMENT
The objective of the Manataka American Indian Education Task Force is to research and develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary academic school curriculum for schools to:

1)   Encourage and facilitate the adoption of values training in public schools;
     
2)   Promote increased parental and community involvement in academic
      areas of teaching.

3)   Promote understanding and tolerance of American Indian people, culture
      and history;

4)   Curriculum presented will be consistent with requirements, guidelines and
      policies of the Department of Education.

5)   By honoring our children, we honor our ancestors and ourselves.

More information or volunteer support for this worthwhile program contact:

Education Task Force



Manataka American Indian Council
P.O. Box 476, Hot Springs, AR 71902-0476
501-627-0555

Manataka Education Committee

 

Manataka Education Committee Chairman

Rev. Dr, Fred Wilcoxson



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