Oct 20, 2014 - Native American High School Club Denied Cultural Assembly

Press Release
October 17th, 2014

Seattle, WA., On Oct 1st, 2014 Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors approved resolution N. 2014/15-10 designation of ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ in Seattle Public Schools to honor, celebrate, and promote visibility while recognizing contributions and achievements of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, City of Seattle Council and Mayor Ed Murray approved a resolution to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day every 2nd Monday of October.

Ingraham Native/Latino club student leadership requested a school wide assembly to promote diversity, celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and to recognize Native Heritage Month and Latino Heritage Month and Native American Heritage month is November as traditionally marked by the President of the United States of America since 1990. However, Native American and Latino student Club members and allies at Ingraham High School are being oppressed by the school leadership through the denial of a voice or “freedom of speech”; denying active participation in school activities; and demoting Indigenous visibility at Ingraham High School, Seattle, WA.

Ingraham H.S. has no formal policy or procedure for student club initiated school wide assembly requests. The denial for Native/Latino student club assembly is an absolute abomination and contradicts the verbiage used in the Seattle Public Schools resolution. Historically, and presently, our Native and Latino students experience immense discrimination, marginalization and alienation within the current SPS institutions, and this is underscored by the SPS Data which reflects some of the poorest graduation rates, low performance scores, and disproportionality in disciplinary action. A school wide assembly initiated by student leadership could have been a catalyst for improving cultural awareness, sensitivity and supporting diversity within the Ingraham community.

Native/Latino Club students secured funding from ‘We R Native’ grant specifically for raising awareness and promoting Native visibility within the mainstream Ingraham learning community. Native/Latino Club intent is to engage the Ingraham community by educating staff and students about local and National leaders, artists, activist and providing a rare look into Native/Latino perspectives, experiences and contributions. Ingraham H.S. staff should be applauding Native/Latino students for initiating and attempting to bridge cultural learning opportunities, and could have supported students for their initiative, courage, leadership and progressive forward thinking in celebrating SPS designated Native/Latino Heritage Month and Indigenous Peoples Day.

The omission of Indigenous history, culture, contemporary issues and perspective in SPS curriculum, instruction, school environment, and class room climate is a source of ongoing concern. Native Learners continue to experience inequity and systemic disadvantages due to institutionalized racism, lack of SPS culturally responsive, culturally appropriate services and programs, and continued barriers to resources and a lack of Native role models within schools. Historical-socio-cultural-economic factors continue to prevent Native students from achieving academic success. Furthermore, students at Ingraham H.S. have a right to celebrate, honor and share their heritage, perspectives, accomplishments, culture, history and contributions to American society.

On October 27th, 2014 at noon we as a community have been invited by the Latino/Native Club students to gather together in solidarity to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, Latino/Native Heritage month and honor the past/present Indigenous leaders, and celebrated activists, and accomplished community members.

Native /Latino Club students are inviting our communities to JOIN them in support of their efforts at making change happen to bring social justice and enlightenment to Ingraham H.S.

Please join us on Monday October 27th, 2014 at 12noon Ingraham H.S. 1819 N. 135th St Seattle, WA 98133 (main entrance near flag pole) bring your positive energy, prayers, drums/songs and good medicine as we unite together in support of our youth.

If you are interested in assisting with this event please contact Sarah Sense-Wilson at markseattl3@aol.com
Or Karen Elliott at 206-973-9817

Last Real Indians