Successful Native Youth Program Displaced from Robert Eagle Staff SchoolTweet
A Native youth program with a record of boosting graduation rates and cultural enrichment for Seattle students has been cut back by Robert Eagle Staff school, echoing the heartbreak of broken agreements with local Native Americans over centuries. Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) was given email notice by Eagle Staff School Principal Marni Campbell on May 22nd stating the UNEA ‘Partnership Agreement’ will be reduced (cut in half) for the new school year and this decision is “non-negotiable”.
“This displacement of the Clear Sky tutoring and cultural program and Native Warrior Athletics will impact hundreds of Seattle Public School Native learners, families, volunteers, Robert Eagle Staff/Licton Springs learning community and members of our intertribal urban community”, stated Sarah Sense-Wilson, (Oglala), Urban Native Education Alliance, Chair.
Clear Sky’s youth programming holds an 10 year record of 100% graduation for involved Native youth K-12, and stands as a recognized model for improving Native student academic and personal youth outcomes. Clear Sky served 81 Native youth, 71 volunteers, 64 Native Warrior Athletics student athletes, and over 784 combined community members, volunteers, students and allied programs in the past school year.
“Displacing and dispossessing our Native learners is an intentional effort to eliminate our presence and visibility at a school we successfully campaigned for naming Robert Eagle Staff”, said Amadanyo Oguara (Colville ), Clear Sky Alumni. Robert Eagle Staff School is located on culturally significant sacred land (Licton Springs). This site is where both Seattle Clear Sky and UNEA birthed as grassroots community driven organization. Our connection to this land transcends time and is a sacred relationship. It is ironic district officials accepted traditional star quilts, Eagle Staff Sculpture and other items of cultural importance in ceremony, as an exchange in good faith to honor the legacy Robert Eagle Staff and in tribute to the urban Native community’s ties and connection with this sacred site. UNEA requested the reversal of the decision, which remains in place for the fall school year despite its opposition to Seattle School’s Educational and Racial Equity Policy #0030, and SPS strategic Plan for eliminating Achievement gap, and its Racial Equity Analysis Tool to ensure equitable access.
“This decision resonates painfully with Seattle Schools history of broken promises,” said Sarah Sense-Wilson , “Our Native student’s access and opportunities for needed services are being truncated and again our partnership is dishonored. We are asking the district to rescind their decision for the benefit of the entire Seattle community. “
Jon Halfaker, Seattle Public Schools Area Executive Director, noted that alternative spaces may be offered at adjacent Licton Springs or Cascadia school. However, UNEA finds these spaces are insufficient for their basketball, fitness, health, tutoring and cultural programming. Please contact Seattle Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org and Seattle School Board email@example.com to express support for our efforts to re-establish our original partnership with SPS. District Public Testimony is on Wednesday July 11th 5:00pm, call -in (206) 252- 0040 (must call on Monday July 9th, 2018 @ 8:00am). Please feel free to email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.urbannativeeducation.org