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March 2013 Public Hearing Meeting Minutes

American Indian Education Oversight Committee

March 18, 2013, Public Hearing–Meeting Minutes


Committee members: Laura Lee George (Chair), André Cramblit (Parliamentarian), Amber Machamer (Vice Chair), Deborah DeForge, Rodney Lindsay, Rachel McBride, Irma Amaro, Russel “Butch” Murphy, Kathleen Marshall, Helen Doherty

California Department of Education (CDE) Staff Present: Judy Delgado, and Chavela Delp

Public Hearing convened at 1:00 p.m.

Laura Lee George—Reviews the American Indian Education Oversight Committee (AIEOC) roles to advise the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) on American Indian education issues, and the purpose and procedure of the Public Hearing. The AIEOC’s role is to only receive community input which will help formulate the AIEOC’s agenda for the coming year.

Jim McQuillen—Assembly Bill 544–Teacher Credential: American Indian languages

  • The American Indian language teachers are real teachers; however, they are treated differently. They need to be paid like teachers and longevity and movement across the pay scale requires them to be treated as professionals.
  • There needs to be appropriate curriculum on California history and the Native American contributions to society leaving out stereotypes. Inappropriate lessons are being taught (missionaries, mascots, Thanksgiving, gaming revenues).
  • Native American staff recruitment needs to occur. Teaching staff need to be reflective of their communities, not simply box checkers.

Lisa Morehead—Postsecondary Education

  • How can I convince our tribal youth and their families (not traditionally supportive of European-style [academically based] education) that they should strive to achieve some sort of postsecondary education?

Margaret Littlejohn, Golden Hills School, Palermo District—Tobacco on school grounds

  • At the beginning of the school year, the first cultural classes begin with drum blessing (sage/cedar/tobacco mix sprinkled) and song. Ms. Littlejohn was called into the office and given a verbal warning and a “No Tobacco on School Grounds” ordinance sheet by the principal. Ms. Littlejohn objected because it was not burning or being smoked. This is a sacred thing which has been turned into a negative by mainstream America (non-Native influence). Budget cuts have changed Ms. Littlejohn’s schedule and she is unable to help the Native American students.
  • Ongoing funding for higher education is needed.
  • Encourage schools to higher Native Americans at their local schools.

Kerry Venegas, Hoopa Education Department, Hoopa Valley Tribe—Native American Credentialed Teachers

  • There are Native American credentialed teachers and salary schedule issues.
  • Respect the unique status of California Indians not as an ethnic group, but socio-political status with unique obligation from the state and federal governments.
  • What are the specifics for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards?
  • There are issues of local control of funding and how training and oversight to ensure equity and the serving of Native American students will be considered or maintained.
Nakia Zavalla, Santa Ynez Chumash— AB 544–Teacher Credential: American Indian languages
  • There is ongoing conversation/support for our teachers.
  • The implementation of AB 544, there have been questions from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Chris McQuillen—How Districts Identify Native American Students

  • There are concerns for the way ethnicity is identified at Del Norte schools. Hispanic and Native American students are grouped together.

William Einman—Native American Teachers are only Receiving Temporary Status

  • The credentialed language teachers may be receiving temporary status (versus probationary/permanent status). For the stability of Native American language programs, Native American credentialed teachers should receive the same status/protection as other credentialed teachers.
James Gensaw, Sr., Yurok Language Teacher—Native Credentialed Teachers
  • Native American language teachers should be treated equal as other teachers, both professionally and financially.
Lena Bommelyn—History and Cultural Appropriateness
  • Make sure educators are educated on real histories and cultural appropriate ways to work with Native American students in class.
  • Move funding needed to help students further their education past their kindergarten through grade twelve education.
  • Pressure to school districts to higher Native American students once they are educated and go back to their communities to find jobs.
Lisa Morehead—School Districts’ Financial Support
  • There needs to be a distribution of tax dollars to dispel the disparity in school districts’ financial support. (Compare: Santa Barbara to Happy Camp, in Siskiyou County.)
The Public Hearing adjourned at 2:00 p.m.
Questions: Judy Delgado | | 916-319-0506 
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 4, 2015

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