Usually, August means excitement for children. Back to school means buying school supplies and new clothes for the school year, plus the benefit of seeing their friends again. However, for many Native Americans, it is a time filled with anxiety and stress because of negative school experiences. Not only is this an effect of family historical trauma but also an effect of low self-esteem and lack of cultural identity. There are numerous factors, but one deeply rooted issue goes unaddressed, year after year. The boarding school era (1860s-1960s) failed to offer the opportunities it promised Native people but succeeding in stripping them of their culture.
I like this organization because it provides hope for those who are often unheard and unnoticed. Lack of educational opportunities has been a huge problem for years, and it only got worse when the U.S. Government meddled in something that didn’t need to be “fixed” by outsiders.
One of my favorite pen pals over the years was a man who spoke fluent Blackfeet who was in the process of starting a school in Montana that would teach this endangered language. He knew was many off the rez don’t understand: the loss of a language is death to a culture.
I like the storytelling approach of Native Hope. We need more of it.