Friday, January 24, 2014

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is Sunday, February 16th!

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is February 16th! Our staff are available to come into District schools and address Alaska's Civil Rights Act in trainings, presentations, or facilitated discussions. To schedule a visit, please call 742-7867 or click "contact" in the navigation bar.

We've also compiled a list of available resources on our Elizabeth Peratrovich page. Click on the link in the sidebar to learn more!

"No law will eliminate crimes but at least you as legislators can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help us overcome discrimination." 

-- Elizabeth Peratrovich, addressing the Alaska State Senate as she testified in favor of the Anti-Discrimination Act, passed by the Legislature February 8, 1945, and signed into law by Governor Ernst Gruening on February 16, 1945.

Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich (July 4, 1911 - December 1, 1958) was an renowned Alaska Native civil rights leader and Grand Camp President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. After moving to Juneau, Elizabeth and her family faced appalling racism that made it difficult for them to find a home and excluded them from many public facilities. In response, Elizabeth, together with her husband, Roy Peratrovich, and then Governor Ernest Gruening, introduced Alaska's "Equal Rights" Bill to the Legislature in 1943. Elizabeth also gave incisive testimony in favor of the bill, which is credited with splitting opposition to the bill and facilitating its passage in 1945.

It is said that Elizabeth listened quietly to the opposition while Congressmen argued that the Bill would unnecessarily exacerbate racial tensions and that segregation was the real answer. After the debating was over, Elizabeth rose to speak. "I would not have expected," she began, "that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them of our Bill of Rights."

The gallery erupted into applause when Elizabeth finished speaking, and the Alaska Civil Rights Act was passed 11-5 on February 16th.

In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16th as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, memorializing her "courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska" (Alaska Statutes 44.12.065).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Check out TItle VII's new video promoting cultural enrichment in schools!

Title VII has recently completed a new video promoting cultural enrichment in Anchorage Schools. In the video, we feature our Summer Enrichment Program, where students had the opportunity to create beautiful relief carvings, Yup'ik drums, beadwork, and learn from four different Alaska Native languages.

title vii indian education 1280x720 from Title VII Indian Education on Vimeo.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Learn more about Alaska Native Winter Festivals!

You know about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza, but do you know about Slaviq? Or the Bladder Festival? You can learn about these long-standing winter traditions and access resources by clicking on "Winter Festivals" in the sidebar on the right.

  • Slaviq (Russian Christmas) - On January 7th, the Russian orthodox church celebrates the Nativity with a tradition known as Slaviq, which comes from the Russian word for "glory". It is also known as "starring". For a week or more, churchgoers carry brightly decorated stars from door to door, singing songs in English, Russian, Slavonic, Yup'ik, and other Alaska Native languages. The procession and carols pay homage to the journey made by the magi. The groups are greeted with food and presents at homes along with way. Slaviq was introduced to Alaska Native peoples in the late 19th century by a Ukranian priest. Read about Slaviq in Nondalton and Bristol Bay

  • Bladder Festival - The Yup'ik believe that no one ever truly dies, but that their soul is part of a cycle in which it is reborn in another generation. This cycle of life extends to animals in the traditional belief that the souls of seals killed by hunters must be properly cared for so that they, too, can be reborn. They believe that a seal recognizes the merits of a hunter and allows itself to be killed; when this happens, the seal's soul retracts to its bladder. Although its body dies and provides food for the hunter, its soul will stay alive in the bladder until it is returned to the sea. The Bladder Festival celebrates the Yup'ik belief in the cycle of life and their relationship with their environment. The Yup'ik hunter collected the bladders from seals killed during the season. When the Bladder Festival is held in the winter, all of the bladders caught by hunters are inflated and hung together in the qasgiq, where they were celebrated for five days. On the fifth day, each family takes the bladders of the seals they have killed to the sea and pushes them through a hole in the ice, allowing the souls of the seals to be reborn. Read about the Bladder Festival in Kodiak and Point Hope

  • Inviting-in Feast - Along the northwest coast of Alaska, the Yup'ik peoples made masks for a final winter ceremony called the Agayuyaraq ("way, or process, of requesting"), also referred to as Kelek ("Inviting-in Feast") or the Masquerade (Fienup-Riordan 1996). You can see an example from the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center here. The complex ceremony involved singing songs of supplication to the animals' yuit ("their persons"), accompanied by the performance of masked dances, under the direction of the shaman. In preparation for the ceremony, the shaman directed the construction of the masks, through which the spirits revealed themselves as simultaneously dangerous and helpful. The helping spirits often took the form of an owl. The majority of masks contained feathers from snowy owls. Carvers strove to represent the helping spirits or animal yuit they had encountered in a vision, dream, or experience. In all cases, the wearer was infused with the spirit of the creature represented. Together with other events, the ceremony embodied a cyclical view of the universe whereby right action in the past and present reproduced abundance in the future. Read about the Inviting-in Feast in the Yukon

Our staff are available for presentations at staff meetings, in service days, workshops, and more. We would love to share our resources with you and discuss practical ways to implement culturally responsive practices in your classroom. We also have specific information to share about Alaska Native winter holidays as we come into this holiday season. Contact our office at 742-4445 for more information!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November is Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month!

November is Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month! And to celebrate, Title VII has lots of great opportunities for students and teachers. Click here to read the Presidential Proclamation and the ASD School Board Resolution.
  • We have a poster of 101 free ways to celebrate Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage month available for download on Google Drive. We are here to support any of the ideas/activities listed that you are interested in implementing at your school!
  • We are offering weekly "Lunch and a Movie" screenings and discussions at the ASD Education Center! Our films this year will be Reel Injun, Smoke Signals, Smokin' Fish, and Dear Lemon Lima. Download our flyer with dates, times, and locations here.
  • We are available to go into schools and discuss Heritage Month and culturally responsive approaches to Thanksgiving. While we're there, we talk about practical classroom ideas and share our resources. Click "Contact" in the navigation bar to schedule a visit!
  • We are also offering after hours workshops which address the above on Tuesday, November 13th, and Thursday, November 15th at the ASD Education Center. A $25 addendum will be paid to attendees. Search "Excavating Thanksgiving" on MLP to sign up!
  • We can assist in finding speakers and ideas for cultural enrichment activities, depending on what you're looking for.
  • Title VII is also proud to provide you an opportunity to have Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) come and make a presentation about Native Youth Olympics. During the presentation, students will learn the history of the games, how to perform them, and why the were used. Learn more by downloading our information here.
As always, feel free to contact our office with any questions!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Importance of Attendance

Title VII has recently finished production on a short video highlighting the importance of daily school attendance. Please take a few moments to view it below. If you are having trouble getting your child to school, follow these tips:

  • Set early goals with your child for excellent attendance. Explain your expectations clearly and emphasize the importance of their education. The most important thing you can do as a parent is show support for your child and their teachers.
  • Make sure both you and your child get enough sleep. Even on weekends.
  • Provide an alarm clock for your child and show them how to use it.
  • Prepare outfits, plan breakfasts, and make lunches and snacks the night before to save time in the morning.
  • Create a place for coats, hats, glvoes, shoes, and homework near the door to prevent frantic last-minute searches.
  • Schedule medical and dental appointments outside of school hours and during school breaks.
  • Don't ignore phone calls or letters home alerting you of absences. Follow up on any communication from the school with both the school administration and our child.
If an absence is unavoidable, inform your child's school as soon as possible. Some schools require you to complete a form indicating which days your child will miss and why. Make sure ou contact your child's teachers to arrange to pick up missed work either in advance if the absence is planned, or the same day if the absence is unplanned.

Remember, the Anchorage School District takes chronic absenteeism very seriously, and all Anchorage schools have a set limit on the number of absences a student can have before disciplinary action is taken and/or credit is withdrawn. The School Board's new goal is for students to be in school for 90% of the school year. Familiarize yourself with our school's policies b reading the parent handbook. Handbooks can be downloaded here.

Title VII Attendance Video from Title VII Indian Education on Vimeo.