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Education Briefs | Begay aims for health of community

Education Briefs | Begay aims for health of community

DENVER

Chance Begay divides his education goals into short-term and long-term goals, but his focus is always on the health of his community.

In a report from the American Indian College Fund, Begay is studying at Arizona State University and is working toward his ultimate career goal of being a physical therapist.

Although he is busy with his studies, he is not too busy to create better health opportunities as a student.

He founded a student organization called Indigenous Wellness Alliance that integrates school and community activities toward healthy lifestyles and cultural awareness to highlight health and health care disparities and provide social growth for Indigenous students on campus.

He also works with his Native student center, which helps provide a home away from home for Native Americans.

Underlying everything is Begay’s passion for improving the health of his people and serving as a role model to youth in his community.

“Native Americans have some of the highest rates of health problems in the United States,” he said, “and I believe I can be a positive influence in bringing change and awareness.”

Atcitty hired as USU-Blanding sexual violence prevention specialist

Courtesy photo | University Marketing & Communications
Kayla Atcitty has been hired as a sexual violence prevention specialist by Utah State University-Blanding.

BLANDING, Utah — Utah State University-Blanding recently hired Kayla Atcitty to serve as the campus’ sexual violence prevention specialist.

Atcitty will help implement and increase sexual misconduct prevention efforts through online campus events, social media and various other student and employee interactions.

Atcitty comes to USU-Blanding with experience in community health, education, peer support and leading social skills programs.

She is hopeful about the future USU is initiating and looks forward to creating a positive impact on the USU-Blanding campus.

Atcitty said, “Sexual violence can be a difficult issue to discuss, but it is necessary if we are going to foster a community where everyone feels welcome, safe, and respected.”

Atcitty will be supported by USU’s Office of Equity. This position will strengthen USU’s sexual misconduct prevention efforts.

Emmalee Fishburn, senior prevention specialist in the Office of Equity, said, “This position is crucial to meeting the sexual misconduct prevention and education needs of students and employees at the Blanding campus.”

According to USU policy terms, sexual misconduct includes one or more of the following types of conduct: sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence and sex-based stalking.

Kristian Olsen, USU-Blanding associate vice president, said, “In her role, Kayla will help us create educational materials and trainings that will continue to move us in a positive direction.”

Indigenous jewelry, trade history featured

FARMINGTON – “Southwest Tribal Adornment and Trade History of the Four Corners,” presented by Venaya Yazzie, will be featured today from 4-5 p.m. (Zoom link: https://sanjuancollege-edu.zoom.us/j/98601136605)

Like the high desert Southwest carries narrative, so do Indigenous jewelry adornment practices. With a focus on historical adornment, ties to land and minerals are apparent in the history of the people dwelling among the Four Corners’ mesas, valleys, and mountains.

The Navajo, Apache, Ute, and Pueblo people have used jewelry to perpetuate culture and created trade commerce with non-indigenous people through the years.

This educational presentation is free and is hosted by San Juan College.

Bill to fund Diné College projects reintroduced

WASHINGTON – On Feb. 2, the Diné College Act of 2022, which would provide funding to continue higher education opportunities, was introduced in Congress, according to Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s office.

The act would allocate $7.5 million to the college for capital improvement projects and operational funding.

O’Halleran originally introduced the Diné College Act in 2018.

Charles Roessel, president of Diné College, said, “This bill will invest in our Navajo students and serve the higher educational needs of the Navajo people. We look forward to seeing this bill pass.”

O’Halleran said, “I’m proud to re-introduce this important legislation to provide Diné College with the resources needed to further expand opportunities available to Navajo students, setting them up for good-paying jobs when they graduate, and strengthening the tribe’s economy in the process.”

BIE distributing more than 1 million masks to schools

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Bureau of Indian Education on Feb. 3 announced the distribution of more than 1 million surgical masks to BIE-funded schools.

BIE will distribute 600,000 masks for K-12 students at all schools and 600,000 N95 respirators to K-12 schools for staff and adults in households and Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute for students and staff.

The Biden-Harris administration is issuing 400 million free non-surgical N95 respirators to local pharmacies and community centers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
BIE’s goal is to provide additional access to protective equipment in the tribal communities it serves in support of this effort.

Bryan Newland, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said, “With this initiative, we are leveraging our existing resources in rural and remote communities to improve access to protective masks and respirators.”

Information: https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus/

Bill would increase pay for Native speakers who teach children

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Legislature advanced a bill Feb. 2 that would increase the minimum salaries of some fluent Indigenous language speakers who teach the languages to children in schools but are not state-certified teachers.

The instructors who speak Navajo, Zuni, Keres, and other Native American languages work for school systems at non-teaching jobs. They are paid much less than teachers despite their work teaching languages to students.

About 100 people in New Mexico have Indigenous language certificates approved by their tribes and administered by state education officials. The bill would provide state funding to cover those certificate holders with minimum salary protections of middle-tier licensed teachers.

The measure could double, or triple instructor salaries from the local minimum wage to a teacher salary of $50,000, and the Legislature could raise it to $60,000 this year.

The House Education Committee advanced the bill Feb. 2 with a 9-1 vote that included Democratic and Republican support.

Scholarship applications open for American Indian College Fund

DENVER – Online applications are open, and the deadline is March 31 for the American Indian College Fund’s Full Circle Scholarship.

The Full Circle Scholarship Program is open to any Native American U.S. citizen who is an enrolled member or descendant of an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe.

Applicants must also have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA and plan to enroll as a full-time student at a nonprofit, accredited college or university.

Hundreds of scholarships are available in all areas of study, and students attending tribal colleges can receive additional scholarship support.

The College Fund provided $15.5 million in scholarships and other student support for Native American students in 2020-21. Since its founding in 1989, the Fund has provided more than $259 million in scholarships, programmatic and community support.

Information: www.collegefund.org/scholarships or www.collegefund.org.

Native performers added to UNITY agenda

MESA, Ariz. – The United National Indian Tribal Youth announced D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai, Oji-Cree, and rappers Lil Mike and Funny Bone, Pawnee, from the hit show “Reservation Dogs” were added to the 2022 UNITY Midyear Conference agenda.

The conference will be at the Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak Feb. 25 to 27.

Keynote speakers are “America’s Got Talent” finalist Brooke Simpson, Haliwa-Saponi, and land protector Quannah ChasingHorse, Han Gwich’in and Sicangu/Ogala Lakota.

“We are looking forward to having these talented young performers at the mid-year conference,” said Mary Kim Titla, executive director of UNITY. “They are excellent examples of how Native artists are making a difference and influencing popular culture.”

The three-day conference will engage Native youth from across the country through peer-led activities, general and breakout sessions, and cultural sharing.

Information: headquarters@unityinc.org

UD Graduate School of Social Work

DURANGO, Colo. — The University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work is now accepting applications to earn a master’s in social work for the two-year program starting in fall 2022.

The focus is on the needs of rural and tribal communities.

Friday and Saturday classes, reduced tuition rates, and financial aid are available.

Information: www.du.edu/socialwork/fourcorners.com or janelle.doughty@du.edu.


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