‘It’s important to share our stories!’

‘It’s important to share our stories!’

Native students ‘forgotten, invisible’ in ABQ schools, parents tell HRC

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

ALBUQUERQUE

Several Native American parents and students — including the great-grandaughter of one of the first Navajos to attend boarding school — testified at a recent public hearing that the Albuquerque Public School District still has a long way to go to make Native students feel welcome and valued.

The March 12 public hearing, convened by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, was held at the Marriott Uptown Hotel.

The Albuquerque hearing was one of nine convened in border towns this month to assess the mistreatment of Native American and Alaska Native students.

The hearings are, in part, in response to the racially charged incidents at Cibola High School last fall that unleashed pent-up outrage from the urban Native community.

Playing out a Halloween character, English teacher Mary Jane Eastin, allegedly called McKenzie Johnson, Diné, a “bloody Indian” and cut the hair of another Native American student without her permission.

At the hearing, McKenzie called for APS to provide students with book lists by Native American authors.

In current materials, “… they call us savages,” testified McKenzie.


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