February 02, 2008

More on the Odawa class

Odawa language course part of school's curriculumSusan Jacobs, principal at Harbor Springs High School, said she had recognized the need for such a course for several years.

"Native American students do not feel part of our system because very little about the system honors who they are," she wrote in a 2006 letter to the Harbor Springs Public Schools Board of Education.

She contacted Ray Kiogima, a tribal member and elder, about offering an Odawa language course at the high school. Kiogima had co-authored a book entitled, "Odawa Language and Legends," which translates more than 1,000 common words and phrases from Odawa to English.

Kiogima set up a meeting between Jacobs and tribal members.

"The tribe thought it was wonderful; everybody thought it was great," she said. "We wanted to give the Native American students exactly what we give to the white children. We wanted to do something within the curriculum that implicitly said, without saying a word, that 'You are just as valued as anybody else.'"

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