Our Facebook page at the beginning of November highlighted Hensley, a third grader at East Elementary School in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Hensley is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and has recently become interested in discovering more about her Native American heritage. Theresa Plata, Hensley’s Student Support Coordinator, says that Hensley is “a powerhouse [who] represents her school, family, and tribe with pride.”
November is recognized as Native American Heritage Month, and Communities In Schools of Mid-America is proud of our Tribal Services team and the work to serve students in Anadarko, Oklahoma. During the 2021-2022 school year, CIS of Mid-America worked with 335 students in Anadarko. Of those students, 85% showed improvement in academics at the end of the school year, while 88% saw an increase in attendance and 100% were able to stay in school.
Native American Heritage Month has existed in its current form since 1990, and is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, history, and traditions of Native people. This is also a time to educate the general public about Indigenous Americans, and the unique challenges they have faced historically and in the present.
Communities In Schools of Mid-America recognizes the unique challenges that Native American students face as they go to school each day, and it is our mission to ensure that our Student Support Coordinators have the resources to empower students to achieve in school and succeed in life. We believe in placing a caring adult in schools where students feel they have supports in place to help them thrive. To that end, our Tribal Services group serving in Anadarko includes a program director and manager as well as six Student Support Coordinators.
What’s even more beneficial for our students is that most of the team are tribal members of tribes represented by the students in the schools. In Anadarko, for example, there are 7 federally recognized tribal headquarters in the area and 39 tribes represented in the school district.
While Native American History Month may be drawing to a close, learning about Indigenous Americans doesn’t end. Expanding your Native American Heritage knowledge can happen all year long. Here are four resources to help you expand your knowledge and understanding of these important topics:
- Connect with this lesson plan about the rich diversity of Native American tribes and people.
- With CIS of Mid-America’s connection to Anadarko, Oklahoma, click here to engage with Oklahoma Native American Tribes local government pages as well as information on their rich history.
- Watch a collection of films and shows from PBS curated for Native American & Alaska Native Heritage Month.
- Check out our Alumni Allies website with resources for native students including tribal colleges and higher ed websites.
And, a BONUS…
- Get your taste buds ready as you explore the Toasted Sister Podcast, a radio show about Native American food.