Sunday, August 27, 2006

Traditional Games

Phys. ed. Classes Integrate Tradition In Montana. Jack McNeel, July 6,
2006, Indian Country Today. Copyright Indian Country Today. All Rights

[Great Falls, Mont. - Educators recently attended 'The Culture of
Survival' certification academy in Great Falls to learn how to integrate
traditional Indian games into physical education classes statewide. The
state of Montana now requires that Indian education, including knowledge,
history and culture, be included in all schools throughout the state.
The four-day event was organized by DeeAnna Leader, director of Indian
education for the Great Falls Public Schools and executive director of the
International Traditional Games Society. She explained, 'Two parallel
things were going on. Nine people made up the certification group of
teachers and 15 people were getting certified. Another eight were part of
the curriculum development group. Both groups were going back and forth
between each other because often the state standards group would have a
question they needed to ask of the people who were doing the training for
certification.' A rewrite of the Montana Constitution in 1972 included
wording requiring Montanans to know about Indian culture and the heritage
of the tribes in the state. ''Indian Education for All' is the title given
to legislation that passed the Montana Legislature in 1999, essentially
putting regulations, policy and money into the program. It's taken all
those years to get the program off the ground. Arlene Adams, Salish from
Arlee, was an instructor at the recent workshop. She commented, 'It's been
my 20-year commitment to work with Native Games for the implementation of
instruction into the public school system as well as the Indian school
system in Montana. It was great to see the educators come out and the
people that attended the workshop to help in that process. It's really
good to see it's finally coming out the way it is. The workshop was
wonderful and really strengthens my hope for Native Games.' Indian
education is to eventually be included in all school disciplines. The
social studies curriculum was done in the past year and current efforts
are directed at the health and physical education aspects. The group of
eight in attendance at the recent academy that makes up curriculum
development observed the teaching of the Native Games activities to
determine how they can be infused into the health and physical education
Dulci Whitford, Blackfeet, is one of those curriculum development persons.
Whitford has recently been hired by the Great Falls district as a teacher
on special assignment to help implement Indian Education for All.]


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