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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 4 , 2002 - Issue 60


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Akwesasne Freedom School Earns Award for Environmental Program


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Students from the Akwesasne Freedom School will travel to Washington to receive a regional award for the President’s Environmental Youth Awards Program.

The students include Ranakarakete McDonald, Teiohonssiakwente Skidders, Teioswathe Cook, Kanaratahawe Jackson, Tekawitha Lazore, Kawennahente Cook, Kawennakwas Mitchell, Karonhiota Skidders, Aronhiaies Herne, Iohowaawi Fox and Westine Herne. The students studied the importance of wetlands with their teacher Elizabeth Perkins while in grades six through eight at the year-round Mohawk language immersion school. The school curriculum is based on the traditional teachings of the Haudenosaunee people, which include respect for people, community and all of creation.

In 1999, students, their families and teachers worked in collaboration with the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment, a community based not-for-profit organization, to restore a 50-acre degraded wetland on the school’s property. Patrick Sullivan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resource Conservation Service helped through an USDA Wetland Reserve Program grant.

A focal point of the project was the reconstruction of a small island in the wetland in the shape of a turtle. The turtle is one of the three major clans of the Mohawk Nation and has a central role in Mohawk creation beliefs, where it is seen as providing support to the rest of nature. Deer and mallard ducks have already begun to return to the natural habitat of the restored wetland.

Akwesasne Freedom School
The Akwesasne Freedom School is located on the Kanienkahaka (Mohawk) Territory of Akwesasne. The school is dedicated to the preservation of Mohawk language and culture. The school houses approximately 65 students and 12 staff members. The Akwesasne Freedom School has been in existance for twenty years, and has recently begun year round schooling. The curriculum is based on the Ohenton kariwatekwa, which gives thanks to all of life forces. The school is a Mohawk immersion school, and teaches all subjects in the Mohawk Language. The teaching methods are far different from mainstream schools in that it utilizes many activities geared toward hands-on experience. The children learn from experiencing the subject they are being taught.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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