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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 24, 2002 - Issue 68


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Mescalero Schools Mark Grand Opening of Large New Building

by Sandy Suggitt For the Alamagordo Daily News
credits: Mescalero Apache"Wife of the Interpreter" ca. 1886 Photo by J. R. Riddle
Mescalero Apache"Wife of the Interpreter" ca. 1886 Photo by J. R. RiddleU.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest Stevens Jr. joined Mescalero Tribal President Sara Misquez and the Mescalero Tribal Council Monday in inaugurating a new 218,000-square-foot school, which will open for classes next week.

"Your tribal council and president had to go out on a limb to get this building built, and I will make sure they will be reimbursed," Domenici told the several hundred people gathered in front of the new school to celebrate its opening, referring to the fact that the Mescalero Tribe is the only one to have begun school construction with its own funds.

"I'm embarrassed that for the last eight or 10 years, we've been going backward in spending for Indian schools, but the new president put in three times as much a year as was being spent before," he said.

Domenici challenged Mescalero students to consider kindergarten through 12th grade as a minimum education "and also you ought to be what you can be," he said.

Misquez said it is the goal of the Tribal Council that every family benefit from the new school and that the new school would not have been possible without the help of the Tribal Council, revenues from the tribal enterprises and national political leaders.

"We live in an age dominated by education and information," she said. "We must learn new technologies to survive as a tribe and as individuals."

The new 90-classroom school, at a cost of about $34 million, includes an industrial arts/vocational education complex, two gymnasiums, an auditorium, a broadcasting studio, three computer labs, more than 600 networked computers in the classrooms, two art classrooms and specialized classrooms for sciences.

Superintendent of Schools Ray Swinney told those gathered that he's been in education for more than 35 years, "and there's not any facility better than these in the nation." He said both education and the Mescalero Apache culture are honored, and the Apache language is a required course.

"We're hoping that every child on the Mescalero Reservation will choose to attend our school," Swinney said.

Misquez and Domenici cut the ribbon and tribal dancers performed the Apache War Dance, later being joined in other dances by Misquez and Domenici. A blessing feast and supper followed and was also held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Mescalero IR Map
Maps by Travel

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