Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 14, 2002 - Issue 76


pictograph divider


Californian will Lead Indian Education Group

by Stephen Magagnini Sacramento Bee
Cindy La MarrSACRAMENTO, CA - When Cindy La Marr was growing up, her third-grade teacher asked her to explain the history and culture of California Indians.

Ever since then, the Pit River/Paiute Indian has been teaching Indians and non-Indians alike about native ways and beliefs.

Now, La Marr will get the chance to teach Indian children and adults across the country. She recently was elected president of the 4,000-member National Indian Education Association, one of the oldest and largest Indian advocacy groups in the United States.

La Marr's election comes at a critical time, as tribal sovereignty and Indian gaming are changing the American landscape and attitudes toward native people.

"The other day, my 6-year-old grandson said, 'You know, white people don't like Indians,' " La Marr said. "He's gained that perception from the media in some way. That's where our sense of self starts to diminish."

While some Indian tribes are using gaming revenues to increase educational opportunities, "Indian youth have the highest dropout rates, the highest rates of suicide and substance abuse in the nation," she said.

"I never blame the parents if they don't have the proper parenting skills or the best home environment, because so much was taken away from them when they went to (forced Bureau of Indian Affairs) boarding schools," she said. "They've had to learn it (Indian culture) all over again."

La Marr's roots run through California's bloody past. In 1866, La Marr said, her Paiute ancestors were camped at Eagle Lake when they were ambushed by a militia. One of the only survivors was a baby in a papoose - La Marr's great-grandfather - and the area was renamed Papoose Meadows, she said.

For the past decade, she has served as executive director of Capital Area Indian Resources, where she has run summer programs for Indian youths, helped Indians resurrect their native tongues, and lobbied for a California Indian Cultural Center and Museum. She's also fighting for a state law that would outlaw the use of Indian mascots at non-Indian public schools.

One of the Sacramento-area programs La Marr would like to apply nationwide is "Summer Rez," a five-day program for about 45 Indian high school students, done in conjunction with UC Davis, UC Berkeley and several other colleges, that uses younger Indian leaders to teach the youths respect for themselves and others.

"It's a model for Indian youth entering college, a way of making sure they're successful as an Indian," she said. "It's not just about going to college, it's not about being financially well-off; it's about service to the community and what you do with your life."

Sacramento, CA Map
Maps by Travel

pictograph divider


Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  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 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!