Loading

19°F

20°F

22°F

19°F

20°F

22°F

22°F

24°F

20°F

20°F

24°F

24°F

22°F
NEWS STORIES

Racist Homework Assignment Upsets CommunitySubmitted: 10/09/2012
Story By Kailey Burton


MINOCQUA - A teacher's mistake and misunderstanding put racial tensions in the Northwoods under the microscope.

A math assignment at Lakeland Union High School used a highly offensive word in the Native American community.

Lakeland Union high school has a large Native American population.

When a parent from the Lac du Flambeau tribe saw her son's worksheet used a derogatory term for Native American women, she was outraged.

"Some people say it's an Iroquois word that meant the female genitalia… You would "trade a sqaw for some woods" back in the day, back in the 1700's, 1800's. So to me it's always been a derogatory term," said Abbey Thompson, the mother of Lakeland Union High School Student.

According to the teacher the assignment came from an 1980's era workbook, and involved a puzzle using the offensive word.

Todd Kleinhans, the superintendent for Lakeland Union High School said the teacher made a serious mistake, and was disciplined for the assignment.

"This is… a good teacher who had a serious lapse in judgment. Let's make no mistake, the assignment he provided to his math students was insensitive, it was offensive, and quite honestly it was very insulting to our Native American students and to our community."

Educators with the Lac du Flambeau tribe say this isn't the first instance of racism by ignorance.

Carol Amour with First Nations Traveling Resource Center has spent years working with schools to identify racism, and eliminate it from the classroom.

"We see less bias and stereotyping maybe than say 20 years ago, and that's a good thing. Thank goodness. But we still find it," she said.

Amour says, racism today can be very subtle. She says a major form of bias against Native Americans is practically impossible to see- because Native American culture is simply missing from the curriculum.

She says what the students don't see has a definite impact.

"Unless [Native] students see themselves, in the curriculum, in the schools, they don't have their best chance to succeed... If you don't see yourself as a key player in that environment, that environment may not mean as much to you," she says.

She adds:

"It's law that we do a better job of providing accurate information, accurate history."

Amour is referring to "Act 31". Joni Theobald, the Education and Workforce Director for Lac Du Flambeau tribe explains:

"…We have Act 31, we have things that are in place now that are state law that require schools to address and learn about tribal sovereignty. It's those "unknowns", it's that misunderstanding that leads to these types of situations," she said.

"Act 31" is a series of statues passed by the Wisconsin State legislature in 1989. It requires Wisconsin public schools to teach the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the state's American Indians, to help Wisconsin citizens better understand the native citizens.

The Lakeland student's mother, Abbey Thompson, said she's not angry with the teacher. She wants to learn from the incident and move on.
Theobald, and the tribe have asked the school to implement several measures to give teaches a better understanding of Native American culture, and to promote cultural sensitivity.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Plea deal in Tomahawk marijuana plant bustSubmitted: 12/17/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - The second of two people arrested for having 44 marijuana plants reached a plea deal in Lincoln County Court on Wednesday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jessica Teich pled no contest to a felony for having a drug trafficking place.

She also pled no contest to two misdemeanors for having THC and drug paraphernalia.

The felony charge will be dismissed if Teich successfully completes her 18-month probation.

Tomahawk Police arrested Teich and 34-year-old Jamaal Wilson last April.

+ Read More
Study: Lincoln County professional departments well trained in hazardous materials, volunteer departments need workSubmitted: 12/17/2014

Play Video

MERRILL - Would responders in Lincoln County know how to best handle a hazardous material spill in their area?

It might depend on where that spill happens.

A study for a county committee found a big gap in how prepared certain departments might be to handle hazardous materials.

For the most part, professional fire departments and law enforcement are trained well to respond.

+ Read More
Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

+ Read More
On the Wilderness Act's 50th anniversary, acquaint yourself with pristine areas of northern WisconsinSubmitted: 12/17/2014

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - The first thing you notice in this forest is the silence.

That's the way it was meant to be at Blackjack Springs Wilderness east of Eagle River.

It's a venerable forest, to be sure, but the harvest here isn't timber.

"A Wilderness area," Bob Martini says, "what you're harvesting here feeds the soul."

+ Read More
Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

+ Read More
Grant pays for high school students to get welding diplomas while in high school Submitted: 12/17/2014

Play Video

PHILLIPS - Some Northwoods companies need more skilled workers.

A local technical college got a grant this year to help train people to fill welding jobs.

The grant pays to send high school students to Northcentral Technical College in Phillips and Wausau.

Ten high school students from Price and Taylor counties travel to NTC in Phillips three days a week.

"They will be graduating from Northcentral Technical College with their degree in Gas Metal Arc Welding and it will probably be about a week before they graduate high school," says NTC Phillips Dean Bobbi Damrow.

+ Read More
After Wisconsin deer harvest fall, Upper Peninsula numbers plummetSubmitted: 12/17/2014

Play Video

UPPER PENINSULA - The deer harvest during the gun season fell more than 15 percent in Wisconsin from a year ago.

In the Upper Peninsula, the drop was even worse.

Early results show the deer harvest in the U.P. was down 30 to 40 percent compared to 2013.

Registrations at some check stations dropped as much as 60 percent during the 16-day season in late November.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here