Loading

62°F

62°F

62°F

60°F

62°F

60°F

60°F

65°F

62°F
NEWS STORIES

Racist Homework Assignment Upsets CommunitySubmitted: 10/09/2012

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.


Story By: Kailey Burton

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





 IN OTHER NEWS
Woman charged with embezzling money from Rescue Squad pleads no contestSubmitted: 07/23/2014

Play Video

FOREST COUNTY - An Argonne woman will spend time in jail for taking money from a Northwoods Rescue Squad.

Megan Statezny pled no contest in Forest County court Wednesday. She handled finances for the Crandon Area Rescue Squad.

Police say she admitted to spending more than $18,000 using a credit card that wasn't hers.

+ Read More
Unemployment up in Wisconsin's largest citiesSubmitted: 07/23/2014

MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.

Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.

+ Read More
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summerSubmitted: 07/23/2014

RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.

Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.

"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.

+ Read More
Wisconsin to stop enforcing birth control lawSubmitted: 07/23/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration will no longer enforce the state's contraception coverage law for employers with religious objections following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month.

The decision riled birth control advocates and Democrats, who said Wednesday that Wisconsin law is not affected by the decision.

The Supreme Court ruled that companies with religious objections, like Hobby Lobby, can avoid the contraceptives requirement of the federal health care overhaul law.

+ Read More
Local union fundraiserSubmitted: 07/23/2014

Play Video

MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.

Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!

"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."

+ Read More
Update: Woman dies in swimming accidentSubmitted: 07/23/2014

Play Video

STAR LAKE - Update: 7/23/14

47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.

Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.

The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.

+ Read More
Northwoods composite panels could mean improvements for home foundations Submitted: 07/23/2014

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.

Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.

The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here