Loading

68°F

67°F

72°F

67°F

72°F

68°F

68°F

69°F

72°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
Police search for hit and run driverSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MERRILL - Police need your help finding the driver of car involved in a hit and run accident over the weekend.

It happened around 3:30 in the morning on Saturday in the town of Merrill.

No one was hurt in the crash.

The victim was driving east on Hillside Drive, just west of County Rd K.

That's when a small silver car sideswiped the victim's dark blue Dodge Avenger.

+ Read More
Trial date set for former Assembly Majority LeaderSubmitted: 07/28/2014

WAUKESHA - The former majority leader of the Wisconsin Assembly will go on trial in October for sexual assault.

State Representative Bill Kramer is accused of shoving a woman into a car, groping her and making inappropriate comments.

The charges date back to a GOP event in April 2011.

During a hearing Friday, a Waukesha County Circuit Judge set a jury trial for October 28th.

+ Read More
AirVenture gets underway this week in OshkoshSubmitted: 07/28/2014

OSHKOSH - Aviation enthusiasts from as many as 70 countries will gather in Oshkosh this week for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.

The convention draws about a half million people to the weeklong event near Wittman Regional Airport.

Thousands of planes have already landed at the airport.

On Monday, NASA representatives will talk about their plan to take people to Mars starting in 2030.

+ Read More
Blues festival raises money for youth sports teamsSubmitted: 07/27/2014

Play Video

ST. GERMAIN - Most communities sell cookies and pies to raise money for their kid's athletic programs. But athletes in the Northland Pines district get most of their funding from a blues festival.

The Joe Bucher Blues Fest is the biggest blues festival in northern Wisconsin. More than 350 people come to the festival every year. All of the money raised is donated to the Northland Pines sports teams.

+ Read More
Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team inspires Northwoods crowdsSubmitted: 07/27/2014

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Two things unite a special group of 24 of our nation's heroes - traumatic injury and softball. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is made up of veterans and active duty servicemen who served in the Global War on Terrorism.

"I thought the world was over. And I thought there was no way in the world I'd ever do anything again," Army veteran and Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball player Rick Wilk said of losing his leg.

Wilk came home safely from two deployments only to lose his leg below the knee to a drunk driver in 2010. Within a year of losing his leg, Wilk was up and running, literally. Now, three years after losing his leg, he plays softball better than most people with all their limbs.

+ Read More
Boat show displays restored wooden boats, raises money for medical researchSubmitted: 07/27/2014

Play Video

MINOCQUA - It can take years to restore an old wooden boat. But some wooden boat owners are willing to put that time in because the finished product can teach people about antique boats.

People got the chance to show off their boats at 22nd annual Antique Wooden Boat Show in Minocqua this weekend.

+ Read More
Pilots take to the sky in Air Cup Race Submitted: 07/27/2014

Play Video

WAUSAU - You can find adrenaline and speed at a race track, but nothing compares to racing 300 miles per hour in the sky.

46 Pilots from across the country competed in the EAA AirVenture Cup Race. This is the 17th year racers took to the sky, but it's the first time they made a pit stop in Wausau.

The chairman for the race says it's all about having fun with your friends.

"It's really about how well you can fly your airplane. It promotes efficiency, flying accuracy, a flight planning; it's really just about having fun," said EAA AirVenture Cup Race Chairman Eric Whyte.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here