Hopi Program

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Thu Sep 11 17:35:45 UTC 2003

Hopi language project a reality for Tuba City school district

By Rosanda Suetopka Thayer
TC District Media

Tuba CIty — It’s taken years to get the local village support and
community interest past political obstacles, but this spring Tuba City
High and Tuba City Junior High Schools will begin offering a Hopi
language program, utilizing everyday Hopi conversation as its basic

Many factors in the past year have propelled the Hopi Lavayi program
forward at Tuba City Unified School District. Support from TCHS
Principal Adelbert Goldtooth, District Associate Superintendent Dr.
Harold G. Begay and District Office of Public Relations Director
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer facilitated the program. Marvin Lalo, director
of the Hopi Lavayi Project at the Hopi Tribe, put forth relentlessly
optimistic efforts.

The Hopi Cultural Preservation Office completed a comprehensive study on
Hopi fluency in 1998 that assessed language loss in all 12 Hopi

Additional local village moral support came from Upper Mungapi’s
Governor Alene Garcia, Lt. Governor Yvonne Hoosava and their current
Board of Directors which include Danny Humetewa Sr., Robert Sakiestewa
Jr., Henry Seweyestewa, Florence Albert, Wilfred Moore, Ethel Gilbert,
Alden Seweyestewa and Wayne Kuwanhyoima.

Earlier this year the Village of Upper Mungapi’s Board of Directors
passed a unanimous vote of endorsement for their children thus making
the village and school partnership a solid reality.

Along with the language classes for students at Tuba City High and TC
Junior High, the village is discussing the possibility of conducting
classes for its own community members at the village level.

On Aug. 28, in the first of what will be a series of collaborative
meetings held at TCHS, representatives looked at several options for
implementing the Hopi Lavayi language program offered next semester.

Among those present were Leigh Kuwanwisima from the Hopi Tribe Office of
Cultural Preservation, Dawa Taylor director of the Hopi Lavayi Project
and Reanna Albert from Hopi Tribal Chairman’s Office. From TCUSD
attendees included Principal Goldtooth; TCJHS Principal Richard Grey;
Susie Store, Navajo Language coordinator; Harry Manygoats, parent
coordinator; Sarah Dallas, TCHS; and Eleanor Williams, Louise Kerley
and Sally McCabe, all Navajo Language teachers. Jessie Talaswaima, Lynn
Fredericks and Roger Mase were there from Hopi High School.

In the past, TCUSD only offered the Navajo and Spanish language as
“foreign” language options.

However, a record number of Hopi students currently attend Tuba City
District schools with both students and parents expressing their desire
to have the Hopi language offered.

Through the initial efforts of Dr. Begay, who said he believes “that
education also means equity in accessing culturally appropriate as well
as rigorous academic choices,” these student and parental wishes will
now become reality.

Prior to the spring semester, age appropriate materials for the new
junior high and high school Hopi language classes will be developed.
Also, TC district will need to find an accredited high school teacher
who is a fluent Hopi speaker to teach the classes—a different approach
than Hopi Jr/Sr High School has taken.

Although Hopi Jr/Sr High School currently offers a Hopi language class,
it does not have an accredited teacher who is a fluent Hopi speaker.
Hopi Jr/Sr creatively solved this problem by having an accredited
non-Hopi speaking teacher accompanied by a fluent Hopi speaking
teacher’s aide who does the actual language teaching and is in the
classroom the entire classroom period.

Hopi Lavayi Project Director Taylor sent a formal letter of appreciation
to the TC district administration.

“We are truly thankful for your vital role you played during our course
in preparing and finally receiving approval from the Hopi Tribal
Council to dedicate the $400,000 Phoenix Indian Trust Fund towards the
Hopi Lavayi Program,” Taylor’s letter states. “This has been a pivotal
moment in Hopi history where the commitment of the Hopi Tribe and the
Hopi Tribal Council has been reinforced to address this vital trend in
Hopi language loss surrounding the Hopi People.

“This is truly a milestone in our progression towards Hopi language
revitalization. Your continued Tuba City District efforts and support
are recognized as phenomenal.”

For more information about the proposed Hopi language classes offered at
TCUSD next semester, please call Principal Adelbert Goldtooth at Tuba
City High School (928-283-1047) or the Tuba City District Office of
Public Relations (928-283-1072).

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