Silver Creek Central School District
Submitted by Mary Williams, Title VI Native American Ed. Program Coord.
Every year, by statute and/or presidential proclamation, the month of November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. So, in honor of this month, and through the school year, Silver Creek Central has provided different cultural activities/programs to all students in the district, bringing more awareness and recognizing the history of Native American people and our local Native American community, Seneca Nation of Indians. For the month of November, the Native American Education Program has been able to provide the following this year:
• Native American Day in the cafeteria with Native American tacos and samples of strawberry juice (volunteers from the community come into school to help prepare fry bread for the tacos). We also were able to serve Mush in the HS/MS cafeteria thanks to generous donations from Wendy Bray and Jessica Huff.
• Rock your Mocs Day, sponsored by AIYO (American Indigenous Youth Organization). Staff and students are encouraged to wear their moccasins and/or wear turquoise for the day.
• Cultural dance presentations, sponsored by AIYO. This also includes our students from the Seneca Language classes and other Native American students to assist their peers in social dances.
• AIYO provides items to be displayed in the high school lobby showcase like the water drum, corn husk dolls, braided corn, etc.
• Guest speakers come in to present to classrooms, groups of students, assemblies, and teacher professional development. This year we had Jamie Jacobs and Jordan Smith for storytelling, Marty Jimerson Jr. and his crew for social dances, and a cultural paint night for teachers to gain professional development.
• Spirit Week we were able to raise awareness for ongoing campaigns like MMIW (missing/Murdered Indigenous Women) and Every Child Matters. While having a day to roc your mocs, wear your ribbon skirt/shirt and show your Haudenosaunee pride/support by wearing purple.
• Longball is a traditional sport played by the Iroquois. This year in collaboration with our Physical Education teachers we were able to run a unit of longball.
Join our Program!
For students to qualify for the program, a parent or guardian must complete a Title VI ED 506 Indian Student Eligibility Certification Form. The form serves as an official record of the eligibility determination for each individual child who has met the definition of an Indian to be served by the Title VI Native American Education Program. If you feel your child meets the criteria for the program, please forward the completed form to Miss Williams, Native American Education Program Coordinator. If you have any questions about the program, you can contact Miss Williams by calling 934-2603, ext. 4992 or through email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traditional Food meets the cafeteria
Silver Creek students were able to enjoy Mush, which is a roasted white corn dish. First the white corn must be grinded to a flour like consistency. Then roasted in a cast iron skillet. Once this is done, a delicate dance between water, the roasted corn flour and heat will bring this dish to the perfect consistency. Because of the multitude of servings we needed, we used brown sugar to sweeten the dish. It is usually prepared with maple syrup and salt pork. The white corn was donated by Wendy Bray and Jessica Huff.
On November 9th, the entire district was able to enjoy Indian tacos and strawberry juice. Indian tacos can be found in many other Indigenous people’s cultures. The difference between a “regular” taco and an Indian taco is the bread. Usually, you would have either a flour of corn tortilla, but an Indian taco has a flour-based dough that is fried to perfection then topped with all your favorite taco options. WE were able to make 300 frybread all thanks to our Title VI Parent Committee members Tory Cook and Wendy Bray and our JOM staff Betsy Laurie, Tammy Blair and Aimee Sleeth who all made this day possible.
We were also able to provide students with a cup of strawberry juice. The strawberry is a medicine we use as Iroquois people. We believe it helps promote health and well-being. All the students and staff look forward to having Indian tacos and strawberry juice in November!
Cultural Dance Presentation (Social Dance)
Marty Jimerson Jr. and his crew came in to present three different times to our high school and middle school. Every year this is an event that our Indigenous students look forward to. They spend weeks learning how to introduce the song, the singer, and the lead dancers in Seneca. With the help of Marty Jimerson Jr. this year we were able to share our traditional regalia, songs and dances with the district. Many Nya:wëhs to all the SC staff, students and administrators who help keep this tradition going.
American Indigenous Youth Organization (A.I.Y.O.)
Our students have been so busy this year, they were essential in making Native American Heritage Month possible. The AIYO club members have recently had the opportunity to give back to the community alongside Frank Brown and his Cousin Brownie Organization. Cousin Brownie has been giving back to the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories for the past two years working alongside different departments from the Seneca Nation. Frank brought in some gifts that the students were able to wrap for him. Also, during the month of December, students made roughly 60 Christmas cards for the residents at Oak Tree. Oak Tree is the Seneca Nation Elder Housing unit located behind the William Seneca Building.