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Salish Pend d'Oreille Culture Committee updated on cultural sites, Kerr Dam

By Alyssa Nenemay

ST. IGNATIUS — There were no birthdays this month during the Salish and Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee meeting, but the cake was just as sweet. The elders were treated to a visit from member Sophie Haynes great grandson, five-year-old Trevor who was on spring break. Updates ranged from the Tribal Preservation Department to Harvard Research results.

SPCC member Sophie Haynes treated her peers with a visit from her 5-year-old grandson Trevor who was well behaved throughout the day. “He can count to ten in Salish,” said Haynes. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) SPCC member Sophie Haynes treated her peers with a visit from her 5-year-old grandson Trevor who was well behaved throughout the day. “He can count to ten in Salish,” said Haynes. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Tribal Preservation Department
Ira Matt of the Tribal Preservation Department said the tribes were working on an agreement with The National Bison Range Refuge in Moiese to survey and monitor cultural sites located within the park’s boundaries. Currently the sites are receiving monthly monitoring from an individual located in Bozeman and Matt said his department’s goal is to keep the work in-house.

Matt said the department has continued to work towards protection of cultural sites located in Montana’s national forests including Lolo, Bitterroot, and Helena. He said the department is also contemplating how to approach protection of painted rocks being affected by naturally occurring erosion.

Amidst the updates, elder Eneas Vanderburg accounted historical ties the Salish tribe had to a frequented campsite located along the river in East Missoula. Vanderburg said his father was among the many “old timers” to camp in the area and he recalled a tribal custom of building a communal sweat lodge along the water way for winter bathing. “The women would sweat one day and the men would sweat another. Back then the fire was built in the center of the lodge, now it’s near the door,” he said.

(L-R) Elders Steven Small Salmon, Pat Pierre, Eneas Vanderburg, and Mike Durglo Sr. visit during a break. Vanderburg shared historical accounts and Pierre testified on behalf of science being a part of traditional tribal education. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) (L-R) Elders Steven Small Salmon, Pat Pierre, Eneas Vanderburg, and Mike Durglo Sr. visit during a break. Vanderburg shared historical accounts and Pierre testified on behalf of science being a part of traditional tribal education. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Energy Keepers Incorporated
Brian Lipscomb, CEO of Energy Keepers Incorporated said his department is moving forward with staffing. Recently the corporation has appointed a five-member board of directors: Thomas Farrell (chairman), Dan F. Decker (vice-chairman), Bob Gauthier, Lon Topaz, and Tom Babineau. “Our board has three tribal members and two non-tribal members. The non-tribal members were appointed because of their expertise in the field of energy,” he said.

Lipscomb said negotiations for the tribes’ anticipated 2015 purchase of Kerr Dam is still in process. Both the tribes and PPL Montana have selected their representation for the three-member arbitration board, which will determine the conveyance price for the exchange based on evidence presented by both sides. Currently, the parties are in the process of appointing the board’s third and neutral member.

Chuck Tellier (Left) joined Harvard graduate student Rose E. Honey as she presented her results for over a year of research on the effects of incorporating tribal culture in science curriculum. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) Chuck Tellier (Left) joined Harvard graduate student Rose E. Honey as she presented her results for over a year of research on the effects of incorporating tribal culture in science curriculum. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Harvard Graduate School Research
Harvard School of Education Doctoral Candidate Rose E. Honey took an opportunity to thank the culture committee for their approval and compliance in her graduate research study on “Traditional Culture in Science Classrooms on the Flathead Reservation.”

Honey is anticipating graduation in the spring and has been gathering data over the past year and half for her final research assignment. Honey’s goal was to show that Native American students gain a wider interest in science when local tribal culture is incorporated into the classroom’s lesson plans.

The research evaluated and compared the levels of interest in science for tribal students from two classrooms: one featured an instructor that had been trained in the Big Sky Science Partnership Program and one hadn’t. The BSSPP is a Montana partnership program between tribal representatives, scientists, and school educators with a goal to improve the science achievements of Native Americans.

Honey’s findings showed a greater interest in science from the students when culture was integrated in the classroom through BSSPP. Honey said her research will be used for her dissertation paper and will also help the program gain more funding and recognition. Upon graduation, Honey said she plans to continue researching similar programs.

Elder Pat Pierre, an instructor for over 20 years, said ccience has always been a part of traditional tribal education. “I teach math and science when I teach the (Salish) language. In my opinion, Indians know more about science than anybody. We need to find a way to explain this to people who aren’t culturally minded. The mindset of a college educated person is always: ‘I know everything’ so they haven’t been open to (the concept).”

To finish off the afternoon, the elders watched a slideshow featuring historical photos from the committee’s collection that required categorization. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) To finish off the afternoon, the elders watched a slideshow featuring historical photos from the committee’s collection that required categorization. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Historical Photo Categorization
SPCC History and Geography project manager Thompson Smith finished off the afternoon with a slide show of historical photos from the committee’s collection that needed categorization. The elders took delight in seeing familiar faces and reminisced on “the way things were.”

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