Tribal organization says students missing out on funding for education
A new organization in Clark County is pressing area school districts to improve identification and counting of Native American students and to reinstate funding for their educational programs.
The Pacific Northwest Center for Cultural Education is a group of tribal members and educators pushing to improve educational opportunities for American Indians and Alaskan Native children. The recently founded organization is still in the process of securing 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, but hopes to make inroads with area school districts this summer.
Steven Fountain, a Washington State University Vancouver professor of history and coordinator of Native American programs for the campus, is among those working with the organization.
“There’s a whole lot of kids who aren’t being served,” Fountain said. “That’s where this larger issue of the under-counting for our Native American community comes in.”
The Electronic Literature Organization, which promotes and preserves “born-digital literature,” is moving west to Washington State University Vancouver from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
WSU Vancouver, where organization president Dene Grigar is a professor and director of the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, will host the 20-year-old organization, which migrates around the U.S. periodically, for the next five years.
Grigar said the premise of born-digital literature is that “the computer can be used as a form of creative expression.” It’s also a genre that must be read electronically; “it’s not like Emily Dickinson on the web,” she said. As examples, she cited poet Thom Swiss’ “Shy Boy,” which features music, scheduling and text animation, and screenwriter Kate Tullinger’s interactive digital novel “Inanimate Alice,” among others.
Wishram, Wash., is just one example of the communities along the Columbia River, from Coulee Dam to Astoria, Ore., that originated as company towns in the past two centuries. Wishram’s shifting fortunes as a railroad town is a familiar story for Laurie Mercier, a history professor at WSU Vancouver. She has written extensively about towns built around one company or one industry.
A lot of small company towns have struggled with reinventing themselves: logging towns, mining towns, fishing towns and even agricultural towns.
“One advantage the Pacific Northwest has over places like Pennsylvania or Ohio—the ‘Rust Belt’—is the landscape,” Mercier said. “Leavenworth (a former mining town) re-creates itself as a Bavarian village. White Salmon takes advantage of wind surfing.” In Idaho’s Silver Valley, “Kellogg is trying to become a tourist mecca through skiing.”
Mark Stephan, associate professor of political science at WSU Vancouver, is part of a collaborative research team receiving a National Science Foundation grant for a three-year study of state and local climate risk governance.
WSU Vancouver’s share of the grant, $99,646, will pay for data collection and field work in six states as well as the hiring of a research assistant for the three years. The research team presented initial analysis results at the American Political Science Association annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The team analyzed the greenhouse gas emissions from more than 7,000 facilities in nine sectors. Preliminary results suggest that greater reductions in emissions are occurring in states with active governance related to climate change.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby decision, Carolyn Long, associate professor of the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at WSU Vancouver, explained the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the basis of the court’s ruling.
RFRA was adopted after a 1990 Supreme Court decision denied unemployment benefits to two Native American men who used peyote in a religious ritual.