indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Indian parents sued after criticizing school

Filed Under: Education | Law | National
More on: california, native sun news, stereotypes, thanksgiving
     

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.


The Oxendine family is being sued by the parent organization of the Montessori school their kids attended.

School sues Indian parents for protesting Thanksgiving charade
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor

SAN DIEGO, CALIF—When the Oxendines spoke out about the Thanksgiving Day practices of Maria Montessori they hoped to spread awareness about the culturally insensitive practices that were being fostered by the private school in San Diego, Calif. What they didn’t expect was for the school to retaliate against them and sue the Native American family for $25,000 over allegations of defamation.

“My daughter Jada came home and said, ‘Ina (mother) they are trying to make fun of us at school’ and handed me a flier detailing the school's Thanksgiving celebration,” said Jeanie Eagle Bull-Oxendine to Native Sun News in January of 2013.

At the time the school was conducting a series of events at the school where the Oxendines (who are of Oglala Lakota and Lumbee descent) found to be highly offensive. In the week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday the Maria Montessori School (where the Oxendine’s two youngest children attend school) holds a week long holiday celebration where non-Native teachers, parents and school administrators celebrate and teach of the Thanksgiving holiday through blatant cultural appropriation.

The festivities include the making of Native American Head dresses, the giving out of “authentic” Native American names, the playing of drums, and culminates in a meal where teachers, parents, and students are encouraged to come dressed as either a Pilgrim or the much more coveted Native American.

In an attempt to prevent her daughter Jada, and son Jasa from enduring the events and the inevitable confusion that would come along with the experience Jeanne worked her way up the chain of command asking school officials to either discontinue the practices of modify them in a way that would more accurately portray Native people.

The school’s response was not what was expected. Instead of working to help address the concerns of the Oxendine’s and their dissatisfaction with the Thanksgiving holiday events the school suggested that the best course of action would be that they keep their kids out of school while the events took place.

“It is our intent to not exacerbate this situation any further and hence our request for your children to remain home for this week,” the school said in a letter.

Shocked at the schools response Jeannie began approaching other parents at the school informing them of the concerns that she had. This however was greeted with an additional letter from the school.

“As a school, we also want to limit your public discussions amongst our parents of your displeasure with our long-standing traditional Thanksgiving observance in our pre-school. Because of your dissatisfaction with the changes we offered to make in the curriculum, some of the activities that cause you so much concern will continue through this week,” the school responded.

After they were informed by the school that they were not to speak publicly about their opposition to the school’s Thanksgiving curriculum the Oxendine’s contacted the American Montessori Society (AMS) who is responsible for the accreditation of Maria Montessori. They were told by the AMS that they could not force the school to do anything but would look in to it.

During the dispute over the week’s events the Oxendines removed their youngest child from the school on a Friday and when they attempted to change their mind and re-enroll their child on Monday the school informed them that they would have to re-apply for their scholarships. The move by the school was seen as retaliation by the Oxendines for their choice to speak out against the practices of the school. The school however has defended their decisions saying it was based upon the re-allocation of scholarship funds to another family.

Late last month the Oxendines were informed that Maria Montessori’s parent organization, Argounata, had filed suit against them in California. The school is suing them for damages in the amount of no less than $25,000 for defamation. The family had reached out to multiple Native News outlets including NSN in January of 2013. On the advice of lawyers the family declined to comment on the suit last Friday.

The move by the school has left many in Indian Country questioning the motive behind the suit.

“Maria Montessori suing these Native parents is little more than a scare tactic to discourage them and others from speaking out against antiquated racist curriculum the school pushed, which the parents are completely within their rights to voice concern over, as well as an attempt to save face upon realizing they'd managed to embarrass themselves nationally,” said Ruth Hopkins a tribal judge and nationally known blogger who has written extensively on issues of cultural appropriation. “The school should tread carefully here. Judges don't take kindly to frivolous litigation. Natives should press forward in demanding respect and truthfulness in how we are depicted by mainstream culture, especially in schools.”

The family has until the end of this month to respond to the suit.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
BIA adopts new policy regarding federal recognition process (6/30)
Supreme Court agrees to resolve another Indian law dispute (6/30)
Patrick Murphy: Star Trek's William Shatner visits Navajoland (6/30)
Yvette Roubideaux: Making progress at Indian Health Service (6/30)
Native Sun News: Wambli Ska group shares culture with youth (6/30)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux leader pushes zeolite mine (6/30)
Native Sun News: BLM to update plan for land near Bear Butte (6/30)
Alex Jacobs: Fake Indians damage the real Indian community (6/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Even toys carry harmful messages (6/30)
Ponca Tribe sends twelve youth to White House conference (6/30)
Lobbyists met at White House to discuss federal recognition (6/30)
Alaska Native man finally out on parole in 1997 homicide case (6/30)
Gyasi Ross gets nod for 'Marlon Brando' single off new release (6/30)
Washington governor supports repatriation of Kennewick Man (6/30)
Morongo Band interested in acquiring Colt gun manufacturer (6/30)
Gila River Indian Community files suit to protect sacred place (6/30)
Lac Du Flambeau Band man sentenced for abusing young girls (6/30)
Sault Tribe protected by sovereign immunity in casino dispute (6/30)
Pojoaque Pueblo at critical juncture with Class III gaming deal (6/30)
BIA releases scoping report for Coquille Tribe's Class II facility (6/30)
Local leaders talk Tohono O'odham Nation casino controversy (6/30)
Editorial: Extend Class III casino compact with Seminole Tribe (6/30)
Rep. McCollum vows support for Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (6/29)
BIA issues long-awaited update to federal recognition process (6/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal youth share traditions and technology (6/29)
Lakota Country Times: Treaty council slams mine at Pine Ridge (6/29)
Mark Trahant: Action plan needed for health in Indian Country (6/29)
Mary Annette Pember: Sharing stories from boarding schools (6/29)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Let Native people speak our own voices (6/29)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Race frauds are not new in Indian Country (6/29)
Bryan Terry: Honor Sequoyah with statue at Tennessee capitol (6/29)
Steven Newcomb: Indian law and policy based on domination (6/29)
National Congress of American Indians gathers in Minnesota (6/29)
Indian farmers rally over $380M in unspent Keepseagle funds (6/29)
Bill John Baker wins re-election as leader of Cherokee Nation (6/29)
Self-described Cherokee artist charged for misrepresentation (6/29)
Jemez Pueblo gets another shot in aboriginal territory dispute (6/29)
Alaska's largest tribe boycotts FedEx over ties to racist mascot (6/29)
Woman sentenced to prison for biting BIA officer in North Dakota (6/29)
Crow Creek Sioux man sentenced for assaults in domestic cases (6/29)
Spokane Tribe partners with Hard Rock for off-reservation casino (6/29)
Pechanga Band comes in first in USA Today's best casino survey (6/29)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe secures grant to update casino security (6/29)
Connecticut tribes welcome delay in commercial casino project (6/29)
Supreme Court considers petition in contract support cost case (6/26)
Congress clears bill to help Miami Nation with outdated charter (6/26)
Senate passes measure to transfer land to Native health group (6/26)
Senate appropriations bill shields tribes from BLM fracking rule (6/26)
Native Sun News: Project brings economic hope to Pine Ridge (6/26)
Lakota Country Times: Few answers about mine on Pine Ridge (6/26)
Michael Connor: Making informed decisions for land buy-back (6/26)
Land buy-back hits milestone with over $500M in purchases (6/26)
Sherman Alexie to release 'Thunder Boy' picture book in 2016 (6/26)
University to cover murals that depict lynching of Indian man (6/26)
North Dakota tribal group asserts authority over development (6/26)
Editorial: County stonewalling Chumash Tribe on development (6/26)
Little Traverse Bay Bands to spend $2.5M on new gaming site (6/26)
Seneca Nation honors boxing great Sully Huff at casino match (6/26)
Column: Chemehuevi Tribe won't seek off-reservation casino (6/26)
Lawmakers promise to help tribes bring a halt to youth suicide (6/25)
Native Sun News: County resists name change for sacred peak (6/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud Sioux Tribe hosts youth camp (6/25)
Delphine Red Shirt: Generous stranger returns land to Lakota (6/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.