indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Ceremony welcomes return of spiritual beings (3/31)
Tribes and families in South Dakota win big victory in ICWA case (3/31)
Non-Indian adoption group disputes BIA's new ICWA guidelines (3/31)
Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma (3/31)
Ellie Reynolds: Native people used as pawns in mascot debates (3/31)
Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the 'Hoosier State' (3/31)
Man charged in stabbing of BIA superintendent in South Dakota (3/31)
Few details about well-being of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe leader (3/31)
German photographer earns trust on Fort Belknap Reservation (3/31)
Water agencies seek early appeal for Agua Caliente Band case (3/31)
Report puts tribal gaming industry revenues at $28.3B in 2013 (3/31)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe loses bid to force state into gaming deal (3/31)
Santee Sioux Tribe prepares to open casino golf course in June (3/31)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to welcome visitors to reopened casino (3/31)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation contributes to economy with casino (3/31)
Everything you wanted to know about tribal gaming in Arizona (3/31)
Opinion: Connecticut tribes face challenges to gaming empire (3/31)
Native Sun News: Designation sought at Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murders of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
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.