Walt Lamar: Bullying runs contrary to tribal traditional values

"The Director of the Indian Health Service, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, recently participated in the White House Forum on Bullying Prevention. She commented that bullying among Native children that began during the boarding school era continues to the present day; caring communities can put an end to the cycle. Ms. Roubideaux emphasized that bullying is not part of Native culture and is contrary to traditional values.

After the successful forum, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) were introduced in Congress. These laws would prohibit discrimination in public schools against any student and would require school districts to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment. Many top officials have also recorded videos on bullying prevention for the It Gets Better Project.

While most states have anti-bullying laws already, these laws apply on tribal lands only in PL-280 states. This leaves many young people in Indian country vulnerable to bullying. The tribal government of the Menominee Reservation is considering enacting an anti-bullying law in the wake of a much-publicized bullying incident involving an 11 year-old girl; if enacted it might be a first for a tribal government."

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Walt Lamar: Bullying Is Not Just Schoolyard Mischief (Indian Country Today 5/1)

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