Sidney Hill, the Tadodaho, or traditional leader, of the Onondaga Nation. Photo: Broddi Sigurðarson

Onondaga Nation protests lack of input in decisions at public school

Parents from the Onondaga Nation pulled their children out of a public school in New York in protest of their treatment by officials.

The school year doesn't end until this Friday but families marched in unison on June 16 to remove their kids from the Onondaga Nation School. They are upset over the failure to have one of their own serve as principal.

“We’re mature people. We can make mature decisions for our children,” Sidney Hill, who serves as the Tadodaho, or traditional leader of the tribe, told The New York Times.

Complaints about the school reach back decades. Parents have had to fight for Onondaga language and culture to be included in the curriculum, The Syracuse Post-Standard reported.

"It has been 40 years since we have had a highly qualified Native person to lead our school," Hill told The Post-Standard earlier this month after the walkout.

The LaFayette Board of Education said it did not hire Simone Thornton, an Onondaga citizen, as principal due to a certification issue, according to an official statement. The current principal is retiring on Saturday.

Thornton has since obtained school building certificate that was in question, The Post-Standard reported. She had already passed the exam for the certificate but had not received the paperwork.

Still, the board hasn't said whether it will hire Thornton. The person who was chosen turned down the job, The Post-Standard reported.

Onondaga parents will be hosting a graduation celebration on Thursday evening for their children, The Times reported.

Read More on the Story:
School Board Decisions Spur Onondaga Nation Protest (The New York Times 6/28)
LaFayette school board reveals why it won't hire Onondaga Nation pick for principal (The Syracuse Post-Standard 6/27)
Onondaga Nation Members Remove Children From School (Indian Country Media Network 6/22)
Onondaga Nation boycotted school before in 1970s: Native principal hired, language added (The Syracuse Post-Standard 6/21)
Onondaga Nation parents remove students from school two weeks early in protest (The Syracuse Post-Standard 6/16)