Culture and Language Project - Riverside Indian High School

Riverside Indian School- High School
The goal for this project is to implement meaningful elements of
culture into the taught curriculum across all grade levels and
disciplines, plan ways to infuse cultural values into our school
operations, and for school leaders to demonstrate an understanding
of the tribal diversity within our school . Teachers will actively seek
out resources to find information and gain ideas for their individual
classes. By departments, teacher groups will collaboratively develop
units and lesson that will target areas of culture and language.
School leaders will work together to plan and organize events which
display Native American culture. The principal and other school
leaders will demonstrate the importance of culture and language
throughout the project.
Throughout the 2nd semester of school every high
school teacher implemented meaningful elements of
culture into the taught curriculum.
Teachers noted the cultural elements in their weekly
lesson plans. The requirement was at least once per
week although many teachers exceeded this weekly.
Lessons for individual classes were developed by the
teachers . Teachers were encouraged to seek out
resources from within our school community.
Teachers, parents, alumni, residential and support
staff all were sought out at sources of information.
Students were also used a resources for the cultural
lessons. With such a diverse tribal population our
students are a wealth of knowledge to each other and
our staff.
Many of the daily lessons included cultural elements.
The teachers were very successful in developing and
incorporating aspects of Native American culture into
there curriculum and lessons. This created more
interest in the lessons and was a tool for many teachers
to make meaningful connections.
Military Code Talkers- Mr. Ray Tashuda, former RIS
principal and WWII veteran and POW spoke to over
100 high school students about his experiences in the
military, as a POW, and as the principal at RIS in the
70’s. The students also took a trip to East Central
University to attend a presentation on the Navajo code
talkers where a living code talker presented.
Tribal Flags- Algebra students researched their tribal
flags and used grid systems to create their own flags.
Start Quilt Shirts- Algebra students studied the star
quilt design and created their own personalized
design. They transferred the designs onto t-shirts.
Many students created shirts with their star quilt
design on the front and specific symbols or tribal
language on the back.
Tribal Relocation-Indian Territory Oklahoma
Primitive Bow Making- Wood tech classes made 1800’s
era plains bows under the instruction of our staff.
Round Dance-Students sang the different versions of
northern and southern round dance and related verses
to writing in language arts classes.
Each high school teacher was involved in the
development and teaching of a cross
curriculum unit during the 3rd quarter of
Teachers were instructed to development
teachers groups of at least 4 to collaboratively
develop cross curriculum units that had a
cultural theme.
Some teachers were involved in more that one
unit and units that involved teachers from all
Some departments decided to work together
with two departments to develop a unit.
Each teacher developed their role for the unit
and they collaboratively developed and
executed the units.
Units involved both in and outside of the
classroom setting.
Hand Game- Math classes covered elements
such as probabilities, stats, brackets, systems.
Indian studies classes were taught the history
of the games and the different rules that are
Tipi (tee-pee)- Students viewed an exhibit on
the dwellings of plains Indians at the National
Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Math
and Science classes looked at the structural
make-up of the tipi.
Diabetes in Indian country- Science, Health
and Nutrition/wellness students participated
in a diabetes lab.
Indian holocaust- Teachers from the Language
Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science
departments were all involved in a lesson
where the students learned about then made
comparisons between the Holocaust and
Indian treatment. Interest topic for a boarding school.
As administrators we encourage our staff to be active participants in the cultural education of our
students not matter what their job title of tribal affiliation is. We have over 200 employees at RIS,
over 95% are Native American, and many of us are highly involved in our own tribal customs.
Therefore we have an abundance of resources within our staff alone the education process from staff
to students is of equal value both ways. In all that we do we encourage the promotion of culture. This
is seen in so many aspects of what we do as a school and this project was used as a tool to get even
more our staff involved and for us as administrators to be active participants.
Riverside Indian Club- Made up of students and staff. Pow-wow dancers and singers do
performances at schools and events all across the state. We have northern and southern singers and
Riverside Indian School Color Guard- Sponsored by Army Ranger Iraq War Veteran, High School
Teacher and coach James Nells. Bring in the colors at many pow-wows and other events across the
Graduation Pow-wow & commencement
Riverside Ramblers- School drum group made up of students and staff. Sing for Indian Club, go to
pow-wows and sing Native American flag song before sporting events.
Apache Club- Apache Crown Dancers are sponsored locally by a school staff member with the
assistance of Mr. Kline Grigg, RIS School Board member who represents the White Mountain Apache