Why do you want my children? A Glimpse into Native American Citizenship

byBarsine Barney Benally

Citizenship among Native Americans across the entire nation is at an alarming state in maintaining and revitalizing the culture and language. The Native American population collapse since colonization (going from an estimated population of 60 million to a mere 800,000 today) is devastating and has scarred the lives of many. The in-depth knowledge of our rich history is lacking in most classrooms across the Navajo Nation. Acknowledging the importance of civil rights, freedom of speech and the empowerment to be self-determined is slowly escalating but is nowhere near enough to save the endangered tribes of our nation today. We are at the edge of cultural genocide as we stand near our lost relatives who have already had their identities stripped away. Let us understand the narratives of not only the Dine but a diversity of nationalities and come to one united understanding in empowering our youth so that they, too, see historical education as a tool to overcome the silent oppression of today. This unit will bring rigor into the classroom from a cultural perspective by establishing questions that provoke higher order thinking, analytical discussions and verbal analogies that require inductive/deductive reasoning in the area of Dine History through the medium of the Dine Language. The foundation of the lessons is to use k'e (kinship) to understand that we are all equal citizens that uphold responsibilities to contribute back to society for the good of the nation.

(Developed for History, grade 3; recommended for Navajo Nation History/Government, grades 3-8, and K-8 classroom)

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