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STATEMENT OF WAYNE HOLM, ROCK POINT COMMUNITY SCHOOL,
ROCK POINT, ARIZ., COALITION OF INDIAN CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS
Mr. HOLM. I am Wayne Holm from Rock Point Community School, Rock Point, Ariz., rather than Crownpoint, N. Mex. There are some difficulties in our part of the country keeping both rocks and points straight.
Rock Point is a relatively poor community on the Navajo Reservation. It differs from many other poor communities only in the fact that it has had an education committee or school board for the last 17 years. In the last 12 years, the essentially monolingual school board at Rock Point has seen two expansions of the school at Rock Point, has assumed control of the title programs at Rock Point and since 1972 has operated this school under a contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
On standardized achievement tests in 1960, Rock Point School was among the lowest schools in the lowest agency on the Navajo Reservation. Last spring, Rock Point Navajo fifth graders and sixth graders who had been taught to read in Navajo and continue to read in Navajo and English, approached national averages for the first time, something which to my knowledge has not happened in any Bureau school or any public school on the reservation. This has not happened because of what the Bureau of Indian Affairs has done for us, it has happened because of what the Rock Point community and the Rock Point board with assistance from some people in the Bureau in Washington and some people have done for themselves.
In 1971, the board came to Washington, got assurances they would negotiate that June and nothing happened. In 1972, the board tried again. They finally came to negotiations, were offered $60,000 less than what the Bureau admitted it would have cost to run the school themselves. They finally achieved the contract with 9 working days before school opened.
In 1973, the board was allowed to run the school 10 weeks with no funds at all. The school opened in September with no funds while a legal matter was being decided with the department solicitor. The board eventually was proven correct, a contract was finally signed in April, 912 months after the beginning of the fiscal year.
In 1974, the contract was held up for 4 months over a relatively trivial issue of one janitorial position. We had hoped that the regulations for Public Law 93-638 would alleviate these kinds of hassles that small communities have had to go through to get and keep contracts to operate schools.
It would appear that the intents of the regulations, the BIA regulations, are to write one set of regulations for all kinds of contracts with tribes and tribal organizations. The current regulations seem to do a very adequate job of protecting the BIA from any mistake that any tribe or Indian group might make. They do very little to make contracting or control of Indian operations more accessible to small rural communities on the Navajo Reservation.
We feel that schools differ a great deal from tribal reservationwide contracts and would urge this committee direct the Bureau to redraft a subsection of regulations having to do with the particular problems of schools. Public Law 93–638 in many ways formalizes the ad hoc type of arrangements that have gone on the last 3 or 4 years with contracting. I think that we can predict that some of the problems that happened in the past will continue to happen in the future.
Very specific guidelines are said on how you get to negotiations. Nothing is said about what happens after you get to negotiations. While the agency in an area cannot decline a contract, it will be very easy as in the past because of the peculiar way 401.64 is written for financial reasons to be used to preclude negotiating a real contract with a tribal group. The fact that there is no provision for an automatic extension on July 1 means it will be very easy for agencies in areas to starve out small Indian groups that have no funds after the 1st of July.
The fact that there is no real central office control with living activities from agency area to central office means that these things can still be stalled out or starved out at the agency area level.
In summary, I would say that contracting has made it possible for a larger degree of community control at Rock Point and for a higher degree of quality Navajo education. With a great deal of revisions, the regulations for Public Law 93–638 can make this same opportunity accessible to other tribes and to other communities. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LARRY MANUELITO, RAMAH NAVAJO SCHOOL,
RAMAH, N. MEX., COALITION OF INDIAN CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS
Mr. MANUELITO. I am Larry Manuelito and I am executive director for the Ramah Navajo School Board. As you know, the Ramah Navajo School Board has been operating a successful Indian controlled school for the last 5 years.
One month ago, the Ramah Navajo community people dedicated a facility, the only facility totally owned and operated by the Indian people. When I mean owned, Your Honor, we have title to the building. I think that
Senator ABOUREZK. Larry, I don't want to take up your time but I get nervous when anyone calls me Your Honor, so I thought I would
Mr. MANUELITO. I get nervous when they call me Mr. Manuelito. I would just like to add, because of the time here, that I do support the statements made here and the one main issue I would like to address myself to is the issue of retrocession. It took me a whole 2 months to learn what that meant but I think I do now and it is a very important issue that needs to me addressed.
While the act gives the tribes the right to retrocede under Public Law 93–638, the right must be exercised in accordance with elementary notions of fairness and due process which it does not. In particular, no Indian tribe should be permitted to ask for retrocession of a contract when it is not operating the program in question itself until it has given the contractor and other adversely affected persons full and complete notice and an opportunity to be heard.
I think that the regulations as written is only a facelift of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs did not merely take the intent of the act and put it into the regulations. I feel that, again, I strongly support that a new section or a new set of regulations be written for education.
I think education is the heart of Indian self-determination because that is where it starts in the schools, in the home. This is one of the reasons why I hope that this subcommittee will take an opportunity and really look over these regulations, sir. Thank you.
Senator ABOUREZK. Thank you. I must remind you that what we will do is come out with a committee report which will discuss the recommendations and perhaps make what we hope to be final recommendations and if we can't get the intention of the BIA and IHS on an IHS level, we will have to try some other way. Please continue.
STATEMENT OF LINDA HADLEY, ROUGH ROCK DEMONSTRATION SCHOOL, MANY FARMS, ARIZ., COALITION OF INDIAN CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS
Ms. HADLEY. My name is Linda Hadley. I am from Rough Rock. Rough Rock has been in existence the last 10 years, Mr. Chairman and staff and friends and visitors.
I have come before you that we run our own school and yet we don't administer self-determination. We have to follow orders from BIA. The new regulations that were sent out doesn't have anything to do with the contract school, we are excluded. There needs to be a time limit, there needs to be a modification. There has to be an authority in an area office so that progress made in the last 10 years, we have K to 12, that's the school we represent and the communities themselves look at the school. We have on teacher, one teacher aide and one parent aide in each classroom. They are taught Navajo and then English from the sixth grade on.
I have met a lot of people across the Nation and ran into a lot of the people. A lot of them, perhaps yourself, Mr. Abourezk, have lost their language and yet they want to stay with their culture. There is a need for culture and a language. That is why we need an education from K to 12. With the new regulation that is set, like you are saying in the act here, start with the school through agency level, tribal council in the area. But when we go to negotiating, a lot of times we have to be sitting there and not have anything resolved.
We have to go back and forth. By July 1, we will be operating on no money, just a letter of intent. So we are here to discuss this and hopefully, a lot of these changes be made to suit our minds for the benefit of our own people across the Nation. It is for our grandchildren that we want all of this education to start and bureaucracy to stay a little behind and let the Indian do the work. Thank you.
Senator ABOUREZK. Thank you. That was a good statement but I might remind you that we don't have enough money for things like that because we are busy buying the desert over in the Middle East and and we have to spend most of our money on that. STATEMENT OF GREG TURGEON, ROSEBUD, S. DAK., COALITION OF
INDIAN CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS Mr. TURGEON. Ladies and gentlemen, I am Greg Turgeon. I am a delegate of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Rosebud, S. Dak. I am appearing with the Coalition of Indian Controlled School Boards because although the tribe attempted to secure an opportunity to appear here and offer testimony, we were unable to do so. Mr. Sahmaunt and Adam Bordeaux consented to allow me time today.
I represent the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, the Education Committee of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe composed of five tribal council members. Ten different local Indian education meetings concerned with the Johnson-O'Malley funds right now in six different school districts in the State of South Dakota. How much time do we have left-2 minutes ?
I would just like to say that a lot of the things that have been said here today by the groups that have appeared are shared in common with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. I would also like to say that today you will hear from various people perhaps from the State of South Dakota who may be offering testimony which is not necessarily in accordance with the position held by the tribe and which, in fact, might be directly antithetical to that position.
I would also like to say that any recommendations which you hear which are based on primary consideration of the rights and responsibilities of the school boards of the public schools will, although with good intentions be, of course, damaging to any attempts to increase representation on the part of the Indian education committees.
The recommendations which are submitted as testimony in the form of a letter to Mr. Forrest Gerard, those recommendations are based on two premises by and large.
One: Give the Indian education committees some positive, put some teeth into their power, don't just relegate them to advisory boards.
Two: Give the tribal governing bodies in accordance with the law, the spirit intent and language of Public Law 93–638, give those bodies some discretion wherever possible and allow them an option. Three, aside from the major two, in our case where the regulations governing Indian majority school boards are concerned, it would cut our representation from 10 boards down to 6 boards. There can only be one school board for each school district. Presently, we have five different boards operating through several different schools, each concerned with one school or a group of schools.
If you are going to write regulations that are in accordance with the professed intentions of the act, how can you write a regulation that is going to end up ultimately in reducing Indian representation?
Senator ABOUREZK. Thank you very much. I would like to thank this panel very much.
[The prepared statements of witnesses from the Coalition of Indian Controlled School Boards follow:]