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Nebo School District Celebrates Native American Indian Heritage Month

Submitted by ts on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 3:58pm
Lana H. Hiskey - Public Information Officer - Nebo School District

Nebo School District is celebrating the National Native American Heritage Month along with Governor Gary Herbert’s issued declaration that November be observed as ‘American Indian Heritage Month and the Monday proceeding Thanksgiving as Indigenous Day.’

Highlighting events planned during the month will be the celebration at the Indigenous Day Awards dinner, Monday, November 23, at the State Capitol. The Division of Indian Affairs will honor Utahans who have made outstanding contributions to American Indians in the state. This year’s theme is ‘Tomorrow’s Hope: Native Children of America.’

During the month, Nebo students will study the history of the state’s American Indians and view the curriculum that was created for the We Shall Remain documentaries produced by KUED. The curriculum can be viewed at

American Indian Heritage Month activities (all open to the public) include:

November 5 Return of Massasoit statue to State Capitol site

November 11 American Indian Veteran’s Day Walk and Pow Wow

November 14 Indian Walk-in Center Pow Wow

November 26 - 28 Ute Tribe Thanksgiving Pow Wow

“We Shall Remain” is a landmark, multi-media project that includes the five-part PBS American Experience series, which presents a multifaceted look at Native ingenuity and perseverance over the course of more than three centuries.

In conjunction with the PBS series, KUED-Channel 7 is producing a five-part companion series on Utah’s five tribes. A statewide coalition of museums, libraries, schools and universities have developed a wide array of projects and events, including lectures, screenings, discussions, conferences, exhibits, film series, radio series and much more throughout the year. Thanks to a grant through the Utah Department of Community and Culture and the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, the project will live far beyond broadcast with DVDs of the KUED series and educational curriculum guides donated to Utah public schools and libraries. Find out more information at:

Nebo School District’s Native American Indian program has invited Elizabeth Player on November 18, 2009 to Grant/Legacy School for training on this curriculum starting at 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Nebo Title VII parent committee will also serve a sampling of traditional foods along with a Native American presentation by parents and staff.

Eileen Quintana developed Nebo District's Native American Program, also known as Title VII, 11 years ago. At the time, only 37 percent of the Native American Indian seniors attending Nebo schools were graduating.

Quintana began by meeting with families in the area and inviting students to participate in an after-school tutoring program. That first year, Quintana had 87 students and only $11,000 in funding.

With the early funding, Quintana hired master teacher Brenda Beyal. Beyal also teaches in Rees Elementary's multi-age program, in Spanish Fork. At that time, Nebo District extended the academic-year tutoring program to a voluntary summer school in June.

"I see a direct correlation with the after-school tutoring and the attention that we're giving the students," Quintana said.

Quintana said that Nebo’s success can be measured by CRT scores that the school uses to test math and literacy that reflect academic progress. The scores have gone from the low 25-percent quartile to the 75-percent quartile.

Nebo District’s success has not gone unnoticed by the nation. Brenda Beyal, a Native American teacher at Rees Elementary, received Utah's No Child Left Behind 2006 American Star of Teaching award in September 2007. Secretary of Education Senior Advisor, Norma Garze, flew out from Washington D.C. to give the award.

Eileen Quintana also received a distinguished award from Forest Cuch, director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs for her outstanding work.

J. Lynn Jones, director of federal programs for Nebo District, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the unparallel success of the Nebo Education Title VII Native American Program. Our Native American students are celebrating their culture and at the same time learning to be successful in our society due to the dedicated people running our Native American program.”

To learn more about Nebo District’s Native American program, please visit Nebo Title VII Indian Education Web site for more Cultural Awareness resources: