Syracuse Post Standard
By Elizabeth Doran
Tadadaho Sid Hill, spiritual leader of the Onondaga Nation, spoke about the significance of the Onondaga Nation School and about attitudes on the nation toward education.
Why is the Onondaga Nation School important?
The school brings the community together with events and enables parents to get involved. It’s also important because it teaches our children the Onondaga culture and language, which is still suffering from the devastating effects of the boarding schools.
What level of control does the nation have over the school?
The district controls how the school is run. We’d like to see even more language and culture in the school. And we don’t like all the testing. It grades the school, instead of the kids.
Does the history of using education to repress Native Americans at boarding schools affect how children on the nation view school today?
It all depends on the parents, and how they react. Some see it as a New York school that takes away from what they are, and others see it as our kids have to learn to read and write, and they can do a lot through education. What’s important is to learn enough to understand, but don’t forget your ways.
Kids have so much to deal with today, and there’s so much drugs, alcohol, TV and games. In my generation, times were tough, but families were together more.
Why do you think some families on the nation choose to send their children to Grimshaw Elementary School rather than the nation school?
Sometimes people think they’re going to change things if they go there, or they think a change of environment might help if their child has problems on the reservation. Some kids just might not get along with their teacher.