The inaugural Native American Family Engagement Night took place Monday at Thorndyke Elementary School. A potluck dinner, stories and drumming from a local Native American drummer was held in the school cafeteria. The small but growing group hopes to get a formal Native American Education program started in the Tukwila School District in the near future. Organizer and parent Lindsay Johnny said it is long overdue.
“It’s important to the school district because students need the services to improve Native American testing scores,” she said, “and help the students fell welcome, and recognize [that issue] in the school district.”
Roger Fernandes a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam tribe from the Port Angeles, Washington area made the night special. He is a Native American drummer who tell stories about his culture and he specifically gears the stories towards children. He said one thing all cultures have in common is that storytelling is a universal way to educate. He said children are learners in so many different ways.
“It’s important to be able to connect in diverse ways in education. Children learn better when you connect stories with their lives. It gives them context.” Fernandes said.
Thorndyke Elementary student Carmen Growingthunder, a member of the Sioux tribe said she was enjoying the evening.
“It’s nice to have an area where we all can gather and hear stories about myself.” she said.