Concordia High School Language and Composition Students Study Indigenous Issues
Concordia’s students are researching various issues concerning minority groups - language loss, cultural extinction, discrimination and inequality. 
As part of the unit, the class read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a semi-autobiographical work by novelist Sherman Alexie, which lets the reader in on the life of children on a Native American reservation, and, nonchalantly and directly, discusses discrimination, social issues and inequality in education. 

Students pick any group around the world and research their situation. Many students were surprised by what they learned.

“I did research on the Inuit suicide pattern as I wanted to find the causes of the average Inuit suicide rate being around 10 times higher than the national rate. One of the most interesting things I learned was that there was a change in the beliefs on suicide held between the old and present Inuit: the traditional suicide pattern was positively sanctioned due to the cultural belief in reincarnation and ease of death; in present years, however, the suicide risk among the young Inuit has elevated due to social, political, and economic inequalities resulting from colonialism. In order to reduce these inequalities and treat psychiatric conditions, there needs to be more effective and improved strategies,” said Mana (G12).

“I was born and raised in Hawaii, and I have called myself Hawaiian my whole life, despite having no Hawaiian blood. As a result, I not only wanted to research about the people idnegenous to Hawaii, but the social outcomes of the plainly thrown around term of being 'Hawaiian'. I also analyzed how history was against the Hawaiians because all the archives and accounts of the early findings of Hawaiians were in English. Therefore native Hawaiians were never represented in writing and present day researchers have found strength and resilience in the words of native Hawaiians from a hundred years ago and today. I was honored to learn more and definitely understand a lot more about the people native to my home,” said Miles (G12).

The unit forms a part of Concordia’s commitment to introduce students of all ages to social justice issues.

  • HS