Navajo Vice President fires off on ‘Children First’ proposed new CCSD, calling it ‘Jim Crow Laws’
By: NP staff | The Navajo Post | May 22
Jim Crow laws hit the Rez?
Farmington, N.M. –The Vice President of the Navajo Nation rarely makes a public appearance, but late last week he fired back at the proposed new school district, calling it a ‘step back for race relations between Navajos and border towns.’
Vice President Jim said the school district’s boundaries would be reminiscent of Jim Crow laws, when children were separated according to the color of their skin and used separate water fountains in the South.
“This proposal negatively impacts the Navajo Nation,” Vice President Jim said during a quasi-judicial hearing held by New Mexico Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera last Wednesday evening at San Juan College. About 300 people attended the hearing.
According to the President and Vice president office, The hearing was in response to a petition from Children First, a Kirtland based group. The group’s proposal would split the current Central Consolidate School District into two school districts and end CCSD’s boundaries at the end of the reservation lines.
Supporters say the split would create better schools, would that mean for whites or Navajo’s? But Mr. Jim made it very clear, what the interest are for the Navajo Nation and surrounding communities. “The Navajo Nation strongly opposes the split. It’s not in the best interest of children, of the schools, of the community, of the future,” Vice President Jim said.
The proposed Kirtland School District would not have any boundaries on the Navajo reservation and would have about 80 percent of students be of Native American decent. Some Children First supporters have long opposed Navajo preference laws and implementation of Navajo culture and language lessons into district classrooms.
“The Navajo Nation has entered this debate because most of the students are Navajo,” Vice President Jim said. The Vice President added that the two school districts would force a Navajo child to chose and think that an off reservation school is better than an on reservation school.
“We have struggled for years to undo the colonized Navajo mind,” he said. Sec. Skandera said she will issue a decision about a new school district by May 29.
Mr. Jim help draft the final passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.