Saturday, January 16, 2021
Upward Bound Gives Idaho Natives a Hand
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Tony Tekaroniake Evans took part in the 2019 Days of the Old West Fourth of July Parade.
   
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

In 1968 the University of Idaho at Moscow became one of the first institutions in the United States to start an Upward Bound program. The idea: To provide educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic status.

Since, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 has provided funding for 2,800 such projects across the nation, aiding 800,000 low-income Americans.

Wood River author Tony Tekaroniake Evans recounts the story in his new book “Teaching Native Pride—Upward Bound and the Legacy of Isabel Bond.” And he will discuss it during a livestream hosted by The Community Library at 6 p.m. tonight—Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Evans, an enrolled Bear Clan member of the Kahnawake Mohawks of Quebec, uses Native and non-Native voices to tell how many Native students were able to break the cycles of poverty, isolation and disenfranchisement with the help of the program. And he recounts how non-Indians gained a new respect for Idaho’s first peoples through it.

He also tells the story of how Isabel Bond, who led the program for more than three decades, designed a curriculum that celebrated and incorporated the Native American heritage of the UI students, most of whom came from the nearby Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene communities.

"It was a very different time back then. Non-natives received white lunch tickets, but native students received green lunch tickets with INDIAN written on them,” said Chris Meyer, part of Upward Bound's inaugural group and the first Coeur d'Alene tribal member to receive a Ph.D.

“My brothers were told they could not date white girls. I think, because of the racism that existed on the reservations, we were continuously reminded that we were different,” added Meyer, who now oversees the tribe’s Department of Education. “We internalized this idea that we were less than white kids, that we were not as capable. Even today there are low expectations for native students."

To tune in to the discussion, visit https://livestream.com/comlib.

 

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