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Mohawk Language & Culture Instruction

Native Studies | Native American Film Studies | Mohawk Language | Mohawk Club | Events | Parent Committee

Thanks to Title VI federally-funded programs, the Salmon River Central School District provides educational enrichment programming for its Mohawk student population, which comprises 62% of the total school enrollment. Salmon River is one of thirteen districts within New York State to provide an education to its Native American students, with a commitment to preserve the Mohawk tradition, culture and language within the school system.

Native Studies

The Native Studies course was developed by a group of community cultural consultants and SRC teachers in collaboration with Potsdam College. This course is designed to fit the needs of the student body here at SRC, which has a majority population of Haudenosaunee students. It is very specific to Haudenosaunee culture and history. The course begins with the Creation Story and concludes with contemporary issues facing the Haudenosaunee people today.

The books used for this course include:

  • “and Gramma Said” by Tom Porter
  • “Ohenton Kariwatekwen” by H.E.T.F
  • “Clanology” by Tom Porter

This course puts students in the driver seat with a project-based curriculum. Students perform a puppet show on the Haudenosaunee Creation Story for the Grade 3 students at SRC as their first project. They also work with a variety of media and software to create presentations. Traditional arts such as pottery or basketry as well as a week-long unit on preparing traditional foods compliment the course.

We have been fortunate to have many presenters from the community and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to share their specific knowledge with the students. Past presenters include: Richard Mitchell, Maxine Cole, Dan Longboat, Jim Ransom, Darren Bonaparte, Tom Porter, Louise McDonald, Rick Hill, Mike McDonald, Roger Perkins, Rick Hill, Sally Roesch Wagner, Daryl Thompson and many more.

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Native American Film Studies

Native American Film is a full year course. The class begins by investigating Native American stereotypes in media. Students move onto critiquing Native American films (beginning with John Wayne westerns and continuing to contemporary Native films.)

The most exciting part of this course is the hands on experience that the students receive creating independent films. They learn the basics in camera operations, lighting, audio, script writing, and film editing. The final for this course is a group film project that is produced by the class. During the final project, students all take part in writing, directing, filming, acting and editing a short film.

The students produce many independent films and the most outstanding films are showcased at the annual Native Student film festival at the Galaxy Theatre in Cornwall. This is a joint project with the Akwesasne Mohawk Board of Education (AMBE) and is organized by Margaret Peters and Katsitsionni Fox. In 2006, Salmon River created three of seven films that were recognized by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) for the theme of “Giving Thanks”.

Read about the accomplishments of Salmon River Central School District’s Native Film class.

Check out our YouTube channel to see student films and more!

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Mohawk Language

The St. Regis Mohawk School offers Mohawk Language Pre-K through 5. The Salmon River main campus offers Mohawk Language for grade 6 through 12 students. There is a proficiency for Level I and a Regents exam for Level III students.

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Mohawk Club

The goals and objectives of the club are to promote Mohawk Language and Culture and to provide a representative voice for the members of the Mohawk club in matters that concern them by:

  • providing opportunities for spiritual, mental, physical and social development;
  • planning, coordinating and conducting cultural, environmental and community service projects;
  • and providing opportunities for interaction among Native American youth.

Activities include:

  • Mural painting
  • Reciting the Ohenton Kariwatekwen on Mondays & Fridays
  • Social Dance Singing
  • Earth Day clean up
  • Fundraising
  • Volunteering as student leaders

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Orange Shirt Day & Every Child Matters Day

Each year, the Salmon River Central School District acknowledges the tragic history and long-standing effects of residential boarding schools to Indigenous communities.

Orange Shirt Day occurs every Sept. 30, and coincides with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s annual Every Child Matters Day.

Salmon River students, staff and community members are encouraged to wear orange clothing to help raise awareness and celebrate Native American heritage, highlighting resiliency in the process. Orange Shirt Day often uses the slogan Every Child Matters.

Native American Day

During National Native American Heritage Month in November, the Salmon River Central School District holds presentations and activities throughout its buildings each year.

These Native American Day Celebrations at Salmon River involve everything from performances from indigenous singers, fashion shows and traditional food.

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