ONEIDA NATION SCHOOL

CULTURE MISSION STATEMENT

 

 

Culture evolves from language.  Language carries cultural norms in an upward spiral which encompasses all community members.  Oneida cultural concepts flow upward, moving from the general to the specific and back to the general again.  The cultural concepts seek their own balance as they meet the evolving needs of the people.

 

The cultural spiral of knowledge brings a higher progression of awareness.  All parts of the environment are interdependent.  Each part has an integral function that affects the whole.  The inter weaving of human beings in a social setting and the organisms that thrive in the natural world follow the same natural laws.  Students will attain this cultural knowledge through four processes:

 

Nurturing the individual is the first process.  Students will learn pride in their identity.  They will learn self-respect which will in turn engender respect for others and for everything that exists in the natural world.  The personal attributes that will be promoted in the education system include being adaptable to change, having confidence in one=s abilities and a willingness to be a self advocate.  Oneida students will leave with a deep understanding of themselves espousing the Oneida value of REASON.

 

Herbs, medicines, and ceremonies are ways of achieving an equilibrium in the body.  Students will acquire the capabilities of maintaining balance.  Students will exercise self-control using the resources provided by the earth.  Oneidas understand the close relationship between a healthy mind and body.  This value is incorporated in the Oneida concept of PEACE.

 

Our students will learn they are members of an Oneida community and recognize the responsibilities between the individual and the environment.  Responsibilities are acquired through cooperation within the framework of the clan system and through the language which addresses respect to all living things.  The student skills learned will include active listening, seeing other perspectives, decision making, and arriving at a consensus.  These responsibilities and skills reflect leadership qualities that are inherent in the Oneida principle of RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Righteousness is the belief in the basic rights which belong to the people.  By fulfilling these responsibilities, students will assure preservation of the environment and survival of the community.

 

There are many symbols in Oneida culture fostering unity.  Cultural activities transmit significant teachings and symbolic relationships.  Examples include the concept of wampum and illustrative stories that explain our origins as People of the Great Tree.  The arts, crafts, songs, dances and games are both ceremonial and social.  These activities promote unity.  Their cultural message is derived from the Oneida concept of POWER which is a belief system and explains our existence here as human beings.  The concepts of power are the norms, rules, and customs of society.  These laws and customs are based on the authority derived from government and religion.

 

The Oneidas have a unique cultural world.  To empower our students as they participate in the Western culture, it is important they be given the opportunity to discover and explore their cultural identity first.  Students will leave enriched with a positive, coherent sense of self.

 

It is understood that the educational process for ethnic groups has been and can be destructive or constructive to growth and development.  With this in mind, the school provides opportunities for students to know what is their own in contrast to what belongs to others.  Multiethnic education leads to higher level thinking skills and an appreciation for others.  Our students will be culturally Aliterate@ in the best sense of the word.