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National Native American Heritage Month

(Norwalk Public Schools)

The Norwalk Board of Education is proud to recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month. National Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of indigenous or First Nation people. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges they have faced.

Native Americans have lived in Norwalk for thousands of years. The Norwalk Historical Society has highlighted the arrival of the first people to Norwalk in their current exhibition, “Norwalk’s Changing Communities 13,000 BC -1835,” now on display at the Mill Hill Historic Park.

The Mill Hill exhibition features a look at how Indigenous People used natural resources in their home, work and community life, with nothing going to waste. It also discusses the evidence of a village and trading post that was discovered during site work for the Walk Bridge replacement. That discovery demonstrated that Indigenous People used the site for many centuries before Dutch and European explorers arrived in the area.

Early on, it was believed that the name Norwalk came from “north walk” – a day’s walk to the northern edge of the land purchased from the Native Americans. According to the Norwalk Historical Society, maps from the 17th Century show reference the Marimakes, Indigenous People who lived in the area, and labelled the area as “Norwalke,” meaning point of land. At the time of English settlement, it is thought that between 200 and 300 Indigenous People lived in the area.

On February 26, 1640, Roger Ludlow entered into a treaty with Chief Mahackemo of the small Norwalk tribe of Siwanoy and purchased “all lands lying between the Saugatuck and Norwalk rivers, to the middle of said rivers, and from the sea, a day’s walk into the country.” In subsequent years, many Indigenous People became enslaved, indentured servants or were forced to move from the area.

Since 1990, Congress has authorized an annual presidential proclamation that designates November as National American Indian Heritage Month to encourage all people to learn about the Indigenous peoples of the North American continent. Similar proclamations under various names, including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month,” have been issued each year since 1994.

By declaring this National Native American Heritage Month, the Board of Education encourages our community to learn about and honor the history and culture of Native Americans here in Norwalk and across the country, as well as Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

6 comments

Niz November 21, 2021 at 4:40 am

I never see native Americans
No where
Where are they?
Not in town Or schools or Dr’s offices
Not a grocery stores Malls Shopping
Not at any job I’ve had or place I’ve eaten or beauty salon
I see every race, religion and people from many parts of the world in Fairfield county CT
BUT NO Native Americans

Bruce Sullivan November 21, 2021 at 11:12 am

NORWALK PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN CRISIS

It is great to see that the National Native American Heritage Month is finally here, and that respect for our Native American brothers and sisters is being recognized. However, there needs to be a lot more respect for the Teachers in Education right now in the Norwalk Public schools. Currently there is a major crisis brewing in the Norwalk Public schools that many parents and tax payers are not aware of. Over 80 teachers/Educators have left or resigned from the Norwalk Public schools, since September. Approximately thirty or more teachers are planning to leave by the end of this school year. There are no more Aids assisting in Kindergarten classes, no aids for co taught classes with Special Ed children, and Food Aid and bus monitors are being cut. Teachers are not getting the support, or assistance they need to teach the students. Special Ed children are not getting the assistance they need in the classroom either. Teachers are being asked to attend more meetings, more training programs for new math, science and literacy programs which pop up year after year. Veteran teachers are being forced out of their positions due to the monotonous observation and evaluation process. Younger teachers are burning out at an alarming rate due to the meaningless busy work they have to do each day. Teachers are being told to teach a certain way, and cannot teach the students the way they know how to teach. Everything is about tests, scores, data, and meetings to discuss new ways of learning methods. The days of the old tried and true learning which worked is gone out the window. Also students who pose problems in disrespect and defiant attitudes are not being allowed to be disciplined and are allowed to be disrespectful to teachers. This makes teaching even harder. Today teachers are being told to be nicer to students, and that bad behaviors will go away if teachers talk nicely to students and dialogue more with them. Teachers are being asked to do lengthy lesson plans which many times can take three hours to do, and have to be submitted each week. Currently there are very few if any substitute teachers any more. The pay is not great and since the Covid -Pandemic few people want to come into the buildings to sub for teachers anymore. Aids who normally would be helping students and teachers are now being told to cover other classes, cafeteria jobs, and recess duties. Teachers are leaving the profession at an ever increasing rate, and the Superintendent and people in Central office are not offering incentives for people to stay. The people in Central Office are making huge salaries, and claim they can’t afford to pay for more aids and subs, yet over a million dollars is being spent on the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent positions with a 5 million dollar Welcome Center to boot. If teachers do not get the support they need soon, there will not be enough teachers to keep the Public schools open in Norwalk. Students will not be able to get a proper education anymore. Also teachers are having to work longer hours at home and on the weekends and this is leading to depression, anxiety, and family problems. Currently without the teachers the schools in Norwalk and elsewhere could not function. Parents and Tax payers need to be aware of these problems before it is too late. Teachers are at a breaking point, and cannot handle much more. Parents and Tax Payers need to tell the Board of Education and those in authority in Central Office that you demand better for the teachers and our children. Everyone in Norwalk wake up!

Audrey Cozzarin November 21, 2021 at 5:39 pm

All Norwalkers are welcome to gather on Mon., Nov. 22, from 6-7pm at the Norwalk Green gazebo, for a first-time event, “Gratitude on the Green.” There will be a reading from the recent book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” by a Native American writer of the Potawatami Nation.

This is a great way to celebrate Native American heritage, as well as the history and future of our Norwalk community.

John O'Neill November 22, 2021 at 3:25 pm

@ Brian Sullivan — Well, I guess we know how well the teacher survey went over. I’m guessing if they did another survey in January it will only paint a worsening picture. I’m sure there’s a game plan behind all this nonsense, I just can’t seem to figure it out. Thanks for speaking out – We need more input from those on the inside.

Actual American November 24, 2021 at 10:19 am

All cultures are allowed to be celebrated except for White or European culture. We are expected to feel bad for the world’s woes they we supposedly caused. “White Guilt” is made up by the identity politics leftists. Celebrate your culture, everyone has the right to.

George Ignacio November 24, 2021 at 10:31 am

All cultures are allowed to be celebrated except White or European culture. We are expected to feel “White Guilt” because of the left’s identity politics.

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