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Native American Educator Will Address Strengthening Children

KEENE, N.H. 10/9/01 - In 1990, Martin Brokenleg, Larry Brendtro, and Steve Van Bockern wrote Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future. Their work merged Native American tribal practices with Western psychology, creating a model, the Circle of Courage, which supports at-risk children and youth. Dr. Brokenleg will address the Circle of Courage on Monday, Oct. 29, at Keene State College. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center.

In his speech, Circle of Courage: Strengthening Children and Youth, Dr. Brokenleg will provide guidance about ways that teachers, parents, and community members can create environments that respond in a positive way to all children and youth. When the Circle of Courage is broken or damaged, Dr. Brokenleg explains, young people can lose their ability to cope and may become alienated or display risky behaviors, passivity, or anger.

The model, says Dr. Brokenleg, holds that four values must be present in childrens lives for them to be successful:

Belonging: Children should be surrounded by caring adults and peers in an extended kinship system that treats all significant others as relatives.

Mastery: Children, mentored by elders and skilled peers, should gain competence in social, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual domains.

Independence: Children anchored in the values, knowledge, and skills of their culture develop a strong sense of autonomy and power over their own lives.

Generosity: The highest expression of courage is attained when children learn to show compassion for others and to give a higher priority to relationships rather than possessions.

Dr. Brokenleg is professor of Native American Studies at Augustana College in South Dakota. He has been a director of The Neighborhood Youth Corp, and a chaplain in a correctional setting, and he has extensive experience as an alcohol counselor. He has consulted and led training programs throughout North America and in Hawaii, New Zealand, and South Africa, and he has published many articles about child and youth development, Native American studies, and education.

The father of three children, Dr. Brokenleg is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, which practices the culture of his Lakota people. He has taught at Augustana since 1974 and is a recipient of the Orin Lofthus Distinguished Professor Award. He lives in Lennox, S.D.

The presentation is part of Keene States Diverse Voices from the Field lecture, which is dedicated to bringing speakers who represent diversity in education to the College.

For more information, contact Nancy Lory, professor of education, at 603-358-2310, or Dottie Bauer, assistant professor of education, at 603-358-2864.

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