On Sept. 9, Muckleshoot tribal members and local and state dignitaries gathered to celebrate the opening of a new, 107,000-square-foot school. In addition to members of the Muckleshoot Tribal Council, Auburn School District Superintendent Kip Herren, State Sens. Claudia Kauffman and Pam Roach, Attorney General Rob McKenna and Gov. Christine Gregoire were there to help open the doors of the new facility. For 24 years, the school had been housed in the tribe's community center. The new facility represents the realization of the tribe's vision for a home for the school's students and the Muckleshoot community.
UW iSchool Associate Professor Cheryl Metoyer was there to help open the school as well. Dr. Metoyer is actively involved with tribal nations in Washington state, as well as through her work with the Mashantucket Pequot, Cahuilla, Yakama, Navajo, Seneca, Mohawk and the Lakota nations in the development of their libraries, archives and museums.
Metoyer began her graduate career working with Native American children. Her doctoral studies focused on the information needs of the Mohawk school children on both the American and Canadian sides of the Akwesasne Reservation in New York. Later, as Director of Information Resources, Metoyer worked with tribal members to plan, build and implement the Research Library, Tribal Archives and Children's Research Library of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut.
"In my work, I try to support the goals of Indian communities to invest in their children's education as a critical step in maintaining sovereignty," Metoyer said. "Through the development of tribal schools and tribal libraries, Indian communities continue to educate their children by combining traditional learning with state of the art information technology. Having seen the powerful results of this combination in other tribal communities, it was a special honor and joy to celebrate this achievement on the Muckleshoot Reservation, here in Washington. While the opening of this new school represents a huge milestone for the Muckleshoot, the presence of Gov. Gregiore and others reflects just how important this new facility is to both the tribe and the region's vision for education and opportunity for all."
An article about the opening of the new school appeared in the Sept. 10 edition of the Auburn Reporter. The online version of the article also includes a slide show with photos from the event.