MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN is an American Indian/Alaska
Native theater group, an American Indian/Alaska Native student scholarship
source, and a fiscal agent for the cooperative South Coast Indian Education
MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN began as a way to visually interpret traditional
American Indian stories. When
traditional storytellers discovered that many of the students in area
public schools could not visualize the actions of the traditional stories,
a need was identified and an answer was found in the local American Indian/Alaska
Native people who jumped in to help form the new group as its "actors".
After the group was formed in 1978 there have been several cast members
that have grown MUCH older over the years before the changing eyes of
the audience! Still telling stories as the group's principal storyteller,
Esther Stutzman has told each story countless times during both local
school assemblies as well as at Oregon and National Indian Education Association
conferences. MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN even peformed in the Oregon Pavilion
during Expo 86, the World's Fair that was held in Vancouver, B.C.!
On the way back from the first day's performance at Expo
86, one of the two vehicles overheated and had to be left in Canada. So
then all fourteen cast members piled into Esther's station wagon and headed
for the U.S. border crossing, with the car packed to the roof! When they
pulled up to the U.S.border guard, the guard tried to keep his cool with
people sitting on even more people! The guard asked the usual questions
of where everyone was from, but a growing smile almost broke into a full
laugh as he sent MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN on their uncomfortable way back
MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN is a local all-Indian theater
group that visually interprets traditional stories with actors who react
to the storyteller's story. The first story told by Esther is a favorite
of hers called "Why Children Should Not Go Out At Night". Esther
enjoys telling the story about old Dark Lady who catches children at night
in her sticky Cedar bark dress. Other stories present teaching stories
and creation stories that include Coyote, Bear, and other traditional
EARTH'S CHILDREN uses funds received from its performances to provide
American Indian/ Alaska Native Student Achievement Awards to graduating
seniors in all six school districts in Coos County. The group has also
performed outside its local area to give other area programs ideas on
how to start their own American Indian Repertory Theater. Funds from these
performances are also used to award the MEC Student Achievement Awards.
MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN Offers Both Statewide & Local
Student Scholarships For Outstanding Students
Since 1990, MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN has awarded the Ann C. Thornton Memorial
Fund Scholarship to four outstanding Oregon American Indian/Alaska Native
students who live in Oregon and who are enrolled (or will be enrolled)
in a college or university in the Fall. Criteria for selection for these
very competitive awards include: the student's grade point average (GPA),
financial need, extracurricular activities in school and the community,
Deadline for submission of these scholarships is May 1st of each year.
To obtain an official application to apply for these four MEC Ann C. Thornton
Memorial Fund Scholarships, please download the above pdf forms or write your request to: Ann C. Thornton
Memorial Fund Scholarship, MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN, 90633 Cape Arago Highway,
Coos Bay, Oregon 97420-7635. So that your request is honored correctly,
please do not call since a printed request is more accurate if you are unable to download the pdf format form above (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
This year we are proud to announce the winners of two $1000 student awards for our nineteenth year of the very competititve statewide awards. The most recent winners of $1,000 awards for 2009 are: Sean Andy - Myrtle Point High School (Yup'ik) and Marneet Lewis - Portland Community College (Creek Nation).
MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN also awards $350 Outstanding Indian Student Achievement Awards to high school graduates that are made possible since 1982 through MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN's school assembly presentations in area schools. Selected by individual Coos County Indian Education parent committees, this year's 2009 winners of $350 awards are all outstanding graduating students. Congratulations to all of the above and to others who submitted outstanding applications!
No matter what grade a student is in now, this is the time to consider
planning for and paying for a college education. Even though there may
be no current plans to attend college, students may later decide that
college is in their plans after all! Therefore, it is a good idea to consider
the costs of a college education and a source to help pay for it. According
to a recent article, current tuition for state residents at one of Oregon's
seven public universities is about $3,500 a year, with community colleges
costing roughly half that amount. Additional costs for housing and food,
books and other expenses increases that amount to more than $11,000 a
year. Prices for attending a private college can cost as much as $30,000
a year. Although this seems out of the reach of most families, there are
still ways of working toward a college degree.
Pell grants are the most common grants that students
use to help fund their college education. Currently more than half of
students in higher education receive Pell grants of about $3,000 a year.
Although these grants have increased over the years, because of inflation
their worth has actually declined over the last two decades by about 23%
while college prices rose 49% and family incomes in real terms increased
by only 10%. According to a recent report of The Institute for Higher
Education Policy in Washington D.C., Pell grants are the major federal
funding source for low- income students but they provide about half of
what they did 20 years ago. The maximum Pell grants have fallen from covering
72% of public schools costs to only about 34% of those costs.
So what can help to fund a college education? Scholarships
have become a very important source of funding for college-bound students.
Although no one knows exactly how much is available in outside scholarships,
estimates are that there are tens of million of dollars available for
those students who seek them.
Be aware that some colleges will deduct any grant or
scholarship award that a student receives from other grants and work study
programs that are available through colleges. This has made many private
scholarship donors upset and several have not awarded funds to students
until after they have registered for college. Then funds are awarded directly
to students and not through the colleges so that their awards have the
greatest impact on the affected students. Several colleges have become
aware of this practice and are attempting to correct this problem. Hopefully
this will mean that donors will be sure that their awards become a benefit
for the award winners - and not just the colleges!
MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN, Cooperative South Coast Indian Education Summer
Camp's Fiscal Agent
Since 1977 the Indian Education Programs on the Oregon south coast have
operated a cooperative Indian Education Summer Camp program for its American
Indian/ Alaska Native students. Begun as an idea at North Bend's Indian
Education Parent Committee meeting, the idea spread throughout the region
and developed through the original idea to currently involve eight south
coast Indian Education programs in as many school districts.
As Coos County Indian Education Coordinator, Jim Thornton began to develop
the cooperative summer program from among all of the area Indian Education
program parents, teachers and students. Initially the Coos County Education
Service District served as fiscal agent for the program. Later, MOTHER
EARTH'S CHILDREN began serving as fiscal agent for the cooperative program
at no cost to the programs. As a non-profit Oregon corporation, MOTHER
EARTH'S CHILDREN provides services to American Indian/ Alaska Natives
at no cost. As fiscal agent for the cooperative South Coast Indian Education
Summer Camp, MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN can seek supplemental funding from
the USDA Summer Food Service Program For Children. Other funds are provided
by each of the eight Indian Education programs who sponsor their American
Indian/ Alaska Native students at a cost of $135 each.