Contact NYS Legislative Leaders to Support Indigenous Schools
New York State has consistently underfunded the three schools serving Indigenous students on their own nations for decades
We’ve made good progress so far with Gov. Kathy Hochul including over half of the original $60 million request in her Executive Budget. The NYS Senate and Assembly are now working on their respective budgets, so our focus is on pressuring four key leaders to build on the Governor’s budget. Please take a few minutes to reach out to them now:
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Majority Leader: (518) 455-2585, (212) 298-558, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Liz Kruger, Chair of Senate Finance Committee: (518) 455-2297, (212) 490-9535, email@example.com
Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Assembly Majority Leader: 518-455-3791, 718-654-6539, Speaker@nyassembly.gov
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Chair of Assembly Ways and Means Committee: 518-455-5462, 718-648-4700, WeinstH@nyassembly.gov
As part of the historic treaty relationship between the Haudenosaunee and the United States, the US is responsible for providing healthcare and education to Indigenous communities. Unfortunately, these treaties have been repeatedly ignored and broken. This history includes the appalling boarding school era, where the motto, “Kill the Indian, save the man” was carried out across the continent. Indigenous communities survived through resilience and determination. Almost every public school building in New York New York State is owned by the School District in that community, except for three schools on Indigenous Nations – the Onondaga Nation School (Lafayette School District), the Tuscarora Nation School (Niagara Wheatfield School District) and the St. Regis Mohawk School (Salmon River School District).
NYS is responsible for maintaining the buildings which house these three schools. They have been terribly underfunded for decades – leaving them with major facilities problems – crumbling brick walls, poorly functioning heating and cooling systems, dangerously degraded concrete, inadequate security and fire protection and much more. The superintendents of those districts describe them as among “the worst building conditions in NYS.”
New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, approved in January 2018, emphasizes fostering equity in education for all students and ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from. It specifically mentions historically disadvantaged students.
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) is joining with others across NYS in urging the NYS Legislature to include the full $60 million requested by these schools to the $35.7 million included in Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget.
Customize this sample letter to send to your NYS Senator and Assemblyperson.
TOOLS For Organizing
Informational Handout – Background Information on one side and a sample letter to NYS Legislators
Slideshow on Funding Inequity – This slideshow was created by the Superintendents of the three Indigenous Schools and includes detailed information about the problems
Letter to Governor Hochul from the 3 Superintendents
Article from Onondaga Nation website about the three superintendents advocating for increased funding
Postcard to Print – Two sided document to create 4 postcards to be sent to Governor Hochul (print two sided) – Out of Date – for background info