Char-Koosta News

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Two Eagle River School Booster Club to auction local arts, crafts to raise funds to support student activities

By Lailani Upham
Char-Koosta News

Newborn beaded moccasins and a child sized ribbon shirt designed by Shaquille Bundy-Ness, and Patty Bundy are items donated for the TERS “Artists for Eagles” spring silent auction fundraiser. (Lailani Upham photo) Newborn beaded moccasins and a child sized ribbon shirt designed by Shaquille Bundy-Ness, and Patty Bundy are items donated for the TERS “Artists for Eagles” spring silent auction fundraiser. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — Community artists are using their talents to help purchase school needs for Two Eagle River School students for the 2017–18 school year. The recruited effort for artists is a start to bring in funds for the first time TERS Booster Club. From now until May 8, TERS board members and booster club members are seeking community folks, organizations, and businesses to make a contribution to the "Artists for Eagles" silent auction fundraiser whether it’s “talent, time or money” for the student’s needs.

Public schools have the money to buy school sports uniforms and other common necessities, but TERS falls short of public school budgets and state funding.

On Feb. 15, TERS students, board and staff made a trip to the State Capitol in Helena to testify to the 65th Montana Legislature to pass HB 375 that would allocate funding to accredited tribally controlled schools in the state. TERS and St. Labre School on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation are the only two in Montana. The money would have drawn from three state funding accounts. On February 22, HB 375 bill was tabled in committee, and on March 1 failed to pass.

“The purpose of the booster club is for the students to have the support they need,” said Leroy Black Jr., TERS School Board Chairman. Many students do not have the financial means to purchase sports shoes, sports bras, have money for school trips, or simply money for school clothes or basic needs.

The TERS board members began discussions this past year to formalize ways to create an ongoing booster club that will not only help the students, but to make parents feel supported as well, said Teresa Wall McDonald, interim TERS Booster Club member.

“This idea was met with great enthusiasm by the school board,” Wall-McDonald said.

The fundraising efforts jumpstarted during the Christmas season when school officials, board members, and community leaders and members witnessed a handful of unnamed donors “give and purchase” basic needs for TERS students. “The community was so generous,” said Wall McDonald.

McDonald says the board hopes to the see the communities continue the generosity. She says it’s always been a struggle for the school staff to make sure the kids get what they need from basic supplies to school uniforms due to unmatched school budget that other schools have and TERS lacks.

Granddaughter and grandmother artist team, Shaquille Bundy-Ness, 24; and Patty Bundy, 75; donate their traditional crafts to Two Eagle River School for the upcoming silent auction fundraiser to help students and parents purchase school items for the upcoming school year. (Lailani Upham photo) Granddaughter and grandmother artist team, Shaquille Bundy-Ness, 24; and Patty Bundy, 75; donate their traditional crafts to Two Eagle River School for the upcoming silent auction fundraiser to help students and parents purchase school items for the upcoming school year. (Lailani Upham photo)

“The per-student federal funds received are approximately one-half what the state funded public schools receive. Again, we meet the same requirements as every school in the state, despite this deficit,” said TERS Superintendent Rodney Bird, during the HB 375 hearing. “We are one of seven high schools located within the exterior boundaries of the Flathead Reservation. We average 110 students per year; of these we average 15 non-beneficiary students per year. Last year, we had 21. These Montana students generate zero dollars to our school, as the BIA does not fund descendants, only enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe. The state does not fund them either.”

Last week, St. Ignatius artists Patty Bundy and granddaughter, Shaquille Bundy-Ness donated a pair of infant moccasins and a boys ribbon shirt for the TERS spring event “Artists for Eagles,” which will feature local donations and a silent auction on May 13 to help raise money.

Bundy said she was compelled to do something to help the TERS students. “I don’t have money to give, but I have time and can make things,” she said.

Wall-McDonald said with so many artists in the area and generous caring folks she said she is very excited to see what will come of the spring fundraising event.

“My grandson came here (TERS) and so many different young people I know have came through the doors of this school,” Bundy said. “I’ve always loved the school.”

Patty, who is known as a detailed seamstress, says she especially enjoys designing children’s traditional clothing.

Bundy-Ness inspiration to give came from her own experience of people who surrounded her. “Growing up I’ve received a lot of support from the community and I want to give back any way I can,” she said.

Both granddaughter and grandmother say they plan to continue make more items before the spring silent auction.

“There are very few tribal entities that have mentored and schooled over 3,300 tribal youth and (TERS) is such an entity,” said Wall-McDonald. “There is hardly a family on the reservation which does not have ties to the school in one way or another.”

According to Wall-McDonald the proposed TERS Booster Club by-laws make all TERS parents members at no cost. Community members who wish to become voting members of the Booster Club will pay a $5 membership fee.

“The TERS parents will also elect a Booster Club President and officers in the fall, once the interim by-laws are approved,” explained Wall-McDonald.

So far initial fund raising efforts from the interim booster club members: Wall-McDonald, Norrie Dusty Bull Irvine, LD Irvine, Carrie Antoine, Roberta Asencio and the school board members have cooked for CSKT Tribal Council district meetings.

The group has raised $400. The goal for the start of Fall 2017 school year is to raise a minimum of $5,000.

TERS board members are: Board Chairman LeRoy Black Jr., Shelly Fyant, Shannon Sheridan, Dan James, Dan Adler, Leeann Cutfinger and Felicia Paul.

“Artists for Eagles” TERS Booster Club donations may include: beaded items; gently used regalia; ceramics; wood work; jewelry (new and old); sewing, knitting, crochet work; metal work; and any other items for a silent auction.

Donations can be brought to the TERS school office in by May 8. The silent auction will be on May 13, location to be announced. For any questions or to make a donation, call Teresa McDonald at 676-2018.

Two Eagle River School is an alternative school for Native American students, and descendants, which provides Native languages and a culturally relevant curriculum in a safe, healthy environment. The school community creates a foundation for each student to become a lifelong learner, to promote development of the whole individual, and to become a responsible, productive citizen of the community, state, nation, and world.

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