Once the idea of a Native American Tribal Room came about at Madras High School, the school district was all in.
“Kids wouldn’t come talk to me because they believed that they were in trouble because I worked in student services, and so that was kind of a barrier for my position,” said Native American Community Liaison Mariah Stacona-Alexander. “And so my idea was, you know what, we saw this need from our education committee and parents and so that’s how this room came about.”
Recently opened, it brought a safe place for kids to go during and after school.
“I was excited because it was just going to be in the room, and I think that’s pretty cool to have our own room,” said MHS sophomore James Napyer.
“It’s just like a home to other people,” said MHS sophomore Rebecca Francis. “If they don’t feel comfortable anywhere else, they always come here to work or to, like, eat or get food or something.”
Stacona-Alexander says the room has brand-new computers for students and areas designed to get schoolwork done.
“The furniture,” she said. “We just wanted a comfortable, neutral color so the kids just don’t feel overwhelmed with too much colors or anything like that. So that’s kind of where the color scheme comes in.”
More than 30% of the student population is Native American at Madras High School, which now has a room — open to all — that embraces and welcomes Native American culture.
“As far as the room, the mural is made up of different basket designs,” Stacona-Alexander said, “So the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs is made up of three tribes — Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute. So once you take a look at the room, you will see those different basket designs. So we try to represent our three tribes.”
It’s a place to reflect and embrace the past while looking toward and preparing for the future.
“We have a lot of resources on the wall from clubs,” she said. “Graduation requirements. Johnson O’Malley forums, which helps students pay for any activity school related. So there’s just a bunch of different programs that use this room because we oftentimes try to bring in resources for our Native American students.”