Malia White Thunder is working hard on her Montessori work, titled “the 49 layout.”
Destiny Valdez, First grade – Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy
Meonahan "Joe" Howell , Fifth grade – Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy
Photo Credit: courtesy SUIMA
Photo Credit: courtesy SUIMA
Photo Credit: courtesy SUIMA
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Kwanachigani po’okwatu – Eagle’s Nest

As we have since March 2019, we require masks/face coverings to be worn on the SUIMA campus. Currently, minor adjustments were made we follow the SUIT Covid requirements of Phase II, Level 3.  For our elementary PE program, we have incorporated a running club. From now until the end of the school year, these students will be participating in the power-building activity. 

The second Tuesday of each month, we have a virtual Family Night. Our guest speakers, who range from beginning to fluent speakers, come from the three sister tribes. The one-hour time slot is filled with questions, information, and laughter. 

The Parent Advisory Group meets the fourth Tuesday of each month. This group hears reports from the various levels at the school and it also provides parents the time to ask questions about school issues. Our newly formed school board has been working diligently on helping to steer the school in a good direction. They currently meet twice a month to discuss topics and set goals. 

Our Family Conference week ended with a wonderful turnout. At the time of writing this article, I don’t have the statistics on attendance, but based on the families I saw sitting in conferences, I think we had at least a 90% attendance. 

It takes the school, the guides/teachers, and the parents/families to help the student learn and grow. Together, we are raising some amazing children! 

Tumiikukh kwanachiu – Eagles of the Week 

Destiny Lucero, First grade – Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy

Our first tumiikukh kwanachi is seven-year-old, Destiny Valdez. Her Ute name is Múutatachi, which means “Hummingbird.” 

Destiny is a first grader who has been at SUIMA since she was in the infant room. 

When Destiny is at school, she can be found working hard on her lessons and completing her work. She enjoys reading, even attempting to read “The Little Mermaid” to younger students in the after-school program. Her favorite books are “There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed Some Leaves,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” 

Her favorite food is Chinese food and fresh fruit. She often asks adults to sit with her at lunch so that she can have conversations and tell them about her day. 

When Destiny is not at school, she likes to play Roblox and loves going on walks. She loves hanging out with her family and friends as well as singing. Her favorite songs come from Disney movies, such as “Encanto,” “Frozen,” and “Coco.”  While Destiny is petite; she is mighty, feisty, and has a big heart. She also gives big hugs!

Meonahan “Joe” Howell
, Fifth grade – Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy

Our other tumiikukh kwanachi is Meonahan “Joe” Howell. His Ute name is Sookwanachi, which means “Soldier Eagle.”

Joe is a fifth grader, with an amazing spirit, who has been at SUIMA since he was in the infant/toddler level!

His favorite food is pizza. Yummy and delicious! 

When Joe is at school, he can be found working on his math, investigating science, and participating in STEM activities. One of his STEM projects was to make an Airtight Vacuum, which he did with a classroom peer. Joe has made a goal for himself this year, which is to improve in his reading. He has found that, with practice, he is meeting his goal. Way to go!

When he is not at school, his favorite activities include video games and sleeping. He loves spending time with his Grandpa Howard and going to the mountains. He is very involved with his culture and loves learning the history of his people. Fun fact: Joe and his Great Grandpa Bear share the same birthday.

‘apagha nuu

Not only are we, the SUIMA staff and students, increasing the use of Ute language, but we are also having more cultural discussions, events, and activities. By doing these in conjunction with one another, the school is helping the students build a strong sense of self and pride within themselves. 

Every Friday, we continue to support their strength through our Fancy Friday’s. The Eagle Wing Drum Group works in collaboration with SUIMA to help our students become drummers and singers. Community members have volunteered to come share stories, teach beading, talk about traditions handed down through generations, and help our students grow in a good way. 

On March 18, the older students will walk to the Sky Ute Event Center so they can participate in the Yellow Nose Warrior Historical Society Event. They will have their afternoon filled with Indigenous arts, crafts, culture, and education as they learn about the Ute Warrior, Yellow Nose, who was a big part of winning the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Nuu’apaghapi – Ute phrases

These phrases will be said throughout the month of February. If anyone has a desire to learn more, please go to the website ‘Speak Ute Now’ as we have compiled basic sounds, phrases, and songs to help you learn.

  • mɵ’ɵvi – hand
  • pʉ’ivʉ – eyes
  • mɵvɵt’ɵpʉ – nose
  • tʉpavi – mouth
  • ‘anɵwiini mɵ’ɵvi? Wáyni mɵ’ɵvi. – How many hands? Two hands.
  • ‘ʉmʉ pʉ’ʉm punikya? Pui’i. – What do you see with? Eyes.
  • ‘ʉmʉ pʉ’ʉm ‘ugwikya? mɵvotʉ. – What do you use to smell? Nose.
  • ‘ʉmʉ pʉ’ʉm kamaytuk? Tapáa. – What do you use to taste? Mouth.
  • ‘agha-vaa mʉ nʉka-vʉ? Máy nʉka-vʉ. – Where is your ear? Say “ear.”
  • ‘agha-vaa mʉ sɵvaavʉ? Máy sɵvaa-vʉ. – Where is your cheek? Say “cheek.”
  • ‘agha-vaa mʉ matak’avi? Máy matak’a-vi. – Where is your forehead? Say “forehead.”
  • ‘agha-vaa mʉ kanaqhopʉ? Máy kanaqho-pʉ. – Where is your chin? Say “chin.”
  • ‘agha-vaa mʉ sapʉ-vʉ? Máy sapʉ-vʉ. – Where is your stomach? Say “stomach.”

Upcoming events

  • March 2: End of grading trimester
  • March 8: Family Night – Guest speakers from sister Tribes (link sent that day)
  • March 11: Upper Elementary – Snowshoeing 
  • March 14: Progress reports sent out
  • March 18: Sunrise Blessing / Yellow Nose Warrior event
  • March 21 – 25: Spring Break
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