Located on the south coast of Oregon in Coos County, the Coos County Indian Education Coordination Program began in 1976 to better serve the local needs of American Indian/ Alaska Natives in public schools. Initially only one of the six school districts in Coos County had an Indian Education Act program in its schools (Coos Bay), but later Coos County Indian Education Coordinator Jim Thornton worked with local schools, parents of Indian students, teachers, and the two local Tribes (Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw, and the Coquille Indian Tribe) to initiate programs in allCoquille River Lighthouse six Coos County school districts (Bandon, Coos Bay, Coquille, Myrtle Point, North Bend and Powers). Currently Indian Education Act programs in all six school districts in Coos County serve a total of 1,298 American Indian/ Alaska Native students. Each of the programs is funded through the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Indian Education to each school district based upon the number of American Indian/ Alaska Native students who are certified on ED Form 506 forms.

Services to students include Indian Resource Speakers who speak on a number of topics as well as demonstrate traditional arts within area classrooms. School assembly resources include the Coyote Singers' traditional drumming and dancing group, and an all-Indian theater group named MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN that visually interpretes traditional stories for students. Supplemental tutorial services are also made available through the program to Indian students either needing remedial or accelerated learning assistance. Positive Indian books, films and videos have also been provided to the schools to increase the availability of quality resources for students. Each summer (since 1977) the Coordination Program has served to operate a cooperative South Coast Indian Education Summer Camp for grades 4-12 for Summer CampCoos County Indian students, as well as Indian students from neighboring Brookings-Harbor and Siuslaw (Florence) school districts. Additionally, the Coordination Program has developed and published innovative, positive Indian curriculum written by Esther Stutzman for use specifically in area schools and also publishes an Indian Education Newsletter that is distributed to all teachers and Indian families in the area.

MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN, our local Indian non-profit, makes available several Indian student scholarships both locally and throughout Oregon. Through their performances in Coos County schools during the month of April, MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN awards $300 - $450 Student Assistance Awards to outstanding graduating American Indian/Alaska Native students in each of the six county school districts as selected by their individual Indian Education parent committees. In addition, four $1000 awards are presented each year to 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 following Fall. This last award is named the MOTHER EARTH'S CHILDREN Ann C. Thornton Memorial Fund Scholarship that is awarded annually and that has a closing date each year of May 1st.


Jim Thornton, Indian Education Coordinator, Coos County Indian Education Coordination Program,
90633 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay OR 97420-7635