NYS Legislative Leaders - Increase Funding for Indigenous Schools

Act Now to Support Indigenous Schools

Hundreds of people across New York State have joined the effort to significantly increase funding to three Indigenous Schools on Indigenous Lands that have been significantly underfunded for decades.As a result of our efforts Governor Hochul included $35.7 million for the St. Regis Mohawk School ($17.8 million), the Tuscarora School ($11.8 million), and the Onondaga School ($6.1 million) in her Executive Budget. We're now targeting four key leaders in the New York State legislature to push for the full $20 million for each school requested from the Superintendents of these districts.

Continue on this site to send automated emails to these four legislative leaders. We also encourage you to call their offices.

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Majority Leader: (518) 455-2585, (212) 298-558

Senator Liz Kruger, Chair of Senate Finance Committee: (518) 455-2297, (212) 490-9535,

Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie, 518-455-3791, 718-654-6539,

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Chair of Assembly Ways & Means Committee: 518-455-5462, 718-648-4700

Here's some additional background information:

The three School Districts are under contract with the NYS Education Department to educate Indigenous students living on their own territories, fulfilling treaty obligations of the Federal Government under the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix to provide for the education and health of the Haudenosaunee. New York State is responsible for the buildings which house these schools and due to historic neglect, they are in a shameful state of disrepair.

I write this letter as a New York State resident, and in the spirit of the Two Row Wampum Treaty, the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and settlers and the basis of all following treaties. As a leader in the legislative budgeting process, I'm asking you to help us full our shared responsibility to honor the treaties with our Haudenosaunee neighbors and address the unjust conditions at these schools.

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) each have significant problems as a result of this lack of funding for maintenance and capital improvements. These include crumbling brick, poorly functioning heating and cooling systems, dangerously degraded concrete, lack of adequate space and much more. The superintendents of those districts describe them as among “the worst school 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. The current situation clearly violates this commitment.

The current funding stream for these three schools is mixed in with funding for other marginalized students who attend schools for students with disabilities. Those students also deserve adequately-funded schools.

The New York State Legislature has taken important steps to address inequality and build a state that fairly serves all. This small step is an important way to continue that critical work.

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