Claudia A. Fox Tree, M.Ed.
Speaker and Workshop Presenter
Name: Claudia A. Fox Tree, M.Ed.
Nation: Arawak (Yurumein)
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org (best way to contact me)
OTHER WEBSITES (see below for details):
Crafting Business: Arawak Design
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First Nations' People (FNP) Resources:
Professional educator, Claudia Fox Tree, M.Ed. (Arawak/Yurumein), leads conversations on Native American (FNP) identity, culture, and history featuring discussions about stereotypes and historical inaccuracies.
SOME OF THE GOALS OF MY PRESENTATIONS ARE TO…
- Expand ideas about Native Americans / First Nations People (FNP) HERITAGE.
- Learn about ROLE MODELS for FNP.
- Explore the role of STORIES and their power to educate about the First People of this land.
- Learn accurate information about CULTURE & HISTORY and dismantle inaccuracies.
- Learn new ways to think about LANGUAGE and ways to avoid/change INAPPROPRIATE language (words & phrases).
- Understand examples of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION vs. RACISM.
- Learn ways to deconstruct STEREOTYPES and MISINFORMATION.
- Understand examples of CONTRIBUTIONS .
- Learn ideas about being an ALLY, ACTIVIST, and AGITATOR.
SOME PRESENTATION TITLES:
- Who's Telling Our Story? A First Nations Reflection on the Columbus Day Myth
- Stuff Your Turkey with Justice: A First Nations Perspective on Thanksgiving
- First Nations Cultural Appropriation and Microaggressions
- The Power of Stereotypes to Shape Identity: Developing Awareness, Appreciation, and Understanding of First Nations People
- First Nations (Native American) Contributions to Contemporary Society
- To Intervene or Not to Intervene? Challenging Media Images of First Nations People
WILL SPEAK AT: colleges, conferences, seminars, civic organizations, teacher professional development workshops, etc. As Claudia is a full-time public school teacher, she only speaks to K-12 during school vacations or after typical school hours.
COMPENSATION & FEES * within Massachusetts**
Presentations for smaller groups may be an interactive seminar or participatory workshop. For larger groups, presentations are participatory lecture with PowerPoint. Consultation is also available upon request.
• One-hour ($1500-2500) – an interactive presentation, typically with PowerPoint and hand drumming,
frequently there is also time for Question/Answer.
* Outside of Massachusetts or more than 75 min. away from Concord, MA incurs additional travel expenses.
** Some consultations may be done in collaboration with a teaching partner, and include an additional fee.
TRAVEL: Generally, will travel anywhere in Greater Boston area. Could be flexible throughout New England and Cape Cod depending on timing. In 2004, was invited to Germany for one week to speak about Native American culture at several United States Army bases. I am willing to travel abroad with sufficient notice, depending of time of year.
Stuff Your Turkey with Justice: A First Nations Perspective on Thanksgiving
Missing or biased history, stereotypes, and distortions have perpetuated misconceptions and myths about First Nations Native Americans. How does one even begin to know what is inaccurate or even offensive? What do we actually know about Thanksgiving? We can use primary sources to answer some of these questions and begin to challenge historical inaccuracies. While grappling with the oppression surrounding these national holidays and its long-term effects, we will look at history and the Wampanoag experiences of “Thanksgiving.”
Who's Telling Our Story? A First Nations Reflection on the Columbus Day Myth
Missing information, inaccurate stories, biased history, stereotypes, and distortions have perpetuated misconceptions and myths about First Nations people. If you cannot describe the indigenous perspective of "first contact" in the Caribbean, then you may have internalized the systemic racism inherent in the United States through the images we are shown, language that we use, history we are taught, and contributions we never learn. Explore the role of "allies" and their power to be co-conspirators, intervene in microaggressions, and challenge historical inaccuracies.
First Nations Cultural Appropriation and Microaggressions
What is culture? What is cultural appropriation? How are stereotypes related to microaggressions? Explore these important questions and the skills “allies” need to develop, so that they can intervene in “mis” appropriation and microaggressions, while challenging historical stereotypes and inaccuracies.
The Power of Language to Shape Awareness, Appreciation, and Understanding of First Nations People
What does it means to be sensitive and respectful of First Nations Native Americans? What we have learned about Native Americans and what we think we know, is often inaccurate or even offensive. But how do we know? Terms such as Indian, totem pole, tribe, pioneer, and costume may seem benign, when, in fact, there is a larger context of deculturalization and cultural appropriation that needs to be acknowledged and integrated into discussions. Begin to unlearn, and then relearn, the First Nations story through a critical analysis of images, history, and words used in the English language.
To Intervene or Not to Intervene? Challenging Media Images of First Nations People
American media has been saturated with images since 1492. In the absence of positive images, the presence of stereotypical images greatly impacts our understanding of history, identity development of students, and teaching practices. What is first seen as an acceptable image, later becomes fuel for more images and associated microaggressive comments affecting identity and psychological well-being. Using Native American images as a case study, and bridging to other areas of intersectionality, this interactive workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the psychological impact of challenging (or not challenging) microaggressions from both the victim and ally perspectives. Attendees will also gain practical skills to confront stereotypes and interrupt microaggressions and become more proficient educators.
First Nations (Native American) Contributions to Contemporary Society
What did ancient First Nations Native Americans contribute to modern, contemporary society? They passed on an understanding of the land, seasons, and interconnection with animals. The roads that are today’s super highways were once seasonal paths following animal herds and trade routes to neighbors. There are more than a few things to learn about indigenous technology and inventions. What we think of as Italian (tomatoes), Irish (potatoes), and American (Lacrosse) wouldn’t have existed without skilled agriculturalists and creative athletes looking for community activities. The Aztec and Maya empires would never be referred to as “primitive.” Who were some of the leaders? Pocahontas, Sacagawea, and Squanto were not necessarily our heroes, while Maria Tallchief and Winona LaDuke are. Let’s fill in the gaps and develop a more complete history of the United States.
SELECTED CURRICULUM WORK:
- 2018: Curriculum Consultation on Dawnland (independent film) Teacher's Guide
- 2018: Curriculum Consultation K-12 The Park School (Brookline, MA)
SELECTED PREVIOUS PRESENTATIONS:
- 2017: Raytheon (Tewksbury, MA); Wheaton keynote at UWC (United World College) Retreat; Framingham State College (Framingham, MA); Emmanuel College (Boston, MA)
- 2016: Winchendon School (Winchendon, MA); UMass (Dartmouth, MA); Springfield Technical Community College (Springfield, MA); Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, MA); Wheaton College (Norton, MA)
- 2015: Roger Williams University (Bristol, CT); Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Burlington, MA): South Church (Boston, MA)
- 2014: Amherst Public Schools (Amherst, MA).
- 2013: Brandeis University (Waltham, MA); Connecticut College (New London, CT); Hanover Senior Center (Hanover, MA); GBSOCAN (Greater Boston Student of Color Achievement Network) High School Student Retreat to Develop Social Justice Leadership Skills (Brookline, MA); and AISNE (Association of Independent Schools in New England) High School Students of Color Conference.
- 2012: U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick, MA); Suffolk University (Boston, MA); Ana Maria College (Worcester, MA); Brandeis University (Waltham, MA); and University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth, MA).
- 2011: 350 Year Anniversary Celebration in Newton, MA
- 2010: Cambridge College (Cambridge, MA.)
- 2009: 25th Annual METCO (MDA) Directors' Conference; Creating Cross-Cultural Bridges in Courses on Race and Culture
- 2008: Wheaton College (Norwood, MA); Kiwanis Club (Medford, MA); and Theodore Parker Church (West Roxbury, MA) with Cheyenne Fox Tree McGrath as actor.
- 2007: Boston College, (Massachusetts); Colgate University (New York); and Bates College (Maine).
- 2006: Guest lectured for various classes (psychology, education, social work) and also spoke to student organizations at the following Massachusetts colleges and universities: The University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA); Boston University; Middlesex Community College (Bedford, MA); Framingham State College (Framingham, MA); Quinsigamond College (Worcester, MA); and Boston College (Boston, MA).
- White Privilege Symposium/New England Understanding & Challenging Privilege: One Ally at a Time (Nauset, MA)
- Thirty-Third Annual METCO Directors Conference (Randolph, MA)
- White Privilege Symposium/New England Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Mobilizing Across Boundaries (Cambridge, MA)
- First Annual Social Justice Conference; Curley School (Jamaica Plain, MA)
- Teachers College, Columbia University, New York: Winter Roundtable: 22nd Annual Roundtable on Cultural
- Psychology and Education - What You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know About Native Americans (Before Teaching About them)
- Massachusetts Dept. of Health; Boston, MA: Native American Heritage Month: Native American Cultural Implications in Mainstream Healthcare
- Boston University; Boston, MA: Howard Thurman Center: Looking at Multiracial and Multiethnic Identity of Native Americans
- Lower/Outer Community Coalition, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Health, and Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center: Mashpee, MA: Wuneeshkeeht – Good Medicine: Learning From Each Other Respect, Harmony & Healing: Turning Tables, Experiencing Cultural Incongruities.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, MA: Boston Asian Students Intercollegiate Conference (BASIC): Panel - People of United Color in Boston
- University of Massachusetts; Boston, MA Native American Student Association (NASA): Panel - Native American Women in Leadership Roles
- Boston College; Chestnut Hill, MA: Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, Third Annual Diversity Challenge (ISPRC) - presentation with Tricia O’Reilly, EMI & Claypit Elementary - Including Ethnicity in the Racial Identity Dialogue
- University of Hartford; Hartford, CT: National Association of Multicultural Educators (NAME): 8th Annual CT Conference on Multicultural Education - presentation with Elli Stern, EMI - Difficult Discussions: Teaching Identity, Power, and Privilege in The Classroom
- Teachers College, Columbia University, New York: Winter Roundtable: 20th Annual Roundtable on Cultural Psychology and Education - Turning Tables: Experiencing Cultural Incongruities
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY (Please feel free to use whatever you think is relevant in your promotional materials):
Claudia has been a public school special education teacher for almost thirty years. She has also taught anti-racism and multicultural education courses to teachers, school staff, and at the college level for over twenty-five years. To find out more about her multicultural consultancy work around social justice, see her blog: http://multiculturalinitiatives.blogspot.com/
Claudia earned a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts (Boston), majoring in Anthropology and Psychology; Elementary (gr. 1-6) and Moderate Special Education (gr. 5-12) certifications from Fitchburg State College; and a M.Ed. from Northeastern University in Educational Research, focusing on Native American identity development.
Claudia is on the board of the Massachusetts Center for Native Americans (MCNAA http://mcnaa.org/) and the Massachusetts liaison for the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP http://uctp.org/), headquartered in New York. She has been a presenter at numerous conferences and workshops at colleges and civic organizations across New England, and has also made appearances both in Germany and the Caribbean, the lands of her ancestors. She has spoken to all ages from preschool to adult. See a list of her resources at http://nativeamericanresources.blogspot.com//
Claudia is a self-taught artist who uses polymer clay (Millefiori technique) to create jewelry and accessories inspired by her Native American culture. See her business at: http://arawak-design.blogspot.com/
In January 2017, Claudia was the first speaker at the Boston’s Women’s March, spoke to over 125,000 thousand people on the Boston Common, and introduced her daughter who sang, “Amazing Grace” in Cherokee and then lead the crowd through the first verse in English.
In 2016, Claudia was the 58th woman to be featured by YM (Eliminating Racism/Empowering Women) Boston Women of Influence Series for the YWCA’s 150th year anniversary.
In 2015, Community Change, Inc. recognized Claudia with the Drylongso Award for significant anti-racism work.
In 2011, Claudia wrote a chapter, "Aren’t They All Dead? Covert Racism and Native Americans" in Covert Racism: Theories, Institutions, and Experiences, edited by Dr. Rodney D. Coates and published by Koninklijke Brill in The Netherlands.
Claudia is a multiracial/multiethnic Native American whose father is Native American (Arawak-Yurumein) and mother is German (from Mannheim-Feudenheim). Although she spent the first five years of her life in Germany and speaks German, she was born in Boston, has primarily grown up in the U.S.A., and been educated in Massachusetts, where she is active in the local Native American community.
WHO ARE THE ARAWAK?
The Arawak are an indigenous Nation who, at one time, ranged from Florida, through the Caribbean, and into the northern part of South America. We are still alive today, living everywhere in the world, and passing on the traditions, stories, and culture of our ancestors to the next generation. Our beliefs were founded upon the land of our ancestors, the Americas, with their unique climate, plants, and animals. There are many words in the English language that are Arawak in origin. These words represent inventions, foods, cooking techniques, and other contributions that are indigenous and include: barbecue, cacique, canoe, cigar, hammock, hurricane, and tobacco.
In 1492, shipboard on his third night in the Indies, Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal, “I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased.” On his 2nd voyage in 1493, Columbus arrived with 17 ships, 1,500 men, farmers, masons, foot soldiers, carpenters, ironworkers, priests, and 20 purebred mastiffs and greyhounds. He brought seeds, plants, and domestic animals like cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs that completely transformed the environment. His ships also carried chains, medallions, and branding irons. Columbus came with the intention of enslaving. He set the tone and example for later Conquistadors, one of genocide, cultural destruction, and environmental damage. The Arawak survived and continue to pass on their cultural traditions to this day.
Yurumein is the traditional name for my ancestors’ island of Saint Vincent.
WEBSITES & BLOGS:
Native American Resources – Claudia posts the information shared in her workshops and presentations, additional links to articles and video, and many lists of books. In this blog, she shares and updates resources long after the presentations are done and courses she has taught have ended. She addresses a broad range of Native American issues, with a focus on the Arawak (her nation) and Massachusetts (where she lives).
Multicultural Courses & Culturally Responsive Teaching – Claudia teaches several courses under the broad topic of "Multicultural Education," prioritizing social justice issues of access, power/privilege, and narrowing the academic achievement gap. She is a person of color and almost always has a white co-teacher. These courses include topics, such as: racism, sexism, heterosexism, growth mindset in the context of cultural proficiency, cultural appropriation, multicultural literature, transforming curriculum, closing the academic achievement gap, etc. This is a place where Claudia posts information that she teaches; lesson plans for specific activities; and resources used.
Arawak Design Jewelry – Claudia designs and crafts clay beads using the "millefiori" technique, then incorporates the beads into jewelry and accessories. Her art is available at the many local Pow Wows which she attends in Massachusetts, especially those sponsored by MCNAA.
EDCO – Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students (IDEAS), a Project of EDCO Collaborative, a program committed to achievement and success for all students via culturally proficient classrooms and schools that honor the individuality of students and families of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
MCNAA – The Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness was founded by Burne Stanley-Peters and her late husband Slow Turtle. The mission is to develop and implement programs that assist needy Native American residents with basic needs, college related expenses, and cultural and spiritual enrichment; and to increase public understanding, awareness, and appreciation of Native Americans.
UCTP – The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) was established as a Caribbean Indigenous leadership initiative or an “Inter-Tribal authority” inspired by ancient Taino and other indigenous confederacies as well as contemporary initiatives such as the National Congress of American Indians (U.S.), the Grand Council of the Crees (Canada), the Assembly of First Nations (Canada), the International Indian Treaty Council, COICA (Columbia), and CONFANIE (Ecuador) etc.
- 2016 Boston Women of Influence Series The 58th woman to be featured by YM (Eliminating Racism/Empowering Women) on the YWCA’s 150th year anniversary
- 2015 Community Change, Inc. Drylongso Award for significant anti-racism work
- 2000 EMI Outstanding Anti-Racist Educator from her School District
- Genocide Awareness March from New England Holocaust Memorial to Armenian Heritage Park
- Boston’s Women’s March January 21, 2017 – Opening Ceremony
- Spiritually Speaking Episode 8 - Native Americans: Myths and Stereotypes
- Heroes Explore the Stories of the Arawak/Taino Nation with Claudia Fox Tree
- White Eagle Speaks TV Interviewing Claudia Fox Tree on with Host Neil Chaske
- For Many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning
- Broadside: Controversy over Redskins, local teams
- The Pain Behind the Name: Bedford's Claudia Fox Tree, a member of the Arawak Nation, talks about the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins
- 2010 – Getting to the Root of It all: Teaching Root Words Across Subject Areas to Enhance Vocabulary Comprehension and Close the Achievement Gap in Target Populations by Lincoln Public Schools teachers: Claudia A. Fox Tree (Lead Facilitator, Special Education Teacher), Bill Burns (Vocabulary Program Leader, English Teacher), Elizabeth Averch (Science Teacher), Brenda Hedden (Literacy Specialist), Rosemary Heffernan (Math Teacher), Keith Johnson (Social Studies Teacher), and Alechia Torchia (Special Education Teacher)
- 2008 – I Say, You Say: Student, Parent and Educator Perceptions of Anti-Racist Teaching Strategies for Students of Color by Claudia A. Fox Tree, Lincoln Public Schools; Melanie A. Sullivan, Needham Public Schools; Michael J. Stern, Newton Public Schools; and Melissa S. Wong, Newton Public Schools.
- Fox Tree, C. A. (9/30/2016). “My First Home Was An Arranged Marriage .” Boston Globe Real Estate section.
- Fox Tree, C. A. (2012-current). Several theater reviews for Boston Events Insider.
- Fox Tree, C. A. (2009-2014). Several articles in Turtle Talk. Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA). Boston, MA.
- Fox Tree, C. A. (2011). Several poems and short writings. The Ice Cream Stand: & Other Stories & Poems by 21 writers of The Place for Words & Workshops (Volume 1). Ed. Mindy Pollack-Fusi. The Place for Words Press, Bedford, MA.
- Fox Tree, C. A. (2011). "Aren’t They All Dead? Covert Racism And Native Americans." Covert racism: Theories, institutions, and experiences. Ed. R. D. Coates. Koninklijke Brill: Leiden, The Netherlands.
- Suyemoto, K. & Fox Tree, C. (2006, June). “Building Bridges Across Differences to Meet Social Action Goals: Being and Creating Allies Among People of Color.” American journal of community psychology special issue. (vol. 37. no. 3-4). pp. 237-246.
- Fox Tree - McGrath, C. & Van Putten, Hank (Spring/Summer, 2001). "Including All Voices: The Need to Expand." The Activist. pp. 9-11.
- Fox Tree - McGrath, C. (2000). "Letter to My Children’s Teacher." Presented at The Third Annual Indigenous Women’s Conference: The Voice of Mother Earth on May 7, 2000. Long Island, New York. Published (Summer, 2000) in Turtle Talk Newsletter: A Quarterly Publication of Mass. Center for Native American Awareness. pp. 3-4.
- Fox Tree - McGrath, C. (Winter/Spring, 1998). "Multicultural Anti-Racist Perspective in Science: More than Scientists of Color." The Activist. (vol. 3.). pp. 6-7.
- Fox Tree - McGrath, C. (Spring, 1991). "Spanish Cruelties in the New World" excerpt from The Arawak Nation: A personal discovery. Prisma magazine: A multicultural forum. (vol. 2. no. 1). pp. 13, col. 1-3.