Meet a Mustang: Goze Families
During the month of November, we are introducing you to Native American families who are part of the Breck community. You can learn more about Indigeneity during our weekly updates throughout the month of November, which is Native American Heritage Month. This week’s spotlight is on the Goze families.
The Goze Families
Haho! Hinįkaragi wina. (Hello! We greet you.) Pinagigi (thank you) for the opportunity to share our culture with you all and for including not one, but two Breck Goze families. We look forward to inviting you on a journey to our corner of the world and getting to know us and having a glimpse of our heritage. There are two Goze students at Breck! We are Tony, Rosario, Alana (Hiinu), Amia (Wiiha), and Anthony (Santi Boy-Kuunu) Goze. And Ahney, Sasha, and Sequoia (Hiinu) Goze. We are from the Twin Cities and continue to create our homes in the Eagan-Apple Valley-Rosemount school district. For us every day is Indigenous People’s Day and every month is Native American Heritage Month, but to have it be highlighted at Breck is an honor. We hope that you all take the opportunity to learn more about the history of our nation’s first people and the things we face as Indigenous people today.
How many years have you been at Breck and what is your current grade level(s)?
Rasra Sequoia ga hįgairena. Hiinu ga hįgaire na. Sequoia is what I am called. Hiinu (1st born daughter) is my name. I am Ojibwe while also being raised in Ho-Chunk culture, I am Bear Clan. Sequoia has attended Breck for 3 years and currently is in 6th grade.
Rasra Amia ga hįgairena. Wiiha ga hįgaire na. Amia is what I am called. Wiiha (Second born daughter) is my name. My tribe is Ho-Chunk Nation, I am Bear Clan. Amia is enjoying her first year as a new Breck family while in 2nd grade.
Share with us any activities that you may be involved in at Breck.
- Amia looks forward to the day that she can participate in Chess Club or Robotics.
- Sequoia enjoys 6th grade and the Native affinity group.
- Rosario is involved in the Parent’s Association D&I group, and and more recently exploring Book Club.
- Both families are involved in Native Family dinners at Breck.
Questions for Native American Heritage Month:
Why are you proud to be Native?
We are proud to say we are still here recognized as contemporary Indigenous people still practicing age old traditions in modern day. We are proud of the distinctive beauty of our culture that is seen and heard in music we listen and dance to, the beautiful regalia we wear, our arts and crafts, and our ceremonies. Our beliefs are some that are highly respected and we are proud of this.
What is one way you and your family connect with your Native American heritage?
We are born with the strength and wisdom of our ancestors; our long hair symbolizes this wisdom that we continually carry with us. We only cut our hair when grieving the loss of a loved one. #BoysWithBraids is a hashtag that was born to bring awareness to Indigenous boys who choose to honor their culture and wear their hair long.
Questions about Breck:
From a student perspective, what is it about Breck that you enjoy most?
Sequoia believes it is easy to make friends at Breck and enjoys creating new relationships that reflect her culture. Learning to be kind is a really big deal and she wishes to instill the kindness of her culture in all students at Breck. Sequoia is also proud to pave the way for other Indigenous students at Breck. She has opinions of what she really enjoys and things that have room for improvement. She really appreciates that Breck listens to these things. She hopes for a wider selection of library books that include Indigenous culture. She really enjoyed reading “The Birchbark House” by Louise Erdich and looks forward to more books like that include real Native American history throughout Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.
Amia, like a typical 2nd grader, has a ton of energy and has the need to move, thus making gym her most favorite thing about Breck so far. She has recently discovered an athletic ability she didn’t know existed and enjoys the challenges that come along with her new discovery. Aside from gym class, she enjoys building new friendships, as well as her relationship with her teacher, and getting to know other Breck teachers too. Amia also enjoys lunch because she enjoys the social aspect. She has the gift of gab and enjoys cookies, so watch out so she doesn’t eat too many!
What do you hope others will understand about what it means to be Indigenous?
Being Indigenous means that we live every day with good intentions, we strive to continue to learn about our culture that was lost, and to practice the healthy ways of our nation’s first people.
From a parent perspective, what set Breck apart when choosing an education for your child?
Collectively, we wanted to ensure a high-quality learning experience for our sacred children. We have a high regard for education and want the school experience to be in line with our heritage. Breck is a school that nurtures that whole student, this is something that is visibly noticeable when interacting with the students of Breck.
What is a meaningful experience you have had at Breck?
Because of Breck’s strategic intentions of being inclusive of all Native people we have had countless meaningful experiences and we are at the very beginning of our education journey here. Teachers take the opportunity to learn about our culture and interweave it into the classrooms and into curriculum. During Chapel students also learn about Indigeneity, and our students have an opportunity to share who they are. Many teachers have dedicated many years to creating a space for Native families at Breck and for this we are grateful.
On Wednesday morning, Upper School students listened to Ugandan climate justice advocate Evelyn Acham.
MS science students collaborated on a climate change research project earlier this year. Their teacher, Ms. Alexander, created a scenario for her students that opened up opportunities for deep conversations about climate justice and helped them understand the complicated nature of negotiating resolutions while also internalizing the need for immediate action to mitigate its impact.
This year, the Breck Math League Team took second in Class 1A at the 2021 Minnesota State High School Mathematics League State Tournament. In a year of virtual practices, meets, and tournaments that literally crossed the International Date Line, the team stuck together and retained their second-place standing for a second year.