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WASHINGTON - Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk today celebrated the opening of the new educational facilities at Rough Rock Community School, noting the high-tech, culturally sensitive buildings and classrooms will better serve students and teachers on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona. Following his participation in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the official opening of the Rough Rock Community School's new replacement school facilities, Echo Hawk spoke to attendees about the significance of the occasion.
K-12 school serves approximately 440 day and residential students
"Two years ago, I was here to help break ground on the Rough Rock Community School replacement project, and today I am gratified at the results," Echo Hawk said.
"Rough Rock students, teachers and staff can now work in greener, spacious, more culturally sensitive and more technologically connected learning and living environments thanks to the American Reinvestment and Restoration Act."
The American Reinvestment and Restoration Act are commonly known as economic stimulus dollars that were created by the Obama administration.
Echo Hawk was accompanied at the opening by Indian Affairs Office of Facilities, Environmental and Cultural Resources Director Jack Rever; Office of Facilities Management and Construction Deputy Director Emerson Eskeets; and Bureau of Indian Education Navajo Education Line Officer Gloria Hale Showalter.
This is the Assistant Secretary's second visit to the school. In September 2009, he participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the project (the Phase I portion had begun at the start of his administration just three months earlier).
Today's event follows one held August 9 to open replacement facilities at the Pueblo Pintado Community School, a Bureau of Indian Education operated off-reservation K-8 boarding school in New Mexico located west of the town of Cuba. Both schools are within the Bureau of Indian Education school system. The replacement projects were undertaken by the Indian Affairs Office of Facilities Management and Construction with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Opened in July 1966 as the Rough Rock Demonstration School, the Rough Rock Community School, which is situated on adjoining campuses located 35 miles northwest of the town of Chinle, was the first Bureau of Indian Affairs school to be directly operated by American Indians themselves, as well as being the first Navajo-operated BIA school. The K-12 school, which currently serves approximately 440 day and residential students, is still a part of the Bureau school system, which is now administered by the Bureau of Indian Education.
posted August 16, 2011 6:40 am edt
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