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Celebrating Native Voices in the Mayfield Library

Those walking through Mayfield Senior School's library over the last few weeks have been treated to a vibrant literary display entitled "Celebrate Native Voices." Assistant Librarian Cheyenne Sons curated this in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
The thoughtful display covers a lot of ground. It includes Tommy Pico a poet, podcaster and writer on the TV show Reservation Dogs; Elizabeth LaPensée a game designer who intentionally includes Native American heritage in her game design; and the board hosts profiles and QR codes from everyone to musicians Redbone and Indigenous characters who appear in the Marvel universe. One of Ms. Sons' personal favorites in the display is Joy Harjo. Ms. Sons explains, "She's the first native Poet Laureate and she's from my tribe, the Muscogee Creek Tribe."

This is not the first time Ms. Sons has curated a display of this sort before. But having participated in Mayfield's SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity program), alongside Director of Library Services Ann Pibel, Ms. Sons has a special focus this time. She doesn't want to profile Native Americans in a "historical" context. On this display, "It's modern day people, it's people in different fields, in different mediums."

It's been an eventful few weeks for Ms. Sons, who recently helped lead a group of Mayfield National Honor Students on a "Hunger Walk" on behalf of South Central LAMP ministry, and Cheyenne was also overjoyed to have been a consultant on course material for Mayfield's new Ethnic Studies course, inside the American Indian unit.

What does Ms. Sons want students to learn when they engage in her current library display--when they click on a QR code or pick up a book? Ms. Sons says she wants people to understand they already "consume art and music and entertainment done by native peoples. You just don't realize that they're native!" And that awareness and acknowledgement is key.
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Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.