I drove up to the Hintil Kuu Ca childhood development center this morning (yesterday morning, technically). It’s name means “Indian children’s house,” according to this fascinating article about the center published in 1986 in Cultural Survival Quarterly.
Hintil opened in 1973; it was started by mothers whose kids — recently relocated from reservations as part of a federal government integration program — were struggling socially and academically in Oakland schools. In the late 70s or early 80s, it moved to its current location in the Oakland hills, near Merritt College and behind Carl Munck Elementary.
But Hintil is on the list of seven childhood development centers the Oakland school district plans to close at the end of the month in response to the governor’s proposed budget cuts. District spokesman Troy Flint said staff wanted to keep open centers that were more centrally located. About 90 children attend the preschool or the before- and after-school program at Hintil.
Shirley Guevara, who has taught at Hintil since 1984, says parents, teachers and Native American community members are trying to find a way to keep it open, possibly as a parent cooperative. She said it’s one of the last resources available for young American Indian children. About 175 are enrolled in the Oakland school district.
“I don’t understand how the school district can say, `We’re closing the doors on you,’” Guevar said.
Look for a story about the center in the Trib (run date TBD).