MOHAVE VALLEY — Officials from the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, members of the FMIT community and others gathered Monday for an historic occasion: the ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration for the Anya Itpak Elementary School in Mohave Valley.
Anya Itpak — which translates to “sunrise” in the Mojave language — will be open for its first day of classes today.
The celebration Monday featured performances by the Fort Mojave Tribal Band, brief remarks by members of the Tribal Council and by the tribal elder who provided the name for the school.
Tours of the building were provided following the ceremony and a community dinner was served at the adjacent Macavch Hithperm Wellness Center.
“One of our goals with the Fort Mojave Culture Center and Elementary School is for our future Tribal Council to be able to conduct a meeting in our own language,” said Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams at the November groundbreaking. “This project has no state or federal funding, which allows us to control our own destiny and be truly self-sufficient with our education. What we plan on doing is not only meeting the state standards but exceeding them with the elementary school. In addition, we are planning to have a nutrition plan that revolves around fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Overall this is going to be key to ensure that we know our language, customs, traditions and values. It will also ensure that we will continue to protect our land and water.”
Construction of the school was completed in a little under a year and is the latest building in the tribe’s master plan.
According to information from the tribe’s public relations department, the new state-of-the-art school will offer a Montessori-based program for pre-K students, while the elementary school will feature a curriculum that will use the Arizona State Standards and diagnostic student assessment in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Students also will receive individual Chromebooks or iPad tablets to complement their studies.