Yippee! A thread that I can be helpful in! Ahem... to the questions!
Regarding Indian Territory, aka Oklahoma, where I am from!
We have two major tribes (though I know there are more) based in Oklahoma, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Cherokee Nation. Muscogee is pronounced just like the city Muskogee, that being muh-skoe-geee. I mention this because I have heard it butchered many different ways. This tribe is based out of Okmulgee County, I believe, and actually encompasses about 7-8 other counties as well, though I can't remember them all to name. They are a very modern tribe that provides many benefits to its members, such as free health care, WIC programs(basically a government program that assists underprivileged pregnant mothers provide food for their growing babies in their tummy and up to a couple months after birth I believe), commodities(sp?) (this is food that is provided for those that are less fortunant within the tribe - the cheese makes excellent nachos!) and also schooling grants.
The Cherokee Nation is based out of Tahlequah, Oklahoma which is also well known for Northeastern State University which was the very first college established in the state. This tribe provides much of the same assistance as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Each tribe also has their own Police, the Creek Nation Light Horse and the Cherokee Marshal Service. They use these agencies to patrol the counties that encompass their territory and also back up local law enforcement when needed.
*giggles uncontrollably* Well, being in Oklahoma I hear all of these words used quite often. "Howdy" isn't heard so much unless it's from someone older or a younger person trying to be sarcastically funny. 'Y'all' is used on a regular basis here, though the English teachers aren't to happy about it. The same with 'ain't' which you seem to have forgotten.In your opinion, do you believe that using "Howdy" and "y'all" and "fixin-to"(one word, verb) and "jeet?"(did you eat?) and "Bubba"(I do know kids named that) and "supper" (dinner), are corny and overused by Texans? What about cowboy hats and boots? What about constant Mexican food and Whataburger(Best fast food ever)? Rodeos? Would they make my characters too stereotypical Texan, or more realistic?
Bubba and Sissy, well - truthfully that's what I call my brother and sister though it isn't their real names. Sissy is also what my husband calls his sister (though with a name like Willeen I think I would prefer it ) and she calls him Bubba... so that tends to get a little confusing. To take my hickish backwoods tendencies even further, I call my brother-in-law(my sister's husband) bubba-in-law... you've got to say it really fast and run the words together!
Rodeos are over-rated, and that's coming from someone who went to them quite frequently when I was little, though the Prison Rodeo in McAlester is an awesome spectacle!
Constant Mexican food isn't really something I'm aware of people doing around here, but then again I'm a little further North than Texas. A normal down-home breakfast might consist of biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, fried or scrambled eggs, and orange juice or milk... at least that's what my mom always cooked, on occasion we got flapjacks. Lunch would probably be something light, like a sandwich or a burger and supper consisted for such things as roast surrounded by potatoes and carrots, smothered steak, chicken and rice, country fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of corn or green beans, and so many more that I can't even name right now because I'm making myself hungrier by the minute.
I think that some of these mannerisms can be used to enhance a character that was raised in the area, however if you're wanting to convert Harry and Ron into calf roping, bronc busting buckaroos, you might think twice about it.
Now all that being said, let me get down to OliveOil's questions.
For one thing, the Native Americans didn't leave behind huge castles for us to use for magic schools. What could be used instead: a plantation, a ghost town, entire neighborhoods, their own Hawaiian island?
I've thought on this one quite a bit, and we do have old forts that were used in colonial times, some are still standing around the country that would be a wonderful backdrop for a school. Also, what about a mansion like in X-Men that is hidden away in the Rocky's or the Catskills... that would be acceptable.
What subject would be taught in American schools that wouldn't be taught in British schools? Maybe classes in Native American shamanism or folk magic? Classes that focus on people's different hertitages?
I tend to think that shamanism, or Native American magic, was something that was very guarded in the past, and possibly still is today. Also the fact that most of these stories are passed down orally in the tribes own language could have made it difficult for the colonists to decipher what exactly it was.
I think you also have to take into account that America is a melting pot of many other different nations, not only New York City but other areas as well. You would have magic that has been brought over from Africa via the slave trade as well as willing immigrants from various other countries.
Over time I'm sure that most of these magics have mixed to form their own unique blend that, much like our accents, would vary from area to area. I doubt that you would be likely to find the same type of magical influences in New York City versus what you would find here in Oklahoma.
What would the school structure be like? Would their be houses, or just dorms? What would the teacher be like? How old are students when they start school? Are they eleven, like in Britain, or do they wait until their older.
I do know of some private schools that have dorms where students stay overnight, though I'm not sure if they are split into separate houses or not. You might reference CoTH by Snapes_secret, which is an awesome read by the way, which I think gives a very realistic view on what a magic school might be like here in the states - however brief that view is before... well, you'll just have to read the story won't you!
Some larger cities have several different schools within the same school district. I'm going to use Tulsa for an example, just because I know more about that area than Oklahoma City. I know that the Union school district is split up into about four different schools. If I'm not mistaken, and it's completely possible that I am seeing as I didn't go there - my cousin did(that's why I know more about it than OKC), the Kindergarten through Fourth grade is Elementary, Fifth through Eighth is Junior High, Ninth and Tenth (also known as the Frosh and Sophmores) are Intermediate, and Eleventh and Twelfth (known as Juniors and Seniors) are the big bad High Schoolers. I know that each of these schools are spread out away from each other within the same area.
Now in smaller cities, it's not split up so much. The school that I went to had Elementary as Pre-school/Kindergarten - Fifth grade, Middle School was Sixth through Eigth, and High School was Ninth through Twelfth. Also the buildings are all in the same complex, though spread out from each other. For example the Elementary school is down the hill from the Middle School and High School which sit together atop the hill. Those two buildings are actually connected by a corridor and also by the Library.
As far as subjects go, I remember studying Oklahoma History, American History, World History, Social Studies, Geography, Biology, Speech, Typing, English I - IV, and various math classes.
And that was my two Galleons!