MN needs to do better on Indian education, Mpls American Indian Center gets major renovation, and more

In this post:

  • Shakopee Mdewanaton research: Minnesota’s K-12 Indian education resources ‘hit and miss’
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center getting first renovation since it opened
  • Summer solstice event: Dakota Spirit Walk at Bruce Vento Nature Center
  • Yellowstone’s ‘Mount Doane’ now named ‘First Peoples Mountain’

Shakopee Mdewanaton research: K-12 Indian education resources in Minnesota ‘hit and miss’

Curriculum materials for Indian education in Minnesota classrooms are of “highly variable quality,” and their availability is “hit-or-miss,” according to report commissioned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

According to a news release, the report said that most “K-12 classroom teachers have very few reliable tools to help them teach Native content,” and “some truly bad material is still in use in some schools.”

Teachers and school administrators haven’t been given the training they need, the report said. They received “little or no exposure in their initial training or ongoing professional development to help them judge where to find and how to use good-quality resources to ensure that students learn Native subject matter accurately.”

The report’s recommendation’s include:

  • Involve Tribal and Native expertise in this work, changing the dynamic of who creates Native-related content from primarily non Natives to Native and Native competent.
  • Expand the ability for Native experts to share their knowledge in classroom settings, including language and cultural experts who don’t have licenses or academic degrees.
  • Create an online “Indigenous Education for All” program, a Minnesota-specific program for adults and children.
  • Create an online repository of curated teaching resources, done outside of traditional institutions, such as the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • Design high-quality professional development, both for students studying to be teachers and ongoing opportunities for current teachers.

The research was conducted through Understand Native Minnesota, the Tribe’s philanthropic campaign “to improve the narrative about Native Americans in Minnesota’s K-12 education system.”

Click here for the report.

Minneapolis American Indian Center getting first renovation since it opened

The Minneapolis American Indian Center is going to close for a couple of years for its first major renovation since it opened in 1975, MPR reports. It was “among the first urban American Indian community centers in the nation.”

“Renderings of the new building showcase a new circular entrance along Franklin Avenue intended to serve as a ceremonial gathering space,” the story said. “The new plans also move the center’s café from the interior to the building’s front along Franklin Avenue.”

The new building also will include “expanded public meeting spaces, a revamped fitness center, an expanded art gallery and floor plans emphasizing the importance of youth and elders to the center’s programs.”

Summer solstice event: Dakota Spirit Walk at Bruce Vento Nature Center

You are invited to come and celebrate the Summer Solstice (June 21) at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary where visitors can experience the Dakota Spirit Walk, an augmented reality experience (Facebook event here.)

The Dakota Spirit Walk is a permanent art installation that honors, educates and connects visitors to Dakota history, culture and significance of land through the art and storytelling. (Short video here.)

Screen grab from Dakota Spirit Walk video.

Creators of the virtual experience, Dakota Storyteller Marlena Myles and Pixel Farm and Revelo artistic director Todd Boss, will be on site during the solstice to “speak about the project, the spirits and sacred sites of the Dakota people.”

The event is free. The virtual experience takes one hour and 17 minutes.

“There will be Dakota Star Knowledge coloring books and lessons on Dakota plant knowledge, as we learn about keeping the balance between sky and earth,” the event page said.

Yellowstone’s ‘Mount Doane’ now named ‘First Peoples Mountain’

The National Park Service announced Thursday that Mount Doane in Yellowstone National Park is now named First Peoples Mountain. The action was taken as part of a broader effort to remove offensive place names from national parks.

According to the news release:

First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak within Yellowstone National Park east of Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern portion of the park. The peak was previously named after Gustavus Doane, a key member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870 prior to Yellowstone becoming America’s first national park.  

Research has shown that earlier that same year (1870), Doane led an attack, in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader, on a band of Piegan Blackfeet. During what is now known as the Marias Massacre, at least 173 American Indians were killed, including many women, elderly Tribal members and children suffering from smallpox. Doane wrote fondly about this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life.

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