"There are two cultures in South Dakota, the white-northern European culture and the Oceti Sakowin culture. To only teach one, would give an incomplete picture of South Dakota/US history." - Gabriel Seeley
I had the awesome opportunity to attend the South Dakota Department of Education's 2018 Indian Education Summit over the last three days, Sept. 23-25, in Pierre, SD. Not only was I able to attend, I was able to present lesson plan ideas teaching the perspectives of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota.
Our district is doing some really good work in recognizing that we, collectively, native and non-native educators, need to be intentionally teaching all of our students, a complete view, of who they are and the history they are surrounded by.
We need to learn that Oceti Sakowin, Seven Council Fires, is the correct term to identify our indigenous people in the state of South Dakota. The Oceti Sakowin make up the populations of the nine Indian reservations we have located here in South Dakota.
1. Oglala Sioux
2. Yankton Sioux
3. Lower Brule
5. Cheyanne River
6. Crow Creek
7. Standing Rock
The indigenous people were thriving in North and South America before Columbus arrived. Since this arrival, the indigenous people have been intentionally treated in a way that would cause their culture and people to be erased from this land.
Fortunately, the government policies of removal and assimilation did not work and the indigenous people have their complex cultures that can teach many of us essential lessons about our connections with the land, our relationships with each other and how to live in peace.
I am so excited to start using my new learning I gained from the last three days to continue to erase racism, blatant and subtle, and build empathy and understanding of the tremendous fight our indigenous people have endured over the last 200+ years.
Ignorance is not an option.
Throughout this year, my goal is for all students to begin their journey to cultural proficiency with building understanding of the Oceti Sakowin and their rich history and culture, their collective fight to save their people and traditional land and how these peoples have so many valuable lessons to teach us today!
Mr. Dylan Wince
I am not a writer but I am writing.