Native American Heritage Month: Red Cloud Indian School Spotlight

Native American Heritage Month
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The Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) discretionary grants program, administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), provides support for increasing the English language proficiency of participating students along with the teaching and learning of Native American languages. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we are highlighting one of OELA’s 2021 NAM grantees, Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota. In this blog, discover more about the work the students are undertaking to promote and preserve their traditions and identity. 

Red Cloud Indian School, known as Maȟpíya Lúta High School in the Lakȟóta language, is a recipient of the 2021 NAM grant. The school is dedicated to fostering intellectual and spiritual growth while preserving Lakȟóta culture through encompassing language, ceremony, and visual arts. This commitment creates transformative opportunities for the Oglala Lakȟóta community.

Local news reports have brought attention to the students' efforts to incorporate their heritage into podcasts. A notable resource is the Keeping the Promise podcast (also known as Wόiwahoye Gluόtkuᶇzapi), which aims to uphold the promise of preserving the Lakȟóta language. A student expressed that by speaking the language, they are "keeping their ancestors alive." Through Wóiwahoye Gluótkuŋzapi, students share stories, engage in conversations, and explore various aspects of modern Lakȟóta life, all in their native Lakȟóta language.

The podcast serves as an easily accessible platform for students, fostering excitement within the school community to participate and contribute to the revitalization of the language. It plays a crucial role in keeping students engaged and enthusiastic about passing on the Lakȟóta language to future generations. The students encourage community members, educators, and those passionate about the Lakȟóta language to listen to the show, offer their support, and participate in the conversations conducted entirely in Lakȟóta.

The younger students at Red Cloud Elementary School (Maȟpíya Lúta Hukhúčiyela Owáyawa) are also leaving their mark. They actively use the Lakȟóta language in various classroom activities. For instance, a kindergartener discusses her monster as part of the school's monthly "Owáyawa Wópazo," which features elementary students engaging in public speaking and demonstrations, all conducted in Lakȟóta . Additionally, the 5th-grade class at Red Cloud Indian School produces a monthly newsletter filled with wonderful pictures showcasing the learning and discoveries taking place within the school.

Blog tags
NAM Grant Program
english learners
Native American English Learners