Indian Country 52 #34 – Native Scholars
“The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is one of the poorest areas in the United States. People who live in the community, many of whom are Lakota, face a lack of economic opportunity and grim healthcare statistics.
The otherwise neglected corner of the country is also home to the Red Cloud Indian School, an academic institution of high achievers. Over 95% of the graduating class of 2017 will attend colleges across the country, including Brown University, Creighton, the University of South Dakota, as well as the University of California. One recent graduate from the Class of 2017 was accepted to seven Ivy League schools.
Life on the reservation is immensely challenging, but there is also resilience and hope. Red Cloud Indian School, which has been providing Lakota children with a holistic, high-quality education for over 125 years, is a big source of that hope.
Chief Red Cloud petitioned the federal government to allow Jesuits, known for their skill in educating youth, to open a school on the reservation.
Today, Red Cloud has a student body of close to 600, from kindergarten through high school.
According to Tama l’atala, who helps lead Red Cloud’s Lakota Language Project, there is an immediate need to teach the language to young people. He estimates that only 3% of Lakota people are native speakers, and most are elderly.
“It seems almost every week, we are losing a native speaker,” he says.
Their program is, in part, patterned off Gaelic studies from Ireland, another language nearly lost to history.”
– Business Insider, How a high-achieving school in one of America’s poorest areas is saving the local community.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #34 – Native Scholars.
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52
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