A column by Indian Education Director Mato Standing High
Oct. 9 is Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota. How does one properly observe this day?
First, don’t feel limited to one day. Let Native Americans’ Day be an opening to something bigger. To quote Lakota Elder and educator, Dorothy LeBeau: “Opening yourself to another worldview will assist you in understanding what occurs both in and outside of Native communities.”
This is a day for all of us to celebrate a rich history and people who have been here since time immemorial. Native American history is everyone’s history.
Whether you are Native American or not, here are a couple questions to consider as you think about this special day:
• How much do I know about Native American culture and history in South Dakota?
• What would I like to learn about Native American culture and history in South Dakota?
Whatever your knowledge level may be, I encourage you to visit WoLakotaProject.org, where you can access a wide variety of video interviews with Native American elders from our state discussing the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, or the OSEUs, for short. The OSEUs are intended to help our state’s K-12 educators incorporate the history and culture of the people of the Oceti Sakowin (the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota people) into their teaching.
If you are unfamiliar with the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, I strongly encourage you to read them. Though they are targeted to educators, they are written in such a way that the non-educator can also benefit from them. They are currently going through the standards revision process. Both the current and proposed standards are available on the Department of Education’s Content Standards Review webpage.