NDN Collective hosts backpack giveaway, opens pre-registration for indigenous-led school

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The NDN Collective is hosting a backpack giveaway for a second year while opening pre-registration for an indigenous-led school.

The giveaway was open to students from pre-k through high school seniors. Last year’s inaugural event provided 150 backpacks. They doubled it this time around with 300 backpacks distributed to indigenous students.

“In the Lakota culture, we believe our children are sacred and in this way we get to honor that in them and be able to give to them particularly and make sure they have everything they need to get started in the school year,” said Amy Sazue, NDN Collectives Education Equity Organizer.

There was also pre-registration for the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy, which is expected to open in the fall of 2022. Registration is for students who will be entering kindergarten next fall with space limited to 40 students with two classes of 20.

The focus of the curriculum will be to incorporate native language and culture into every academic discipline.

“There are many positive outcomes that this will lead to; a strong sense of identity,” said Mary Bowman, NACA Inspired Schools Fellow. “Cultural identity, a strong sense of belonging, motivation and engagement in lessons. Cause when students know who they are and where they come from they get a real strong sense of where they’re going in life.”

Oyate Health Center also provided free COVID-19 vaccines for students ages 12 through 17 who were accompanied by a parent. And thanks to Rural American Initiatives, every student with a valid vaccination card also received a $30 Visa gift card.

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