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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 1, 2002 - Issue 62


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Indian Achievement Honored

by David Kranz Argus Leader
credits: Beads Bells and Snowflakes by Desatnick, Mike
Beads Bells and Snowflakes by Desatnick, Mike There are little moments in life that stick in a person's memory forever.

Keilani Burroughs seemed to realize that Saturday afternoon was one of those snapshots in time as she traced her finger over the lettering on a plaque she had just been handed.

Burroughs, a student at Axtell Park Middle School, was one of 36 Native American students honored for their work in schools.

"Getting this award today is knowing that what I have done is good, helps me carry on and keep on doing what I am doing," she said.

The Sioux Falls School District, United Sioux Tribes, the Multi-Cultural Center and My Sister Friends' House held a traditional wacipi, or powwow, for young people who have made major contributions in their schools.

There are 722 Native American students in the K-12 system of Sioux Falls public schools. The students were chosen by a committee of teachers and counselors for special honors.

Honoree Christopher Traversie, a Whittier Middle School student, said it was a reward for kids trying their hardest to accomplish goals.

"I had teachers helping me. I got student of the month honors," he said. "Having it now gives me some perspective for the upcoming years. It helps me focus on what I want to do."

The moment was a big deal for more than just Christopher, said his mother, Tomi Walking Stick.

"This makes the family proud. He has two younger sisters, and he is a role model for them. A lot of people move here from the reservation and face obstacles in a different way of life."

It's all about hope, said Ramona Burroughs, mother of Keilani and four other children.

"It's hope that there is more out there than drugs and alcohol. She's always been a high achiever and I appreciate this community recognizing Native American children for the attention they deserve," she said.

Sioux Falls Mayor-elect Dave Munson came to watch the presentation and powwow.

"It's a pretty neat deal to recognize them for their accomplishments. We need to become more inclusive, say 'Yes we can,' build self-confidence," Munson said.

Quadir Aware, director of the Multi-Cultural center, said this is something that will be done annually at graduation time.

"They look at leadership, community service, art, academics and athletics in deciding," Aware said.

The top winners got plaques and those graduating from eighth to ninth grade received a book bag and calculator.

The recognition is for those who demonstrate a commitment and excellence, said John Derby, director of Indian education for the school district.

"We know there are students who go to school every day and are doing great. At the end of the year we want to honor them for their hard work," Derby said.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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