is no secret that youth are the future of any community. The people
of Rosebud understand this and continue to work hard for their
influences, racism, poverty, and unequal treatment in school all
impair the learning process for the Sicangu, Cynthia Young, director
of education for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said.
the Lakota, the language and culture take center stage to help youth
know who they are so they can take pride in their traditions and
participate in the learning process without intimidation. The tribal
education department tracks students progress and resolve
problems whether in public or tribal schools. The rewards for graduation
are monetary for students on or off the reservation. Each graduating
senior gets $100 and eighth graders receive $50.
Sicangu contract one school on the reservation at St. Francis, a
former catholic mission boarding school. The others are public schools
with a majority of Lakota students and mostly non-Indian teachers
age and elder tribal members have a mixed reaction to their past
education experiences at St. Francis. The Lakota language was outlawed
and the intent was to force assimilation of the culture into the
was 16-years-old when I went to St. Francis Mission. All my peers
ridiculed me because I spoke my language. I barely spoke English,"
said Albert White Hat, language and cultural instructor at Sinte
were ridiculed for being Indian, and these were all Indian kids.
Many years later I found out they had been in that institution since
they were 5, so by the time they were 12 years old they had already
been conditioned to deny their Indianness and ridicule it."
education and Lakota language classes become core curriculum courses
at Sinte Gleska University, the tribal university. Many of the students
have little grasp of the language and know little of the culture.
has become more of an issue with a reservation that has 51 - 52
percent of the population under the age of 21 and growing. This
is creating a burden on the K - 12 schools. And at the same time,
Young said, when funding is essential the Bush administration is
cutting funds to Indian education.
especially difficult situation is the drop out and truancy rates
at the K - 12 level, which is improving. Many parents with a less-than-positive
attitude toward education are not strongly involved with their childrens
education. Poverty and cultural beliefs also lead to reduced attendance
are few family advocates and parent support. People lack money and
dont have the things others do, they cant buy designer
tennis shoes so they are embarrassed to attend school," Young
tribe awards each child $100 for clothing at the beginning of the
school year. That amount doesnt go far when the designer tennis
shoes cost at least that much.
the future on the Rosebud is brightening. Education forums are under
way to bring parents and students together to listen and offer concerns
and discover solutions.
parent involvement in the schools is growing, Young said. It does
go back to economics. Some parents who are not involved use most
of their energy to just take care of themselves, its an issue
of survival. The forums deal with those issues and others, such
as curfew, gangs, teachers and administrators that may be taking
parents want the kids educated. And if the No Child Left Behind
Act was interpreted right it would help," Young said.
for more family advocates is necessary for the Rosebud education
program. The tribe does fund the program, but it also has other
programs under its control that need attention and the tribal coffers
are not exactly overflowing. Rosebud Casino net revenues go to the
tribe, but it is not enough.
education departments goal is to hire more family advocates
and also to put counselors in each school. Another problem; qualified
and certified teachers are hard to find in remote areas of South
Dakota, especially on the reservations. The teachers must know both
worlds, Young said.
proposal is to turn part of the St. Francis School into a demonstration
school, or alternative school, where science and math are taught
using the environment, its called outdoor math and science.
The language and culture would also be core elements of the curriculum.
Native American Rights Fund is funding the development of an education
code updating, yet enforcement is the key, Young said. "If
it is enforced it will make all educators accountable."
thinking for troubled youth
new facility called the Rosebud Wellness and Renewal Center will
provide safe housing and education for youth who are adjudicated
to detention. The facility, according to Patricia Broken Leg Brill,
facility administrator, is not to be thought of as a detention center.
philosophy of the organization is to partner with health education,
alcohol treatment, academics and culture.
of the facility will be for "day report" where youth will
attend during the day and spend their nights at home or in another
facility. Another part is for incarceration, but those youth will
also be treated to education and rehabilitation.
the youth do in the facility is only part of the equation. What
happened before and what will happen after the person is released
is important in the step to after-care and will set the stage for
rehabilitation, Broken Leg Brill said.
will provide all components, through a cultural approach. We will
use the environment surrounding them and program along the cultural
aspect of the rehabilitation will be an equine therapy program.
Horses were important to the Lakota people and this fits into the
cultural development. Environmental issues through landscaping and
learning about nature and trees will teach care and responsibility
and additional skills to the youth.
cant just house them and let them go, after-care is important.
If we dont follow up and provide good decision-making skills
they will be back," Broken Leg Brill said.
want to reconnect families, provide for a good extended family.
This will set the stage for teaching kinship," she said
process for the rethinking of youth detention came about because
of a high rate of crime and violence on the reservation. Many people
on the reservation knew that past policies of detention were not
working so they decided to build their own facility with a new philosophy.
thought was how to take the cultural ways and weave them into modern
thinking and take care of our own. It was a challenge to bring the
old ways into new thinking. We had the elders, law enforcement and
other key people on the committee," Broken Leg Brill said.
symbols of the Lakota are visible throughout the facility; there
is a spiritual room in the middle where ceremonies with spiritual
leaders will be held.
four directions and four colors are in circular areas, they will
always keep us in constant thought of Lakota culture," she
facility can accommodate 87 youth and contracts will be made between
other tribes and the state. Twenty staff members who are trained
by the Indian Police Academy in Artesian, N.M. will supervise the
youth. One plan is to also train staff at Rosebud to reduce the
is a state-of-the-art facility, it is heated with a geothermal system
and has its own waste water treatment plant. It is not the average
facility, Broken Leg Brill said.
cost was $8.9 million, of which the tribe contributed 10 percent
and a Department of Justice Grant contributed 90 percent.
October 2003 the BIA office of Law Enforcement named the Rosebud
center a model facility.
is room for 40 day-report youth that will be educated by the St.
Francis Tribal School and be brought in daily by their families.
Also, 36 males and females will be housed in the facility. They
will eventually be filtered through the day-report facility. There
are also 11 cells for other youth.
percent of the building is designated for cultural, education, spiritual
and counseling with eight classrooms, a library, an arts and crafts
space and a computer room. An indoor gymnasium is also provided.
was also given to the colors of the interior; therapeutic greens,
purples and light lavenders.
on the reservation were involved in the design, and development
of the philosophy.
wanted to get rid of the stereotype of what jails were like. We
will stick to our plan of rehabilitation and the connected family
to help provide a secure environment," Broken Leg Brill said.