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For almost 40 years I have been a Native educator--31 years at Chemawa Indian High School, a professor, public school teacher and Indian ed counselor. As an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, I have spent my life and hope to continue trying to educate first our Native high school students about the incredible talents, gifts and intellectual abilities that each one posses. I have helped make connections with them about tribal histories, the power of Native literature written by NATIVE WRITERS who incorporate sense of place, tribal histories, spirituality, and a community world view that our kids relate to and enjoy. Dealing with the extensive limitations of experience that most non-Native teachers have going in to work with our students too often ends up in more forced assimilation. I miss my Chemawa students each and every day! There were six Native teachers there, and now there is only one. The other 5 of us were booted out and we don't know why, except because of our years there, our advanced degrees and our questions about the lack of understanding about how our students from 80 different tribes from 22 states
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