From Bead Work to Bdote: Teachers Reflect on Cultural Seminar

April 16, 2014

Six Pre-AP English 10 teachers also joined in the experience.

According to Ms. Jackie Roehl, the teachers have already attended this cultural seminar. “I actually did this camp myself a couple years ago. Ms. Benson, Ms. Barniskis, and I came down here for a teacher camp with Glenn, Gwen, and Julie,” explained Roehl.

I think it’s a way to bring all of these connections to life”

— Rachel Hatten

Like the students, the teachers also learned new things. For example, Roehl learned more about beavers, most notably the difference between weak pond beavers and strong river beavers. “I think it’s a way to bring all of these connections to life to see how language is tied to land is tied to the place is tied to history and nature,” explained Rachel Hatten.

Students were divided into small groups, each with two teachers actively participating in the activities. For example, Ms. Elizabeth Barniskis completed a beading project for her son, a baseball. Also, Roehl shared her poem about nature with her group, complete with Dakota words.

Even though teacher participation in the activities wasn’t required, it helped connect the students to their advisors. “I think that having a time just for students and adults of different ages to be together was invaluable… I was a student learning Dakota language along with my students and the seniors,” said Hatten.

“I think what stood out for me are things beyond English because that’s what I’m immersed in all day, and I really wish school could be like this… I think that education is just messed up, and if you want to have a lasting change [with students] we need more emotion and meaning,” said Roehl.

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