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Our View: Native American Week, a time to celebrate, reflect

 

September 24, 2013



Native American Week is being celebrated this week, and activities are planned throughout the area.

Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is planning a host of activities, some light-hearted and fun, others serious and meaningful.

Most schools in Indian Country are working on projects for students to take part in.

It is heartening to see Havre schools planning programs to educate students — most of them non-Native — about the people who lived in Montana thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Native Americans have done a great job of preserving what they could of their ancient culture. Native homesteads have been ripped away from Indians, but stories of traditions have remained.

The younger generation of Natives seem to be very aware of the need to preserve their culture, note the resurgence of Cree at Rocky Boy.

It is vital that Native youth learn about their rich culture, but it is equally important for the mainstream population to learn the background of Native Americans who make up nearly one-quarter of Hill County’s population.

The Montana Constitution requires schools to offer lessons in Indian education, but the law was largely ignored for many years.

Legislation has passed, and programs in Native culture are now encouraged.

Better education can only help erase some of the misunderstanding and outright bigotry that is prevalent in some white people.

Lots of activities are planned for the coming week, on and off the reservations. It will be worth your while to stop in, enjoy yourself and learn some valuable lessons about rich Native culture.

 

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