Celebrating student successThe Cloquet American Indian Education was celebrating student success the week of May 21-25, and both Washington and Churchill elementary schools held their annual powwow.
By: Tara Graves, Pine Journal
The Cloquet American Indian Education was celebrating student success the week of May 21-25, and both Washington and Churchill elementary schools held their annual powwow. These powwows offer our program a unique opportunity to celebrate our culture and share it with all staff and students. It allows our students to showcase their regalia, singing and dancing abilities. We spend a lot of time trying to instill confidence in our students and seeing their pride on display during the powwow is a great way for us to end the year.
We honored our fifth-grade students with an honor dance to celebrate their achievements and accomplishments and send them well wishes on their next journey to middle school.
At Washington, following the Grand Entry was an acknowledgement and honor song for Washington Principal Randy Thudin and Kristine Harms, the American Indian Education AmeriCorps tutor, who are both leaving this year. They walked the circle with the lead dancers while the honor song played, and teachers, students and staff met them near the end of the song with hugs and handshakes. Students presented them with gifts. It was the highlight of the event.
On Wednesday, May 23, both elementary schools were thrilled and excited to have Larry Yazzie and Native Pride Dancers perform for them. Yazzie is a two-time World Champion Fancy Dancer and member of The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa/Meskwaki. Yazzie is the founder and artistic director for Native Pride Arts. His repertoire includes performances at the Olympics, the Kennedy Center, and the Smithsonian Institute. He has performed all over the world and won many awards for his dancing. As an international lecturer, dancer and educator, he has earned the reputation for being one of the nation’s leading experts on Native American dance. This program was sponsored and funded by the Cloquet Educational Foundation and the Cloquet American Indian Education Program.
Our American Indian Senior Honor Banquet was held May 23 at Cloquet High School and consisted of a warm welcome and prayer from Skip Sandman, Oshkii Giizhik Singers, and special guest, Native Pride Dancers. It was a very memorable evening that was shared with family, friends, teachers, administration and community members.
Thank you all for being a part of this joyous and proud celebration – and congratulations seniors!
Tara Graves is the director of the American Indian Education Department for Cloquet Public Schools.