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March calls to stop proposed social studies standards changes

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Marching from Steamboat Park to north to the capitol, protesters called for proposed education standards to be stopped. Organized by the NDN Collective, organizers said striking the standards is alike to erasing the state’s history.

“The inherent connection that we share to the land has been in the fabric of indigenous culture since time immemorial.” said NDN Collective Director of Education Equity Sarah White.

Attendees said the proposed changes are another chapter in indigenous history being altered.

“The only thing that’s happening here, with what they’re trying to do is erasing our history. And that’s important to us. That’s happened to us over, and over and over again.” said attendee Julie Garreau.

And attendees said having these standards remain in place isn’t meant to make anyone uncomfortable. But it’s important that the history of the state and it’s people be taught.

“This is by no means a way that we should feel shame, or we don’t want to put shame onto another culture, another group. But we feel that the accuracy is important, and it should be told.” said attendee Karla Abbott

White said having these standards remain in place isn’t just important for indigenous students. But for all South Dakota students, understanding the history of the people who live here today.

“But really having a shared responsibility, we’re having all of that. It’s really important. It’s a shared responsibility for all South Dakotans. All students from inclusive education. And so we want to make sure that we get that in South Dakota.”

White said another item that the NDN Collective and march attendees want changed is to move the Office of Indian Education back under the Department of Education. Rather than keep it where it is now under the Office of Tribal Relations.

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