National Native education advocates coming to Crazy Horse
More than 1,200 delegates and guests attending the 44th annual National Indian Education Association conference at Rapid City will spend a special cultural night at Crazy Horse Memorial on Friday, Nov. 1.
The event will be the largest gathering of Native Americans at Crazy Horse this year, Memorial CEO Ruth Ziolkowski said.
“We are pleased and proud that the NIEA and the local conference planning group included Crazy Horse,” she said. “Our mission from the beginning has stressed education and preserving the culture of Native Americans. We have a lot of shared goals with these groups and we are pleased at the opportunity to host them.”
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit NIEA advocates for educational opportunities for Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Hawaiian natives throughout the U.S. Founded in 1970, the organization also assists in educational studies to improve programs and help Native students preserve their cultures, succeed academically and bring prosperity to their communities.
The Oglala Lakota Nation Education Coalition is coordinating the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 conference events based at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in downtown Rapid City. The local group is comprised of Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservation school administrators and board members who meet year-round to discuss shared educational concerns.
“It has been said that education is the new buffalo. With this metaphor in mind, as a fellow American Indian educator and administrator … I am encouraged to know that the National Indian Education Association remains strong and continues to help our young people learn to hunt,” said Dr. Jason Murray, a Chickasaw from Oklahoma who is director of the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse.
“We look forward to cultural night and to building a strong working relationship with NIEA in the future. This visit will serve as the beginning of that relationship.”
The Coalition worked closely with Crazy Horse Memorial leaders to plan cultural night activities, which will include student group and individual presentations of dancing, singing, storytelling and poetry, among others. There also will be a play about the life of Crazy Horse the man.
Spiritual leader and cultural historian Wilmer Mesteth of Oglala Lakota College will share stories and songs about the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, and Victor Douville of Sinte Gleske University will discuss some Black Hills sites considered sacred by the Lakota and other Plains people.
The delegates will be offered a buffalo feed sponsored by schools at American Horse, Little Wound, Porcupine, Rapid City, St. Francis, Todd County, Wounded Knee, the Isna Wica Owayawa, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Education Department, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the Winnebago Tribe, the Oceti Sakowin Education Consortium, Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Oglala Lakota College, Sinte Gleska University and Crazy Horse Memorial.
Roundtrip transportation for the delegates will be provided by the Rapid City Area Schools, Oglala Lakota Nation Education Coalition schools and other organizations.