"Our story is one of the best American stories ... despite a painful past, we are still here."
When Rebecca Crooks-Stratton's daughter was in fourth grade, she came home with an assignment to pick a Native American tribe and research it to find out "where the people lived" and "the kinds of things they ate."
It was pretty clear the project had consigned Native people to the past, since there was no hint that indigenous people were not only very much alive and thriving in the community, but actually sitting in the classroom.
This fall, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community launched a multi-million dollar campaign to update the Native American narrative taught in Minnesota K-12 schools. Understand Native Minnesota builds on the work of a program called Reclaiming Native Truth. Crooks-Stratton is the campaign leader and SMSC’s Secretary/Treasurer, and she introduced the narrative change initiative in November at the 35th annual Minnesota Indian Education Association (MIEA) Conference 2019.