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Endazhi- Nitaawiging: The Place Where it Grows

Culture-based curriculum guides education at Red Lake's new charter school.

… We are the dreams of our ancestors and the nightmare of colonization… It’s not going to be an either or. You're not going to have culture and language over here and academics over there, but you're going to center [education] in our identity…That culture and language - you're going to contextualize it in academic learning. – Anpoa Duta Flying Earth, DACA Inspired Schools Network

One year from now children living on the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota will have another option for education-one tailored just for them. The Endazhi-Nitaawiging charter school will offer a unique an innovative curriculum based in Ojibwe culture. It’s a model guided by the NACA Inspired Education Network that has proven effective in creating meaningful education that feeds both the mind and spirit of indigenous youth.

Monday morning a feast was shared, prayers were sent up, and elders, dignitaries, and school organizers spoke. Tobacco was offered and there was drumming, singing, and dancing. Incorporating native wisdom and culture into all aspects of school curriculum has been a long time dream of many indigenous people.

My grandma always said that the institution of education wasn't something that was new to our people. We've always had ways, systems of proliferating knowledge, skills, and understanding. We, by nature, are genius as Indigenous people. It’s evident in our humor, evident in our ceremonies, in our language, our songs. But the institution of school is relatively new. The four walls of a school building with a teacher standing in front is relatively new… We've been attempting molding, putting our hands on education in schools for a long time. Some of us became teachers. Some of us became principals and school leaders. We started to obtain some of those certifications, and now we're in a time where school is no longer done to us, but by us. - Anpoa Duta Flying Earth, DACA Inspired Schools Network

I dream hard of this is… where our children will have that Eagle feather in one hand, representing their core identity and that PhD in the other hand…screaming up to the Creator…what a beautiful life. – Nate Taylor, Red Lake Endashi-Nitaawiging Charter School

Learn about this important education initiative by clicking the green bubble above!

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. She returned for a second stint in 2016-23. She produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota.