Today, I asked my students a simple question. “What is like to be a Native in 2011?” Their responses are both thoughtful and interesting.
“Being native makes me feel no different from any other race because I don’t even speak my own language.I am a catholic person that has the color of red skin.” -TP
“Today 2011 is not like my grandparents generation because today there is a lot of gang activity. A lot of people don’t really go to pow wows or sun dances like my grandparents used to long time ago or some people don’t even think about there own lakota heritage.” -JBL
“Well the first thing is the Lakota ways. By Lakota ways I mean there hardly any one that can under stand Lakota language. The other thing some people may or may not do is speak Lakota language.” -RBS
“I think many things have changed since our parents or grandparents were our age. for instance it seems as though my generation has been growing farther and farther apart from our culture. instead of going out and hunting buffalo we wait until the 10th of every mouth to get e.b.t. With every electronic device made, the more our culture begins to fade. i don’t know one person other then my elders that can speak our native language fluently.” – AM
“Just because you come from a certain family doesn’t mean you share ALL the traits and mind set they have, you could Completely disagree with everything that they think and believe. Being native Shouldn’t affect anything in my life or what people think of me. my Parents, my grandparents had there identity taken from them back then being native was a bad thing and were afraid to speak there own language outside there own home. Today it’s something to be proud of but SHOULD NOT affect ones life because they have no control over who there family is.” -TM
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My students have been learning about static and dynamic characters in fictional texts. However, these characters exist in our everyday lives. Here are some examples of these characters.
“I guess a static character in my life would be my older brother. No matter what happens he always manages to stay calm and not lose focus of what ever flows through that gothic person’s mind. I mean sure he might have changed his color of hair, but, his inner self is still the same. He never changes the way he acts or his personality, or what ever it is, hes still the same. He is my role model in life” -CWL
“static character, I think that my sister is like that. She never changes. She’s always nice, kind, smart, and absolutely funny! I love her and shes very encouraging! She’s like that at home and when shes around her friends or anywhere else. A perfect sister to me.” -GFH
“think a lot of us are dynamic characters because we’ve all changed since grade school and middle school. We dress more better. We have way different attitudes than we did in grade school. We have more friends and people who dislike us. We learn more about many different things. We can do things that we couldn’t before like read, write, teach. And so i think that’s why we’re all dynamic character’s.” -HBC
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Today, I am going to showcase some of my students’ responses to the question, “What do you want to do after high school?” These young men and women have goals. They are Students With A Goal, or S.W.A.G.
“I want to be a CEO of a big company either it’s a phone company, Gas Station, or A music company I would do all of them if I can because at least with a high school diaplomia and have someone with a college do the big stuff and with us two I would put the my people(Natives) to the top and put South Dakota on the map. ( I just say South Dakota because thats apart of me just like this rez I just can’t turn my back on it.” -LC
“Well in three years i want to joint the air force or the national guard because i want to become something more than myself but that is what would want to do but I’m scared that my mom would be scared for me” -MWH
“What i really want to do is become a Nurse i think that would be fun because i like to take care of people. It would also be fun because i would like to take care of sick people because i like to be helpful. If i would get the chance to become a basketball player then that would be awesome but i doubt that will ever happen. I would like to become a professional basketball player because i like to play basketball a lot, and people tell me all the time that i should be in basketball every chance i get but i never listen to them.” -FW
“i want to play basketball in college i know that i have to work hard to try and get a scholar ship keep my grades up and work on getting better at ball and i want to throw it down on someone before i leave high school.” -SS
“I think I want to go to college, but not right away. I will go right away, but it depends on how much money I have to pay for the college. So what I want to do is work. I am going to work at Rosebud Log Homes. Its a pretty good jog to get payed on, but I could probably get payed more in this job if I get a degree for it.” -GRK
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I asked the students today to set the record straight. Every time I talk to someone off the reservation they have this absurd idea what a reservation truly is. Here are some of their posts:
“First of all there are many stereotypes about the Rosebud Reservation. Although the one that stands out the most is that Natives are drunks. With that being said, this is wrong. My reasoning for this is because I know some Natives who do walk on a good path and are successful. In my opinion I think the people who do drink are weak in their thought and they just need to find strength and think more stronger about the way they see things. If they found strength maybe they wouldn’t do the things they do. In conclusion, Natives are not drunks. There are Natives who are trying to be sober and make life better for themselves.”
“I hear people on xbox live ask each other if we still live in tipi’s and if we ride horses every and still hunt buffalo. They ask if we have cars yet. The ones that aren’t so ignorant ask if we live in trashy houses and live on welfare. They are racist and dumb. i can’t stand those kind of people. many times i hear them make smart remarks that i don’t want to repeat or think of. It’s just dumb how people can be so ignorant.”
“People in the cities makes up lies about us like we are poor and can’t afford clothes and other things like that. They also think we just live on welfare money. We don’t because my mother has a job that took her off of welfare, so now she don’t get paid without taking some out her tax. So not all the rumors are true because i even thought we lived on welfare but there are like a lot of people who don’t live on welfare because they have jobs.”
“Every body says that the reservation is just a hard place to live but I don’t think so. I’m from the reservation. But I have been living here for all my life. And I like it down here because it is quite and nothing really goes on around here. But the cities are not cool because when you go around the wrong place you get shot or robbed. Then you get killed for wearing the wrong color. down here no one does that around here.”
“Some people say that Native American’s still live in tipis and that is not true. They think that Native Americans are nothing but drunks, Well some are but they work for they’re money. A lot of people talk about how poor some Natives are but, there is a lot of poor white people in the cities. The people that have something to say about Native Americans should go to a reservation and then they will find out way more before they start judging and talking smack.”
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My name is Luke Baldwin, and I teach amazing 9th graders at Todd County High School. Daily, I see writing that transforms my perspective on the youth of America. I am going to start sharing some of this writing with you.
Thank you for your time and visit,