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South Dakota Indian Education Summit returns to Rapid City

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For the first time in a decade, South Dakota’s Indian Education Summit returned to Rapid City. It was the first in-person summit in two years.

The three-day event connects teachers to resources, while providing lessons in Native values and life skills for students.

Fred Osborn, Indian Education Director with the state Department of Tribal Relations, said the summit is an opportunity to connect.

“The Indian Education Summit allows us to bring education advancements in Native education to a central point where teachers, administrators, involved parents, can come together and learn skills and tools they can take back to their community – to their schools,” Osborn said.

Osborn said after last year’s virtual event, there were fresh priorities.

“This year our focus was providing native keynote speakers and breakout sessions. We brought that here to Rapid City for that opportunity," Osborn said. "Also, the youth day – since there is such a large concentration of  Native youth in this area – we thought it would be fitting to give them the opportunity.”

Students attending the youth day played traditional games, learned about the stars, and received a drawing lesson from Native comic book artist Mark Mindt.

Osborn said they have clear goals for the summit.

“At the end of this conference we hope that all the educators will go back, use some of those tools and skills, promote the Oceti Sakowin essential understandings in their classrooms, and our hope is to again meet in person next year,” Osborn said.

Osborn said there are videos from summit presentations on the State Department of Tribal Relations website.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering education, healthcare, arts and culture.