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“WoLakota” implies balance and coming together. The WoLakota project will support students in high-need schools, pairing trained mentor-teachers with new teachers and providing Courage to Teach circles to tend to the ʻheartsʼ of each. Mentors will support the embedding of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings (OSEU) into practice, complementing the Common Core. The OSEU will address the achievement gap of American Indian students by embracing their identity, and will promote cultural understanding among non-native students and teachers. Lakota Elder Dottie LeBeau states, “When we approach teaching with one worldview...we create systems of failure in our schools.” WoLakota will close the circle into a system of understanding and success.
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The WoLakota Project is a partnership between TIE and the SD Department of Education



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Elder Dottie LeBeau talks about the writing of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings

The Seven Oceti SakowinEssential Understandings
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The original landbase and natural resources of the Oceti Sakowin were under communal stewardship prior to immigrant settlement. The Oceti Sakowin tribes have a distinct and unique interrelationship with the environment that contributes to South Dakota.

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There is variety and resiliency among individual Tribal people as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organization and people. A continuum of tribal identity,unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional lifestyle. There is no “generic American Indian”.

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The origin, thought and philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin continues in the contemporary lifestyles of Tribal members. Tribal cultures, traditions and languages are incorporated and are observed by many Tribal members both on and off the reservations.

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The Oceti Sakowin kinship systems provide a framework for both individual and group behavior. Its unwritten rules promote harmony, compromise, a sense of order, and group cohesion.

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History told from the Oceti Sakowin perspective, through oral tradition and written accounts, frequently conflicts with the stories mainstream historians tell and becomes subjective information. Currently historical perspective is being revisited to be more inclusive.

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Federal policies and treaties put into place throughout American history have affected Oceti Sakowin people adversely. Tribes as sovereign nations have the authority to enter into government to government relationships. Currently, the relationships with the United States are not the same for each tribe.

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The essential philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin wicoun (way of life) is based on the values of the Oceti Sakowin which has created resiliency of the Oyate. Tribal communities have put considerable efforts into economic development ventures, Tribal universities, alternative education, wellness centers, cultural, traditions and language revitalization.
Duane Hollowhorn Bear Stories by the Campfire(audio)

Duane Hollowhorn Bear Stories by the Campfire on Mixcloud


Helpful Downloads / LinksThe Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings pdfSD Weavings OSEU Curriculum ProjectWoLakota i3 Grant Pre-application NarrativeDuane Hollow Horn Bear Stories and Earl BullHead songsTokata documentary film about Indian Education in SDTasunke Witko film about the life of Crazy Horse