The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has announced a pilot program to bring green community schoolyards to tribal communities nationwide.
Schools in Idaho, Arizona, Wisconsin, Montana, and New Mexico are taking part, as well as three South Dakota communities.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s C.J. Keene has more.
The program is a joint effort between the TPL and Bureau of Indian Education.
It was announced at the recent White House Tribal Nations Summit.
Danielle Denk is TPL’s community schoolyards initiative director. She says these spaces are valuable for many reasons.
“It just really makes a three-dimensional learning environment for students, and a wonderful place for teachers and school staff to go outside and decompress a bit. And for the community these are open more than not to the community after hours, which means they provide all the benefits that a park would provide.”
Denk says TPL will take a backseat in the design process.
“Our role is to bring our process but not to be the lead locally. We really are looking to work with tribal and indigenous designers, organizers, folks who would be in line with this kind of process to be the local lead.”
One South Dakota school involved in the program is the Crazy Horse School in Wanblee.
Superintendent Margo Heinert says experiential education is important.
“Educationally I really support anytime we can do some hands-on learning activities. I think our kids learn a lot better that way. We are working on an elementary playground, but we wanted something more education-oriented for older kids. So, when that phone call was made, I got in on a conference call with them, it just fit our schedule perfectly.”
Other South Dakota Schools involved in the program are the Pine Ridge School and Rock Creek Grant School in Bullhead.
A Bozeman-based nonprofit announced Wednesday that it has transferred dozens of bison to tribal herds in Montana and Washington state.
Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton has more.
In recent weeks American Prairie transferred 45 bison to the Rocky Boy reservation and to the Kalispel Tribe in Cusick, WA.
The Rocky Boy herd was first established last year with help from both the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and American Prairie.
The Rocky Boy herd received ten bison this year to strengthen the herd.
The tribe plans to use the bison for “food, shelter, clothing, and cultural education.
American Prairie provides bison to tribal herds every year and has sent 350 animals to tribes since 2005.
The organization says all animals were tested for disease and received a clean bill of health.
American Prairie has been working to build a 3.2 million acre reserve for bison and other wildlife in north-central Montana. Some ranchers and state Republican politicians have pushed back against the nonprofits’ efforts, in part due to their concerns about bison spreading disease to cattle.
This week, the U.S. Interior Department’s Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names is meeting for the first time. By Hannah Bissett, KNBA News
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the committee will accelerate an important process to reconcile derogatory place names.
This fall, the department announced the removal of the S-Q word, a derogatory term against Indigenous women from about 650 geographic features.
Members of the committee are discussing several topics, identifying derogatory names and developing recommendations.
The meeting continues Thursday and the public can attend virtually.
More information can be found on the National Park Service’s website.
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