Cultural programs added to All Nations after walk out

Sophie Downey, Arts and Entertainment Editor

On Monday, March 11, All Nations protested against the discrimination within the school towards their program. The protest included a drum circle, speeches by various students, dancing, and, finally, a walkout. In the weeks following the event, the program has been provided with support both from inside and outside of South.

Among members of the administration and the outside community, there has been some frustration caused because of the walkout.

“Every student that I talked to believed that the walkout was important,” said senior Winona Vizenor, who organized the event. “We wanted to make sure we were going to be heard, we wanted them to know that we are serious about this.”

Vizenor cited the inequalities that have existed for a long time as her main reason for starting the protest.

“They weren’t telling us things were being worked on until we started getting together and we were going to go against the school to bring it to light.”

However, there have been immediate responses to the protest.

“We did get  a smudging room right away, we are getting a drum group coming in right away, we  are planning for a powwow in May,” Vizenor continued. “We’re also looking to setting up a powwow for next year.”

“We got back the culture class that was there in freshman year,” added senior Ashley Holmes. “I think that it’s been so long, the culture hasn’t been in our class, and I think that [the protest] is a really strong way to show that we need it, and it was really powerful.”

Although there have been steps taken in the right direction, much more needs to happen to ensure that All Nations gets the same treatment as the rest of the school.

“I really think what needs to happen is that the student body and All Nations, they need to be involved in the meetings that are happening about their program and what needs to be done about their program,” said Vizenor. “Because you can’t determine what the kids want and need without the kids being there.”

“I’ve received a lot of helping hands in response to this,” added Vizenor, explaining that drum groups have been willing to come into South, and members of the native community have been eager to talk to the students about culture. “We’ve had a bunch of people in our community that want to come in and help us and give back to our program.”

All Nations and s.t.a.r.t. hosted a dinner on Wednesday, March 27 with Diane Wilson, author of Spirit Car. One of the goals of the dinner was to spread awareness of Dakota culture. All Nations also played a part in hosting the Feast of Nations on Thursday, March 28, which showcased the food, music, and traditions of many different cultures. The All Nations Inner-Tribal Council will also be starting soon, the program’s own Student Council that will check in with students to make sure they’re doing their best.