SGU Hosts Summer Writing Institute

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

Fourteen teachers completed a three-week intensive course in culturally responsive, culturally relevant writing instruction as part of Sinte Gleska University’s Sicangu Writing and Action Project Summer Institute in June.

The Sicangu Writing and Action Project (SWAP) is one of 175 National Writing Project sites in the nation and the only one located at a tribal college. The primary goal of SWAP is to provide teachers of Native students an opportunity to share and learn best classroom practices that will improve the writing skills of students at all levels of education from kindergarten through college. SWAP Directors Kim Karaff, Nancy LeBeau, and Sammie Bordeaux also developed the Summer Institute to teach teachers to integrate more culturally responsive practices in their classrooms.

Teachers who participated in the Summer Institute represented six schools in South Dakota. The institute was held at St. Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain, SD.

Participants were involved in discussions, writing, reading, and presentations by tribal educators and writers. Presenters included Lanniko Lee, English instructor at Sitting Bull College, and Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, who co-authored the book Shaping Survival: Essays by Four American Indian Tribal Women about their boarding school experiences. Cheryl Crazy Bull, former CEO of St. Francis Indian School and former vice president of Sinte Gleska University, led a discussion about cultural relevance and community/culture-centered education. Dorothy LeBeau, curriculum director of Todd County Schools, offered a presentation on poverty and critical pedagogy. Faith Spotted Eagle, consultant on issues of race and oppression, spoke about the need to integrate writing with the discourse of oppression in order to develop critical thinking and action in Native students.

Sicangu Writing and Action Project is in its third year of development at Sinte Gleska University and is funded by a grant from the National Writing Project, which serves over 100,000 teachers throughout the country.

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