2018-03-08 / Headlines

Tribal Council Supports He Dog School


ROSEBUD, S.D. – The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council approved legislation in support of Sicangu Lakota parents and students who were appalled at a story recently published in an off- reservation newspaper.

The conservative Argus Leader newspaper sent reporter Megan Raposa to He Dog school in November 2017. Apparently, her news report was supposed to focus on an initiative established through a state grant to increase Lakota language and culture in the classroom. However, the reporter chose to focus her article on a school building recommended to be demolished, low-test scores and quotes by a school administrator.

“The story painted a pretty bad picture of He Dog and the Parmelee community,” stated Rita Means, Tribal Council Rep from Grass Mountain Community and Education Committee Chairwoman. She presented Resolution 2018-53 to the Tribal Council on February 28. The resolution was unanimously approved with a vote of 15 in favor, 0 opposed and 0 not voting.

Excerpts from Resolution 2018-53 state “parents of the students attending He Dog School have raised strenuous objections to the article’s depiction of life on the Rosebud Reservation and their children as lacking intelligence, underachieving, poor and poverty stricken and implying the parents are failing in their role and responsibility as parents.”

“The parents also objected to the use and exploitation of the names of students, their racial or ethnic background, references to academic test scores, photographs, slides, videos and other depictions of students in the article, newspaper, Facebook or any other news media without obtaining the specific consent from the parents by the Argus Leader, Superintendent Whitney, Todd County Schools or any other internet news service.”

Several parents attended the February 12 TCSD School Board meeting and posed several questions about the article. At that meeting, Superintendent Karen Whitney stated that SD Indian Education Director Mato Standing High had authorized a reporter to come to He Dog and do a story on the state grant. However, Resolution 2018-53 states that the Argus Leader story was “based upon an interview” with Whitney.

The Tribe also “condemns and rejects any use and exploitation of unauthorized information by Todd County School officials about our children to wrongfully glorify themselves and hold themselves out as speaking on behalf of the people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.”

President William Kindle was directed by the Tribal Council to write a cover letter for Resolution 2018-53 to provide notice about the Tribe’s position on the content of the Argus Leader news article published about He Dog School. The letter will also state that the Tribe joins “the parents of the students at He Dog School and demand that the Argus Leader retract the article and publish an apology.”

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