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Jefferson Elementary students celebrate Indian culture, generosity and more

2012-09-28T00:00:00Z 2012-09-28T00:31:28Z Jefferson Elementary students celebrate Indian culture, generosity and moreBy DYLAN BROWN Independent Record Helena Independent Record
September 28, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Jefferson Elementary School students were told they would have to give away their most valuable possession and that would bring them closer to becoming a man or woman.

“I could see the expressions on their face. The dread!” said Jeremy Red Eagle, from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe.

Red Eagle told the students that children their age at one time would give away their most prized possession in order to learn about generosity. It was a step to teaching the children of the tribe the value of equality, which is represented by teepees and everything circular. No one member is above any other and all members of the tribe are equal, he told them.

Holding hands in a round dance, creating a circle with the teepees and the teepees themselves are all symbolic of the circle.

Duran Caferro, a pro boxer, who was representing the Cheyenne tribe, talked about flags and the symbols on the flags.

Sixth-grader Calvin Kanudson, who is a gifted bead worker, talked to students only one year younger than him about the symbols on his moccasins and regalia.

The students were educated at seven different stations throughout the day Thursday; one station for each of Montana’s seven Indian reservations.

“The dance is my favorite (station). You get to move not just with your own gender,” Samantha Henrikson, a fourth grader, said. “It’s fun to get to move around.”

Cameron Faehnrich said Caferro’s station was his favorite because he learned about a great boxer.

“I really like the sport,” he said. “I learned that you have to eat healthy, go to bed early and train.”

Students were shocked, amazed and, at times, embarrassed at the sixth annual Ksistsikomi, which in Blackfeet means “celebrate.”

“I think it’s great that there’s a day that’s honored, but here in our district it’s something that’s an ongoing tradition. It’s something we celebrate all year long,” said Roni Hawkins, Helena Public Schools K-5 Indian education coordinator.

Dylan Brown: 447-4077, or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. gr8pfruit
    Report Abuse
    gr8pfruit - September 28, 2012 11:50 pm
    Dear Mr. White woof, Any time there is ever an event where human beings give of themselves, especially when they try to teach or talk about values and traditions that were taught to them by their elders, which they learned from their elders before them and so on for generation upon generation. Something known by all nations as the oral tradition. There you are, pouring out your inane dribble. Sir, you are, by all rights, an idiot. Everything that ever comes out of, what you must believe is your prized possesion, is unadulterated garbage. No one wants what you offer. You are always negative, pretentious and ...well, just embarrassing. Sir, I am going to offer you a gift that will get you much further in the community than your unwanted comments, "Open your eyes, instead of your mouth" Please leave feedback and comments to those who know what the seven virtues are , and despite being human, honestly try to live by those virtues by building people, communities and nations up, and not trying to knock them down.
  2. oldstylin_creemama
    Report Abuse
    oldstylin_creemama - September 28, 2012 5:13 pm
    Shawn Whitewolf. you are very disrespectful. being greedy and selfish isnt the way of native life. i dont know why your coming off with the things you have posted. im proud of my culture and proud to share it with anyone who wants to learn. i was proud to be there teaching kids about our dancing styles and sharing with them my regalia. your poking fun only further shows why indian education is important for our people.
  3. shawnwhitewolf
    Report Abuse
    shawnwhitewolf - September 28, 2012 8:48 am
    and also, while we all learning to be generous... send your goodies to me at PO Box ***, Helena, MT 59***. Save me some holiday shopping this year. LOL
  4. shawnwhitewolf
    Report Abuse
    shawnwhitewolf - September 28, 2012 8:47 am
    I don't blame those kids for their look. If I had to give away my most prized possession I'd be crying too. What tribe makes their kids do that?
    By the way, the air condition in these tepees is very expensive.
    Everyone should wear buckskin today as it was once a tradition since the early 1600s that people wear buckskin on Fridays after 12pm. That tradition goes wAAAAy back before animals had voting rights. Better yet, everyone should wear buckskin every day! Then we all can dance around a fire and yell, "give me skittles, give me skittles." That was a tradition from way back too.

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