“Culture in a Box” part of learning at Red Cloud Indian School

Ninth graders participate in cultural exchange program
posted on November 18, 2011

On September 19, 2011, Albion High School in Salford, England contacted Red Cloud High School in hopes of creating a bond for learning and culture exchange between the two Owayawas (schools). Red Cloud freshmen, along with instructor Denver American Horse and Albion ninth graders instructed by Steve Aveyard are the two halves of this developing friendship. Counciller Stephen Coen, a council representative of the Irwell Riverside ward, had suggested the outreach of learning between the two schools. Six years ago Coen visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and his experience with the people and environment led him to offer the outreach.

“I believe we should listen to and not patronize the Native American/Lakota/Oglala people. You tell your story of how life is now, and how we might be able to work together in the future,” says Counciller Coen. “That is why I am encouraging the schools to talk, to show how similar our young people can be, and learn about each other from both sides of the Pond.”

The objective of the “Culture In A Box” exchange program is to provide each other with items of interest so that it allows a better understanding of both cultures. Red Cloud students plan to send their friends medicine wheel concepts of the four directions and what it means to the Lakota people, some Lakota recipes of making jerky, wasna or tinpsila soup and a Lakota creation story or two.

Lakota people have previously been in the Manchester and Salford for five months and spent five months in London prior to this stay during in 1887-1888. They were also in England two other times for Buffalo Bills Wild West Show.

“Black Elk and some of our Lakota have already been to England, enduring long boat rides, so in a way, we are following up on what they have seen,” says American Horse.

The Albion school is very enthusiastic about the program. They will be sending a few gifts to Red Cloud including a full Manchester United Squad kit for the soccer team which David Rooks coaches, along with return letters to the students at Red Cloud.

Both instructors are planning on extending other forms of communication such as e-mail, Skype and Facebook. Skype will allow Denver American Horse to teach an introduction course on the Lakota Language to the Albion students. This course will then be extended to the wider community in Salford due to the fact there are many elderly interested in being able to communicate with the Lakota as well.

All who are involved with the cultural exchange program expect it to create a friendship that will extend over future generations.