Native American culture in the spotlight at Washington High School


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Monday is Native American Day in South Dakota.

The Sioux Falls school district will not have classes on Monday during the holidays. But students and staff don’t wait until next week to spotlight Native American culture.

Rosalia Szameit, a freshman at Washington High School, began experiencing powwows as a baby.

“I have danced my whole life and my mom does all of my dresses,” said Rosalia Szameit, a freshman from WHS.

On Friday, she and other Native American students shared some of their traditions with the student body.

The three girls performed dressed jingle dances, which Szameit explains to be a medicine dance, and fancy shawl dances.

“It’s a symbol resemblance for a butterfly to express itself because we Native Americans have never been able to express ourselves since the settlers came to America,” said Winona Ochalla, sophomore student at WHS.

Dances aren’t the only ways that Native American culture and history is showcased at Washington High School.

A tipi was set up on Friday morning, and staff and students participated in activities throughout the week.

“It is important for my students to honor these leaders, the elders that we had in the past, those who came before us to lead the way so to speak, who leveled the way so that these children can be where they are. are. today and they have more opportunities, they have more opportunities than ever before if they want to go after, ”said Bruce Rekstad, WHS professor.

“We have to show everyone all the different things that we have in our culture and educate people more because a lot of people don’t know anything about anything,” Szameit said.

But by sharing their culture, not only do they honor their ancestors, but people learn.

The 2021 Native American Day Parade in Sioux Falls has been canceled by organizers this year due to high rates of COVID-19.

Click here for more ways to observe South Dakota Native American Day.

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