How well prepared did you feel entering the Program?
I was anxious because I had never been a part of a work environment like Dakota Wicohan before, it had always been basic summer jobs. I also felt a desire to impress the others at DW, so they would be happy with their choice to take me on.
Three things you learned from/about the organization:
Dakota Wicohan works on Dakota language revitalization from a number of different angles: by encouraging tribal members to learn the language; combating an oppressive history between the state and Dakota peoples; and providing role models for young adults.
Work with a community organization introduces one to a variety avenues for creating a grassroots effort for revitalization, including the value of connectivity, shared experiences and goals, and design.
Sovereignty comes in many forms. With respect to Indigenous peoples that conversation is commonly put in political terms, but I think that language can be part of that conversation too.
What was the highlight of the experience?
Spending time with my family and working where my grandfather grew up gave me a stronger sense of Dakota identity and perception of family history. It was a unique experience and more than I could have expected.
What surprised you the most?
The relative ease with which I was able to complete the UBC ethics portion of the application. I did that separate from the class and was nervous about whether it would pass in time. Thankfully Sheryl’s one-on-one help made the application process much easier than I had feared.
One thing you would do differently next time:
I would have begun my interviews earlier. I did a few in Minnesota and then didn’t do any more work on them for a couple months, which made me worried about whether I had enough material. In the end it wasn’t an issue, but there were definitely a few weeks I wished I had managed my time better.
What are you doing this summer?
I am finishing work for the FNIS office, then I will go back to Morton, Minnesota to work with Dakota Wicohan. They have brought me on to complete the project that I worked on during the practicum, which is great honor and a very exciting opportunity.