Teaching Leadership to Native American Youth in Fargo

In the midst of a language crisis and troubles at home, a speaker teaches leadership to Native American youth

FARGO, N.D. — A language crisis and struggles at home are problems faced by local Native American youth.

It’s why one speaker is teaching Native American kids in Fargo about their heritage and about leadership.

Ricky White, a school superintendent in White Earth, said these middle school students are at an important transition.

“It’s really that turning point in their lives where they’re going to have some strong decisions to be made,” explained White.

After a tour of NDSU, students spent the afternoon learning about life lessons from their native culture.

But White said it all boils down to something many are familiar with: the golden mean.

“Treat others how you would want to be treated,” he said. “But at the same time, how in your own way do you present yourself to others and how do you create a pathway for a good life for yourself? We have a language crisis going on right now,” White added. “We also have, in our own homes, a lot of struggles and these barriers are real for our people.”

He aims to tear these barriers down through their heritage, art and the Ojibwe language.

“Making sure that these students know that they have the backing of their people, that they have the backing of their culture, that we have so many teachings and guidance to support them,” said White.

They also made identity shields.

White said each shield is a new story, a way to describe a person without any written language.

Despite the struggles dealt with by Native youth, White says they will always have the guidance to support them.

Steven Judd, a renowned Native American documentary producer, also hosted a workshop for the students at the end of the day.

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