Little Wound Working to Use Oral Histories as Educational Experience

On January 7th, Little Wound School submitted a grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities. This application seeks funding to record, produce, and broadcast a limited series of oral history podcasts about major events and eras in Oglala Lakota history.
Each podcast would cover a particular topic. The first podcast episodes include histories and conversations about early Lakota history. Later episodes cover topics such as the Wounded Knee Massacre, the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation, the Battle of the Greasy Grass, and the impact the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 had on Oglala Sioux Tribe governance. The final episodes look toward the future, the youth, and Crazy Horse’s Seventh Generation prophecy. Each episode would be published on podcast platforms, like Spotify and the Apple Podcast app. Additionally, KILI Radio has committed to broadcasting them.     
“This is an opportunity for Little Wound School to continue its mission of providing our students not just a great education, but a deep understanding of Lakota culture and history as well,” district superintendent Charles Cuny said.
Little Wound’s project will not simply release a collection of radio broadcast-like podcasts. It also includes ways to involve both students and community members throughout the process.     
“These stories are important,” Mark Hetzel said, the Little Wound teacher who designed and wrote the grant with former district employee Alex Mackey. “It’s not enough to just share the stories—we want to start a conversation about them, too. That’s why we will work with teachers and other schools to plan lessons and activities around each episode. We want to publish resources that help teachers use oral histories in their classrooms and engage students deeply with the content.”     
Little Wound has found wide support for this project. Several well-known researchers and scholars have offered to help, along with a number of media production specialists.     
Matilda Montileaux, formerly a Lakota teacher at Little Wound and now director of the school’s Tokata Wicoicage Lakol Wounspe language project, is one of the advisors. “Teaching the Lakota language is critical, we know that, but we also need to find ways to share and teach the younger generations about our history and culture,” Montileaux said of the grant.     
“Grant funding is never guaranteed, but we are committed to this idea and believe it is important for our students and community,” Cuny said. “Our school board has been a leader making sure students have unique and impactful learning opportunities. This is definitely one of them.”    
Mark Hetzel 

Print This Article
© Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
View text-based website