Column: We started genocide, it's time to address it

"We created the genocide against the Lakota, killing them, ripping apart their culture and religion and families. We took the land, built our new society and now the wreckage is "their" problem.

This week, as school is about to start, I offer one small way to turn "their" problem into "our" problem, but it requires that we turn our approach to Lakota education upside down.

Education in Rapid City is segregated, and in our effort to meet the demands of "No Child Left Behind," we focus on programs that improve the chances of survival for the bottom 30 percent of Lakota children: after-school programs, literacy programs, truancy programs, cultural-awareness programs.

The arguments in favor of this approach are age old. I know. I've made them myself a hundred times. Education breaks the cycle of poverty. Education keeps kids from drugs and alcohol. Education keeps kids away from crime, and out of prison. But here's my question. In focusing so exclusively on the bottom 30 percent, have we abandoned the top 10 percent?"

Get the Story:
Sam Hurst: Create advanced placement academy for Indians (The Rapid City Journal 8/29)

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