A special performance was held at Horizon Middle School on Tuesday as Bismarck Public Schools continue to teach students about Native American cultures.
“It’s important to just have people understand a little bit that we’re still here, that we’re still practicing our songs and our culture,” said Desirae Desnomie, singer for Midnight Express.
The group, Midnight Express, sang a number of songs for Horizon Middle School students. Both the school and singing group hopes to shine a light on Native American traditions.
“A lot of times our culture is overlooked in schools and learning institutions or it’s a certain percentage of things are taught, and a lot of times kids don’t get the hands-on feel of having someone come and sing their songs. These songs belong to them. They belong to everyone,” said Opie Day-Bedeau, singer for Midnight Express.
We’re told the Bismarck Public School District plans to do more events like this to teach students about the different cultures in our community. They say teaching about inclusion and diversity is a top priority.
“I had a group of students who were Native American that were in conflict, and right away I thought, we’re going to do something to bring the kids together to see that they have more in common than they are different,” said Nadine Butts, counselor at Horizon Middle School
So, why is it important to put on these types of events for school-aged children?
“A lot of social-emotional learning comes from this. Just really feeling like all people have ownership and a place in their school for respect and a positive voice,” said Butts.
“It’s to break negative stereotypes and to bring us together, to have understanding and that’s through education. That’s the only way that we’re going to be able to understand one another,” said Desnomie.
Speaking of understanding one another, we asked Day-Bedeau to translate one of the songs. He said this is his favorite line:
“I will sing forever. I will hit my drum forever. And in the language…Cree language.”
We’re told it means that whatever you do will be passed on to the next generation and that the drum will always be here for the Native American people.
Now, If you’re wondering what students took away from the performance, one tells us he learned quite a bit.
“It helped me inspire a lot of things about Native Americans like drumming, singing, truth, messaging. Not like text messaging, but like messages from our ancestors. And loving. We should all love each other,” said Noah Standing Crow, student at Horizon Middle School.
Horizon Middle School recently started something called “The Circle Group” for Native American students, or anyone who wants to join. They gather together once a week to talk about their differences and day-to-day lives.