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FCSD#38 incorporated Native American culture in heritage week

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

Fremont County School District 38 has been hosting heritage week all week for the 4th scheduled year, and since it had to be canceled last year, spirits were high among students and staff.

Arapahoe School Elementary Principal David Holbert, explained “We were all virtual until late February, early March. It’s just tough not having the kids here and doing stuff with them. There’s so much more to school than just the academic side of it. There’s the social side and we were just really missing that, so being able to come here and do these kind of things and get the kids back, it’s just been huge.”

Wayne C Hair taught Arapahoe language classes at St. Stephens and Arapahoe Schools, as well as at CWC as a professor for 38 years. “The way we live today is flying away, we’re losing our way of life because the world goes too fast. Technology has damaged our culture and our way of life,” explained C Hair.

Mr. C Hair is a Northern Arapahoe tribal elder who taught storytelling during heritage week. He hopes that what has become the norm with many youth, will not continue.

“Kids get home, they jump on the tv’s, the Xboxes, or the Playstations, and they leave our culture out. On this side Grandpa and Grandma are sitting here. They have tears coming down their eyes because they can’t do their job, what they’re supposed to be doing, like what I’m doing here now, telling stories,” emphasized C Hair.

Mr. Oldman, a Hinono’eitiit (Arapahoe language) teacher, said it is written into the school improvement plan for FCSD#38, to honor and respect the Arapahoe language and culture. “My hope for the students are that they will grab onto this Arapahoe language, Hinono’eitiit, and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives in everyday conversation,” described Mr. Oldman.

The students learned hand games, traditional dancing, bead work, storytelling, and building teepee’s, among others.

“The teachers leave everyday exhausted but smiling, and the kids, I don’t know where they get all the energy, but the looks on the faces of the the kids, and just how meaningful it is for them; this is one of the huge perks to working here is getting to do things like this,” stated Holbert.

The Arapahoe School plans to continue heritage week again, next year.

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