News / USA

Newspaper Gives Native American Teens a Voice

Students' work is distributed across their reservation and South Dakota

Little Wound journalism class students check their published work.
Little Wound journalism class students check their published work.

Multimedia

Audio
Jim Kent

A new journalism teacher and an enthusiastic newspaper publisher are giving Native American teens on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota an opportunity to be heard.

The school newspaper isn't just circulated around school. It's also read across the reservation - and the region - as a supplement to the Lakota Country Times.  

Rebounding

The Mustangs of Little Wound High School on the Pine Ridge Reservation are hoping to have a winning basketball season this year. But basketball isn't the only group activity that's been rebounding at Little Wound.

Speaking over the noise of the classroom heater, Nicky Oulette gives her 12 students some pointers on what makes a story newsworthy. Oulette is the first journalism teacher Little Wound has had in years. Her arrival last fall helped spark the resurgence of an activity that's also been absent for some time: the school newspaper.

Nicky Oulette reviews the current issue of the Mustang News while Madeline Buckman works on her column.
Nicky Oulette reviews the current issue of the Mustang News while Madeline Buckman works on her column.

"They pick the articles that we write. Sometimes, if we're getting stuck, I'll kind of guide them along," says Oulette. "But, especially lately, they've been the one picking the articles."

Community connection

Those articles have a widespread reach since the Mustang News is published alongside the region-wide, professional Lakota County Times newpaper.   

"I don't know about many high schools that have this type of set-up," says Oulette. "I know a lot of schools have their own newspaper or newsletter, but don’t know of many who have a newspaper for the school that's part of a reservation-wide or huge area-wide publication."

Little Wound District Superintendent Linda Hunter says a newspaper had always been a part of the school, but fell by the wayside when journalism classes were eliminated. Now that Oulette is at the helm, Hunter says the Mustang News is not only back - but connecting the school with the community it serves.

"I know that one of our goals is to establish communication with the community and with our parents," says Hunter. "And this is a perfect way of doing it because students write the stories, they take the pictures. And, so, then it's a good way of showcasing what's going on in the school." 

Brooke Chase Alone works on her next assignment for the Mustang News.
Brooke Chase Alone works on her next assignment for the Mustang News.

Next generation of storytellers

Student reporter Brooke Chase Alone says her favorite assignment, so far, has been covering the history of the annual Big Foot Ride - a two-week-long trail ride from the Standing Rock Reservation to Wounded Knee.

"My grandpa, Percy White Plume, he was one of the original riders. He helped start it the first year it got started. So, I just went to his house and interviewed him about it," says Chase Alone, who is learning a lot about reporting. "I actually really like it. It's really fun sometimes. I mean, sometimes you get stuck with articles you don't really want to write about, but most of the time they're really fun and interesting,"  

Madeline Buckman covered a story about a broken water pipe that flooded the school, but says she really doesn’t like reporting. She is interested in a different aspect of newspaper work.

Nicky Oulette teaching the Little Wound school’s journalism class.
Nicky Oulette teaching the Little Wound school’s journalism class.

"Mostly the, like, editorial part where you can write your own opinion pieces about things," she says. "I really don't like going on both sides of stories. It's kind of not my thing."

So, Buckman is starting her own column about the weather. But no matter what a journalist writes, one of the payoffs is actually seeing your story in print.

And the students do, every two weeks, when Lakota Country Times publisher Connie Smith personally delivers copies of her paper to the high school. It includes the Mustang News as a supplement every other Wednesday.

Smith says the public reaction has been overwhelming. "Everywhere I go, people are talking to me about how proud they are. The kids do the news. They do the interviews. They take the pictures. I think the quality is as good as some of the stories I get from community members... because we get stories and photos from community members that come in. So, I’ve been really pleased."

Lakota Country Times publisher Connie Smith arrives with the current issue of the Mustang News.
Lakota Country Times publisher Connie Smith arrives with the current issue of the Mustang News.

Other student papers have been incorporated into Native American newspapers, but it’s not the norm, according to Jeff Harjo, executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, who notes that the Association’s slogan is "raising the next generation of storytellers."

"What we like to hear about is young people getting involved I journalism, young people doing their own paper, or a portion of the paper," says Harjo, "and that is really great news for us."

The Mustang News inspired two other schools on the Pine Ridge reservation to publish their own papers, and they take turns being circulated in the Lakota Country Times. Publisher Connie Smith's goal is to have a student newspaper in every reservation school.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid