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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid