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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid