Sheila Regan

Recent Articles

South High students walk out to protest lack of Native cultural activities

 

 

By Sheila Regan

Contributing Writer

 

The smell of burning sage filled the commons area of South High School on Monday morning, March 11, as what was planned as a student walk-out was turned into a school-sanctioned assembly — and then ended up being a walkout anyway. Students from the All Nations Program, which offers American Indian-specific programming at the school, were protesting the lack of visibility of the program, as well as a lack of cultural activities. They said activities such as drumming and “smudging,” a cleansing act using burning sage, were once regular parts of the program but have been discontinued. Senior Winona Vizenor organized the walkout, but called it off after speaking with Principal Cecilia Saddler, who allowed the students to have a round dance in the main commons area as well as an assembly in the auditorium. Toward the end of the assembly, after getting text messages from people saying they weren’t being let out of their classes, Vizenor went forward with the walkout anyway. Continue Reading →

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Is ‘Minnesota Nice’ stifling important conversations about race?

By Sheila Regan

Guest Commentator

 

This whole South High School situation is really affecting me. When I heard about the fight that happened two weeks ago, just two days after I had written an article about the anti-racism group at the school, S.T.A.R.T., I found myself crying for the school that I once attended. How could this supposed race riot have happened when there were all these smart kids working to combat the racism at their school? The more I talk to the students, the more I’m confused about what actually happened that day. My feeling is that the situation is a lot more complex than it has been portrayed, but regardless, clearly there are issues that need to be addressed, not just at the school but in our greater community. Continue Reading →

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Early childhood education: What does culture have to do with it?

 

 

News Analysis

By Sheila Regan

Contributing Writer

 

How do varying cultural backgrounds affect the need for and the value of early education? What we’re missing, said Betty Emarita at a February 8 forum on early childhood education, is data-driven discussions. While there’s data on community trauma, “There’s little data

on family strengths, especially in low-income communities.”

Betty Emarita grew up in a tiny village in North Carolina, which had a combined elementary, junior high and high school. It was a very poor area, and the African Americans living in the community were mostly farming as sharecroppers. “Most girls dropped out of school by the eighth grade,” she said. Continue Reading →

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