All Nations program at Minneapolis South High supports Native American students

A high profile walk-out by Native American students in the Minneapolis South High All Nations program and supportive members of the wider South High community focused attention on the program last spring. This fall, things are going better at South High, according to two All Nations students.All Nations was established in 1989 in order to provide an American Indian focused program within the larger confines of South High. It’s is a citywide program, meaning students from across the Minneapolis school district can enroll in it. This year, there are 132 students in the program.This is one of a three-part series on the Indian Education program in Minneapolis Public Schools. Part one and part two focus on elementary education. Continue Reading

Ubuntu “straight talk” for Africans and African Americans aims to tackle Twin Cities racism

The energy and sense of community were palpable during an open, “straight talk” session at South High School for African and African American community members last week. Titled “Ubuntu! Storytelling Across the Boundaries of Nation, Culture and Ethnicity,” the panel discussion and community dialog covered much ground.Some of the topics discussed include: racism, migration histories, complex identities, in-group racial tensions, and the struggles of the black diaspora in the Twin Cities and beyond. The purpose of the discussion was to create a space for people of African descent to find creative ways to work together across ethnic, cultural, and national difference. The audience enjoyed food catered from local African restaurants while the panelists tackled complex subjects through storytelling. The diverse panelists represented different generations: Flamingo restaurant owner and women’s advocate Shegitu Kebede, Malanna Fields, artist and policy advocate Andrea Jenkins, local journalist and editor Lolla Mohammed Nur and community elder Dr. Mahmoud El-Kati. The panel and audience were made up of diverse members of the African, African American, and other communities.The Straight Talk session was organized by Zenzele Isoke, University of Minnesota professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (GWSS), and the Black Feminist Praxis Project Team. Continue Reading

OUR STORIES | Barbara Pierre-Louis: “Ubuntu” and storytelling preserve untold histories

Barbara Pierre-Louis attended the “Ubuntu! Storytelling Across the Boundaries of Nation, Culture and Ethnicity,” a community conversation about migration, nation, identity, and race at South High School. The event was organized by Zenzele Isoke, a professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, and the Black Feminist Praxis Project Team.Dr. Pierre-Louis, a professor at Metropolitan State University, reflected on the importance of storytelling to her as a Haitian American in Minnesota. Storytelling is a way of preserving the stories and wisdom of her ancestors and black revolutionaries, such as Toussaint L’ouverture, the leader of the Haitian Revolution, she said. She also talked about the importance of libation, a ritual pouring of water as an offering to a spirit, as a way of celebrating those who have passed. Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation. Continue Reading

South High student recognized for literary achievement

South High senior Molly Hensley Clancy has been awarded a $10,000 Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarship for authoring a series of stories told through the eyes of young female characters who show that common bonds bring us all together as human beings. Among the 20 students nationwide named as 2008 Davidson Fellows, Hensley-Clancy received her award at a ceremony held on Sept. 24 at the Library of Congress. While in Washington, she and another Davidson Fellows Scholarship winner from Minnesota, Edina High School senior Michael Cherkassky, met with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobucher and the office of Sen. Norm Coleman, Reps. Jim Ramstad and Keith Ellison and the House Committee on Education and Labor to discuss challenges faced by gifted students. Continue Reading