Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014 - Lakota Learning: A Look into Rural and Native American Education

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Lakota Learning: A Look into Rural and Native American Education
Trip Location: 
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

"The battle for Indian children will take place in the classrooms...
The students of today are the warriors of tomorrow." 

-Eddie Box, American Indian Science and Engineering Society


The Pine Ridge Indian reservation faces staggering challenges: fewer than 20% of students graduate high school, unemployment is over 80%, and life expectancy is the lowest in the US. In the face of these challenges, schools and community leaders are striving to empower the next generation of Lakota children with the knowledge, language, and confidence to change these statistics and build a strong tomorrow for the Lakota Nation. Apply for this ASB experience and work and learn alongside teachers, students, and community leaders who are committed to this future. 


The course will begin with classroom instruction, guest lectures, and discussions that will expose students to the challenges and promise of Native American and rural education. Students will learn about Lakota culture, the history of Native American education, and current challenges and successes in Indian education. Throughout the course and trip, we will look at the intersection between education and other important issues, including healthcare, economics, and spirituality. 

During the week-long trip to South Dakota, we will have opportunities to work with a variety of community partners, including both schools and informal education organizations seeking to promote traditional knowledge and language. We will engage with students, teachers, and community leaders about the present and future of education in the community. 

Trip Leaders
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Shannon Brady

Hello! My name is Shannon Brady, and I am a third year doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education. Originally from a tiny town in Montana just south of the Canadian border, I majored in psychology at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. After college, I followed my passions for social justice, educational equity, and small town livin’ to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where I taught middle school language arts and 3rd grade at Little Wound School -- one of the schools we will be visiting. After teaching for five years, I made the hard decision to leave the classroom and come to Stanford. I now study how to use understandings gleaned from social psychology to promote better outcomes for students and people in general--especially those who face additional challenges or stereotypes. When I’m not busy with school, you are likely to find me out in nature, playing board games, or cooking up a delicious meal with friends. I am honored and humbled to co-lead this trip, and I encourage you to join us.

Tiarra Little

Hello, my name is Tiarra Little and I’m a sophomore here in this lovely state of California.  I was born and raised in a small town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  I am Oglala Lakota (Sioux) and am a graduate from the Red Cloud High School’s Class of 2012 – one of the schools we will be visiting on the reservation.  Over the past few summers, I have worked as a Wildland Firefighter and Prevention Specialist in South Dakota.  I am also curently working on and off with a nonprofit called Building Bridges in Denver, CO.  Building Bridges is a program dedicated to bridging the gap between cultures by equipping participants with the necessary communication tools needed to understand and respect a variety of perspectives and opinions.  My work in the program has helped me in furthering my understanding of different perspectives, a skill that has come in handy for me while living both on and off the reservation.