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January 23: Teachings of our Elders - Lorraine Davis on Differing Perspectives

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North Dakota, Native American Essential Understanding, Number Six is about Native contributions. It states, "Native people continue to contribute to all levels of society from local to global in diverse fields, including medicine, science, government, education, economics, art, music, and many more."

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll hear Lorraine Davis, educator, leader, and enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate share her insights into the importance of working together to help each other grow an understanding of our differing perspectives.

Lorraine Davis:

I'm actually working with the University of Mary. And the idea for that is to be able to do this locally, to be part of problem solving. It's really building the relationships with the university systems. And then, of course, the public school systems. You're working with adults and you're working with children. You're working with families.

So, of course, we work with United Tribes Technical College. And so we're trying to, you have to be in all these areas because it's a new way of thinking. It's a new way of looking at problem solving. And so we are in so many arenas. We have to be at Tesoro Refinery. I'm on a community advisory panel for that.

Why? Because that I'm sought as a Native educator to educate the Native community about oil issues, not just DAPL, but continued ongoing oil issues. And then they need to learn about us and why the land is so significant. It might look to them like we're putting up a big fuss, and we just look like the problem child. And it's way deeper than that.

They don't understand how that's a part of us, that our environment is a part of us, the land, mother earth. And so, and I'm by no means the expert, but I'm going to just help facilitate that process so that they can understand, so that mainstream society can understand. So that's what we're here for is to really, to be long term that we'll be around to be able to continue this effort way beyond me.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.