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December 18: Teachings of Our Elders - Scott Davis on Indian Country

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North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding number two is about learning and storytelling. It states, "Traditional teaching and the passing on of knowledge and wisdom was done through storytelling, song, ceremony, and daily way of life, often incorporating specific gender and age specific responsibilities." These continue to be some of the best modes for learning for both Native and non-Native learners.

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to Scott Davis, enrolled member of Standing Rock Nation, talking about how this is Indian country.

Scott Davis:

Well, you got to start with history first. I mean, we as Native Americans here in North Dakota call this Indian country. You hear that term a lot. Welcome to Indian Country. This is Indian country, and it is. It always will be. This is, we're indigenous to this land. We were first inhabitants of this land. There's so many creation stories from each tribe that we didn't come from Asia or across the Bering Strait Bridge. I mean, those things you just kind of chuckle at. There're always kind of scientific theories, but if you really look deep into the heart of each tribe, they have their own creation story. And it's a beautiful thing how we were always here. God put us here first. We're still here. We're still very strong in our identity. But what's the history behind that?

And again, I think that history has always been tainted because it's been written by non-Native authors. It would be no different for me as a Native American writing about Jewish history or Black history or Spanish history. I think there would be a lot of misconceptions or reasons why of the being authentic or real about being an author of that history. So you got to look at it in that sense. And now here's a time to put our oral history into a written form, into a book, into a curriculum. And what better way to do that? And also to teach the true history of North Dakota. Our lands, our waters. I mean, there's so much history. As they say in North Dakota, the tourism piece is legendary and it is. Our history is legendary.

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.