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April 11: Teachings of Our Elders - To Us It Wasn't Discovered (Part Two)

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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 listen to Dr. Twyla Baker, enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in part two of “To Us It Wasn't Discovered.”

Dr. Twyla Baker:

There was stories, and history, and life, and cities, and just, everything that was all here already. Didn't just suddenly appear out of nowhere. I mean, that there's that, but then there's also in the modern context, I think, of my friend John Harrington, who was the first Native American astronaut. I was just looking at his pictures of him doing work outside the space shuttle and things like that. People like that making contributions to the academic realm, to sports, to art, life in general, just like any other individual. We just happen to be such a small population.

So, our impact may not be as loud as others, but we're still here. We are still here. There was a concerted effort to remove us, but it makes me so proud. It so feel so strong, the idea and the fact that we are still here. We are still thriving. We are working very, very hard to make our voices heard. We are just living our lives, and doing so in the way that we want to. Reclaiming that sovereignty and trying to make things better in the path, clearer and wider for the ones that come behind us.

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.