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Native American Heritage Month at Wingate Elementary School

Kids dressed for a pageant

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor the rich cultures, traditions and contributions of Indigenous Nations and people across the United States.

Wingate Elementary School serves students from several Tribes in the surrounding area, including Navajo and Zuni communities. The staff takes pride in offering its students a rich experience throughout the month so they can share what being a Tribal citizen means to them and express their individuality as Indigenous youth.

“(Native American Heritage Month) allows us time to spend discussing our students’ heritage and developing programs that recognize and honor their heritage in an educational format,” said Wingate Elementary and Middle School Principal Eric North.

Wingate Elementary School plans exciting activities and educational opportunities to celebrate the area’s Tribal history and heritage during Native American Heritage Month.

This year’s Wingate Elementary Red Ribbon Spirit Week incorporated some Native American Heritage Month celebrations as well. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, students participated in the annual Rock Your Mocs day and wore their traditional footwear. The Thursday, Nov. 16 theme was “I am Sacred!” and students wore their favorite Native shirt and attended the Native Princess and Brave Pageant in the evening.

Part of the Bureau of Indian Education’s mission is to provide culturally relevant curriculum to students, which means highlighting and recognizing Native identity and its importance in an educational environment. That curriculum is taught year-round at Wingate Elementary School – not just one month in the fall. 

“We emphasize a student’s heritage and culture throughout the school year,” North said. “This helps with self-determination, individual pride, and cultural guidance. It is a daily, year-round, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week process.”

During this academic year, Wingate Elementary School students have participated in the Wingate Elementary and Brave Pageants; learned about their culture and language in classes dedicated to culturally relevant curriculum; and honored Tribal military service members at a Veterans’ Day ceremony.

The staff aims to inspire their students to work hard and become leaders in their Tribes and communities. They hope focusing on culturally relevant curriculum helps the students carry pride for their heritage and valuable life lessons with them wherever they go in the future.

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