South Dakota Senate defeats Native American language and culture bill for schools

February 2, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A proposal to allow four schools that would teach Oceti Sakowin language and culture failed to pass the South Dakota Senate.

The decision by a majority of senators to kill the bill for the schools represented a setback for Native educators and parents who had worked in recent years to start the schools.

They were addressing a disproportionate drop-out rate among Native Americans and what they described as a legacy of “oppression” in government-run schools.

The bill faced opposition by groups representing school districts that said the proposal was in essence charter schools that would drain funds from the districts.