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BHSU students collaborate with Western Heritage Center to develop educational kits

Educational kits created by Black Hills State University students will be showcased at an open house Saturday, Dec. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at the High Plains Western Heritage Center. The kits were created in the South Dakota Indian Studies and Human Relations classes at BHSU.

The students collaborated with the Western Heritage Center, studying cultures and how they impact historical and contemporary issues using the James Banks method of multicultural research. After studying their particular topics, the students designed kits for use by visitors to the Center or for classrooms. Topics include: horses, tipi etiquette, plants, beadwork, Crazy Horse, Lakota women, winter counts, stagecoaches, brands, barbed wire, and the Pony Express.

There are 13 kits that will be donated along with compact discs (CDs) that contain research and directions to duplicate the Western Heritage Center experience in the classroom if teachers are not able to visit the Center. These kits will also be used by the Summer Exploration Institute that is hosted by BHSU in July.

According to Dr. Mary Jones, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at BHSU, the goal of the experience is for pre-service teachers to understand the process and be excited about sharing this process with their students in the future. This assignment challenges students to explore their own culture and to maintain the integrity of other cultures in their research and the design of educational experiences for others.

The High Plains Western Heritage Center is located off I-90 at exit 14 in Spearfish. For more information, contact 642-9378.

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