Sixth grade in Minnesota traditionally means a lot of learning about lakes and iron ore and Scandinavian immigrants, and usually there's a field trip to the State Capitol thrown in.
But the part of the state's history that deals with its first nations is either glossed over or skipped altogether, and in addition to leaving non-native students clueless about a large part of Minnesota's past - and a large part of our population - it makes Native students feel as though their experience has been erased.
Enter MiniSota Makoce, a curriculum being test-driven around the state this year (including in Carlton) to teach (particularly non-native students) about the Dakota values of caring for the land as a relative and Dakota environmental teachings and philosophies. In addition, thinking about Minnesota as a Dakota place will give kids a chance to think about their own connection to place.
In addition, it's a resource-rich, inexpensive way for teachers to meet the state mandate to educate students about the Dakota and Anishinabe people who were already here when settlers arrived.