The Black River Falls High School Student Senate and Waksik Wacek Club recently passed a resolution in support of the November designation of Native American Heritage Month.
The designation of November as National Native American Heritage month goes back to 1990 and is meant to raise awareness of the history and culture of American Indian people.
The Black River Falls High School has a significant Native American student population and the History and Social Studies Department has worked for years to more naturally integrate this part of history into the curriculum.
"Monthly designations such as this are good if they promote greater awareness and understanding," according to history teacher Paul Rykken. "On the other hand, we feel strongly that the many diverse voices that make up the American past be brought into our classes throughout the school year."
The Student Senate is in its 14th year and acts as a voice for students. 34 students were elected to the Senate in September under a new organizational structure. Each student represents their advising group.
The Waksik Wacek Club is a Native student organization that meets throughout the year. The term "Waksik Wacek" is Ho-Chunk. Last year, the Student Senate changed its Constitution to include Waksik Wacek as a parallel body, similar to the "government-to-government" relationship between Tribal Nations and the U.S. Government.
Arielle Whiteeagle is this year's president, Kyrah Holata is vice president and Alena Cornelius is serving as secretary. Minnie Lonetree, Rineah Williams and Naomi Falcon will all be assisting with communications.
Student Senate officers include President Nolan Plaisance, Vice-President Kim Leadholm, communications director Sonja VanAuken and secretary Maggie Roou. Eli Youngthunder and Paul Rykken co-advise both organizations. Desiree Pettibone and Forrest Funmaker also assist with Waksik Wacek.