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Through Video, Lakota Students Reject Stereotypes

Feather Rae Colombe (from left) appeared in the Lakota student video <em>More Than That</em>. Kim Bos is a video technology teacher who helped produce the video. Student John Whirlwind Soldier directed the video.
Jim Kent
Feather Rae Colombe (from left) appeared in the Lakota student video More Than That. Kim Bos is a video technology teacher who helped produce the video. Student John Whirlwind Soldier directed the video.

Unhappy with portrayals of Native Americans in mainstream media, a group of students from South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Reservation created a video to show that their community is about more than alcoholism, broken homes and crime.

The students are visiting Washington, D.C., on Monday to lobby Congress for increased funding for schools on reservations.

Filmed in black and white, the student-produced video More Than That takes viewers through the hallways, classrooms and gymnasium of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation's county high school.

Using their bodies as signposts, the students explain that they're more than stock images of poverty, alcoholism and violence. With words drawn on their hands, arms and faces, they share the traits that describe who they really are: humor, intelligence, creativity — and the list goes on.

The point the students are trying to make, says English teacher Heather Hanson, is that they're not victims.

The nonprofit National Association of Federally Impacted Schools invited the Lakota students to attend its winter conference Monday in Washington, D.C. While in town, the students will also lobby South Dakota's congressional representatives.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jim Kent is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y. A freelance writer and radio journalist who currently lives in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Jim can be heard on a variety of radio programs including National Public Radio, South Dakota Public Radio, and National Native News Radio. He is also a columnist for the Rapid City Journal and a guest columnist for the Lakota Country Times.

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