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February 16, 2012 05:55 PM

Students Show They Are 'More Than That'

mission, sd


For years, problems on South Dakota's Indian Reservations have captured the attention of a global audience.

That prompted students on the Rosebud Reservation to make a video, saying that in spite of the struggles they face, they're more than that.

When Miss Hanson's speech class had to come up with a topic for an assignment on non-verbal communication, they decided to focus on an aspect of life on the reservation that doesn't get much press.

"Let's talk about what we have here. Let's talk about all of these great things that we have that nobody ever gets to see because nobody's ever really looking for it," Todd County Teacher Heather Hanson said.

With the help of the school's media production class, the students at Todd County High School created a short video titled, 'More Than That.'

"I thought it would just be around locally and maybe a few people would hear it, like family members or the people we told," 12th grader Feather Colombe said.

What started out as a simple assignment has turned into so much more. Now it's teaching people across the world.

After the school posted 'More Than That' on YouTube, it didn't take long for them to see how popular the video was becoming. In fact, it received so many hits that the website's counter couldn't keep up at first.

"The next time we look it jumped to 700. Then something else happened and it was up to 1,000. And now we're up to like 43,000 views," Hanson said.

"I was a little taken back and surprised that that would happen. And it took us maybe a week to do it," 10th grader Thayne Allen said.

"It blew my mind," Colombe said.

On February 25th, six of the students are flying to Washington D.C. to present the video at an education conference.

"I have all these feelings, it's just unbelievable. I never thought that I would have this opportunity," Colombe said.

Because even though there are issues on the state's reservations, these students don't want to be defined by them.

"Us natives, we really haven't been able to get out the positive side, you know? It's just been a lot of negative publicity. So for me to be a part of this voice, I'm really proud," Colombe said.

"Whether they're rich in the bank or not, these people here are wealthy, and they're loving, and they're caring, and they're full of culture and family. It's great, and that's what people need to see," Hanson said.

To take a look at 'More Than That' for yourself, click here.
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