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Chamberlain School Board To Vote On Allowing Lakota Honor Song

December 9, 2013, 6:42 PM by Jared Ransom

Chamberlain School Board To Vote On Allowing Lakota Honor Song
May 2013

CHAMBERLAIN, SD -

A Lakota honor song was kept out of the graduation ceremony in the Chamberlain School District last year, a decision that was met with frustration and protest.  This year, the district is voting on whether to allow the song at graduation, and that vote takes place Monday night.

Students in the Chamberlain School District presented the school board with a petition last year, hoping they would consider adding the Lakota honor song to the graduation ceremony.  That petition was met with a 6 to 1 vote not allowing the song.

That vote brought with it significant controversy as protests took place in Chamberlain before and after the graduation ceremony in May.  The petition was started by the students because, they say, the song honors everyone for their hard work and dedication toward education.

When explaining their vote last year, school board members had concern about possible religious context and whether the song truly included everyone.

The decision by the district strained the relationship between the tribe and the district, leading to some tribal members pushing for a boycott of some Chamberlain businesses and the removal of millions of dollars from a tribal fund at a local bank.

The honor song was sung outside of the graduation ceremony last year, but they hope that it can be included in the regular festivities this year.

The school board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Chamberlain High School.

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