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Meskwaki Nation celebrates new high school

Long-Sought Vision Becomes Reality On The Settlement

August 27, 2009
John Speer, Editor
MORE PHOTOS - CLICK CU - or follow link accompanying this article. T AMA NEWS-HERALD - "Go Meskwaki Warriors!" - Declaring the day "more important than the opening of the (Meskwaki) Casino," Jon Papakee, vice chair of the Sac and Fox Tribal Council, said last Friday marked "two decades of dreams coming true." His remarks were made before a brand new gymnasium full of students, teachers, Tribal members and guests. The gym is part of a 108,000 sq. ft. high school addition to the Meskwaki Settlement School.

Papakee said the school "ensures the educational opportunities and possibilities of each student and the Meskwaki Nation and future generations. The Meskwaki Nation will continue to thrive and prosper and have a solid foundation to build upon. This is our Meskwaki heritage." The futuristic school addition combines just that - cutting-edge of technology facilities combined with a curriculum which includes Native American culture and values. Harlan Brown, chairman of the Board of Education, and Homer Bear, past Tribal chair, both praised the new building and spoke of the Tribal elders and members who had long envisioned the prospect of such a school. Darin Knapp, a spokesperson for the builder, Kuntson Construction, Iowa City, said the design carried the cultural theme. He said the classrooms reflected a "relationship to nature" and Tribal art work was intentionally part of the design. Jerry Stephens, school superintendent, said numbers were final, but the enrollment was believed nearly double last year at the school. The school offers pre-kindergarten-12th grade classes. Students attending must be at least 25 percent Native American blood. In addition to classes, Meskwaki Warrior team swill compete in eight-man football, girls volleyball, girls and boys basketball and possibly other sports on the high school level. The building was paid for by about $17 million in Tribal funds and $6 million from the Bureau if Indian Affairs.

Article Photos

Sac and Fox Tribal Council members join Harlan Brown, president of the Board of Education, in ushering in the new high school on the settlement last Friday with a ribbon cutting. A long ribbon was unrolled to encircle the gymnasium floor with students, parents and guests also joining in. From left are Tribal Council members Don Wanatee, Frank Blackcloud, Brown, and Jon Papakee, Council vice chairman.
News-Herald/John Speer



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