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"It takes more than one draft," she said.

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"If you can count to 10, you can count to millions and billions, but you have to learn to count to 10 first," he instructs the students.

Students in Westerman's session were learning to turn sights and sounds into poetry. The students sat in silence outside in the park, then jotted down words with the goal of moving beyond a literal description of the experience into using poetic language to describe it.

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The students ended each of the two days with a walk in the state park. The first day's walk was with park naturalists describing the history and nature of the park. Boada, Westerman and Wasicuna led the walk on the second day from the Dakota perspective, telling the stories of the park that included the internment camp of more than 1,600 Dakota during the Dakota War of 1862 and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, where the Dakota believe their creation took place.

learn and speak the language well.

a student explains that she struggled with trying to use language to create a beautiful art form.

"It's a sacred language," he concludes. "It comes from the Creator."

Students were learning traditional Anishinaabe beadwork by stitching a pattern bead by bead on a piece of square fabric, as visual artist Julie Kastigar Boada provided help when needed.

The seminar was created by St. Paul arts organization ArtStart and Perpich Center's Arts and Cultural Context program, and funded by a legacy grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

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He is exact on pronunciation, having the students repeat the same word multiple times until it is perfect.

Edina High School English teacher Sally Larkins celebrates scoring a point for her team during a game that involved pointing to a number on the board after it was said aloud in Dakota. The students learned the alphabet, numbers and Minnesota city names in Dakota from native Dakota speaker Glenn Wasicuna. The Dakota language session was part of the seminar Beneath the Surface April 9 10 at Fort Snelling State Park. (Sun Current photo by Lisa Kaczke)

Julie Kastigar Boada, a visual artist and puppeteer, helps Edina High School students create traditional Anishinaabe beadwork. The beading session was part of the seminar Beneath the Surface April 9 10 at Fort Snelling State Park. (Sun Current staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

But having students complete the sessions in a classroom felt disjointed and was missing the feeling of a place sacred to the Dakota that the teachers felt. ArtStart hadn't done the program in the state park with a secondary school before, and so they worked to narrow the two weeks the teachers had completed into three sessions for the inaugural seminar.

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The next lesson came as students had someone else read the poem they wrote out loud to them. Westerman instructed them to listen to the rhythm and flow of their writing to learn what parts of their poems needed to be rewritten. Revision is part of the writing process, Westerman said, showing a marked up poem she wrote.


The pre Advanced Placement English teachers participated in the same program for two weeks during the summer in 2012. When they received the grant last year, they decided to bring it into the classroom, said EHS English teacher Jackie Roehl. They had Boada, Dakota poet Gwen Westerman and Dakota linguist Glenn Wasicuna visit their classroom over a three week period.

Nearby, students were learning the alphabet, numbers and Minnesota's town names in Dakota with Wasicuna, one of only a handful of native Dakota language speakers left in the United Nike Air Max Uptempo 97 For Sale

Back inside the visitors center, Nike Air Max Uptempo Fuse 360 Release Date

"We speak from the heart when we speak Dakota," he said.

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The session was part of Beneath the Surface, a two day seminar meant to provide 55 Edina High School students with hands on learning in literature, art, language, ecology and history April 9 10 in the setting of Fort Snelling State Park.

Dakota poet Gwen Westerman speaks to students about writing poetry after students wrote their own poems on what they saw and heard in Fort Snelling State Park. The session was part of the seminar Beneath the Surface April 9 10 at the state Park. (Sun Current staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

He later sits down in front of the students and asks, "The Dakota language, where do you think it came from?"

The Creator gave the Dakota words so they could speak to the Creator, he explains.

It's not like the brain, telling them to do or say whatever they want, he said. But speaking from the heart means they must Uptempo Nike Air Atl

A sacred place

Edina Nike Uptempo For Cheap students gather for a group photo in front of Fort Snelling State Park visitor center after a two day seminar. (Submitted photo)

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