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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We Have Ways Of Making A Difference

By Brenna Gerhardt, Executive Director, North Dakota Humanities Council

I want to share with you a few of the programs your generosity made possible:

"Playing with Mahpiya [Clouds]"
 Photo by Lakhol'iyapi Hohpi, Lakota Language Nest, at Sitting Bull College, Nov. 7, 2012. 

On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation a three-year-old child is learning to speak the language of her ancestors from an elder who is one of the remaining people in the world who can speak fluent Lakota, an indigenous language spoken by Hunkpapa Sioux since time unknown.  The girl is taking part in a new language immersion preschool program that seeks to ensure the wisdom of the past is not lost for future generations.

Kristi Rendahl

Kristi Rendahl travels the world working to end the practice of torture. She invites the most remarkable people she meets during her travels back to her hometown of Rugby to talk about critical issues facing the global community through the program Prairie Talks. She started the project to connect common-sense people in the heart of North Dakota to common-sense people from around the world who share the same interest: to better understand ourselves and our neighbors so we can work together for a better tomorrow.

Dr. Terrence Roberts

On September 4, 1957, Terrance Roberts, an African American student seeking a better education was turned away at the doors of Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, by the National Guard and a horde of angry white protesters who did not want to see black students educated alongside their children. It was a pivotal moment in America’s civil rights movement that directly involved a federal judge from North Dakota, Ronald N. Davies. The court decisions rendered by Davies would change the course of public school integration in our country making the dream of equality a reality for Roberts and future generations. Today, Dr. Roberts is involved in creating a curriculum for students across North Dakota to learn about these events and the lessons of justice and civility they embody.

These programs and many more, all currently sponsored by the North Dakota Humanities Council, help us fulfill our mission to transform lives and strengthen communities by offering educational and cultural experiences that allow everyone the opportunity to reach their full human potential. Our ability to offer these meaningful programs depends in large part on the generosity of a thoughtful and caring community.

Please include the North Dakota Humanities Council in your holiday giving so we can continue our important work. A gift of $40, $60, $100 or more will go a long way in helping make lifelong learning a cornerstone of life in North Dakota.  Use the enclosed courtesy envelope and mail your contribution today.

On behalf of the lives that are charged by your generosity, thank you.

Best Wishes,


Brenna Gerhardt, Executive Director

p.s. According to the mother of the little girl learning Lakota, “I really see in her hope, now. We have a drug and alcohol free home and she’s learning the language and the ceremonies. We’re breaking the cycle; that’s the hope.” That is the power of the humanities to transform lives and strengthen communities.

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