In between depicting Cara Dutton and Jacob Dutton trying to keep their family and the Yellowstone ranch afloat, the series “1923” has kept viewers riveted with a story snatched from history. This is the story of early-20th century American Indian boarding schools. Since the very first episode, viewers have been horrified to see Teonna Rainwater suffer abuse at the hands of her Catholic boarding school’s teachers. Though Teonna faced her perpetrators with defiance, she suffered immensely before ultimately killing her abusers and making her escape in last month’s midseason finale. This left fans cheering loud for Teonna’s long-awaited escape. Meanwhile, in the show’s most recent episode, Teonna flees through the wilderness and hydrates herself at a freshwater stream, all while creating a makeshift compasses and warding off wolves. Teonna’s story has been thrilling, but it was also inspired by a dark chapter in American history. While “1923” has admirably refused to shy away from this reality, it has also refrained from depicting its most gruesome elements.
South Dakota State University was the only college that sent recruiters to the reservation during Traelene Fallis’ junior year at Crow Creek Tribal School. So, she only applied to SDSU. “It just felt like they actually wanted me to be here,” Fallis said. “They were doing all these things because they saw the potential in us.” Fallis was among the first graduating class of SDSU Wokini scholars last spring. The five-year-old Wokini Initiative is a program intended to create better support systems, higher enrollment and improved graduation rates for Native American students. So far, the initiative has accomplished just that. As of July 2022, SDSU is the only Board of Regents university to see an increase in Native American enrollment since 2017, and has seen an increase in Native American retention and graduation rates as well.
Those are your headlines at this hour. I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.