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Connie Michael is a fifth-grade teacher at Crow Agency Public School in Crow Agency, Montana, who will be using her $3,125.92 grant for “American Prairie Science” to give students the opportunity to learn about the importance of their historical lands and traditional plants and animals that reside there with they create a native plant/medicine wheel garden.
Her grant mission is to immerse students in the land of their ancestors, noting that Montana has one of the last four grass prairies left in the world. “The prairie has provided the indigenous people with everything they need for survival. The tribes have a connection to the land and through this project students will have the opportunity to learn about the resources of the prairie and how to respect the land and water as well as create a mini-prairie environment in a garden.
“This grant project is needed in our school community in order to help the students get back to their cultural roots. Our community is riddled with diabetes due to the community moving away from traditional foods. Getting elders and traditional gardeners into the classroom can help students understand the importance of returning to the land. Native students thrive with the opportunities to learn the cultural significance of land and water. They gain strength from their language, traditions and the land they live on.”