Dreamstarter JoRee LaFrance updates us on her Dreamstarter Project

The school year always starts out with our Crow Fair celebration in August. Equivalent to New Years, Crow Fair is a time where we come together with our families to remember and honor those who have come before and our culture. I had the opportunity to meet with some elders who supported my “Apsàalooke Voices and Stories” project. Along with that, I had the awesome opportunity to give away schools supplies to Crow students. I wanted to be creative with the giveaway so I decided to give away the backpacks during the parade that happens every morning.

I loaded the backpacks onto a flatbed and decorated my float. We waited until it was our turn to join the parade and right away our float was a hit. We had students of all ages running to us and asking for backpacks! I could not believe the big smiles and huge thanks that I received from the kids! It was something that I will always cherish. I felt the love and hope that our children had inside them. I could not be happier with the outcome of that give away.


People were refreshed and rejuvenated after we started our Crow New Year and it was not too long after that school was back in session. At St. Labre Indian Catholic High School, I helped the students become familiar with Inkscape. Where each student will take tutorial lessons on the graphic designing software, Inkscape, to better familiarize them with technology. The tutorials were implemented into the curriculum of the Crow language class at St. Labre. After the students are comfortable with the software, they will soon start on the illustrations of their books. In the meantime, students plan to collect stories from either their elders or in Crow texts. Wherein, they will create short story lines from a story of their choice. With the high school, we are using today’s technology to preserve stories and knowledge while reflecting the traditional identities of the Apsàalooke. The project goal is to promote cultural preservation through the use of traditional storytelling, creative writing, and graphic design. Crow students will not only be preserving traditional knowledge but will acquire skills that may use in the future. Students were excited to start on the project and were pumped that their work would actually be published!



At Crow Agency Public School, I am working with elementary students who are interested in participating in my project. This is going to be an afterschool program where students will learn how to draw and paint where those skills acquired will be used to create illustrations for their short story lines. The storytelling series will be implemented into the afterschool program as well as short Crow lessons. Some students plan to create their books based off the importance of their Crow names and how they interpret them. Both students and teachers are excited to begin this program! I was also super happy and proud to see some students rocking the backpacks that we gave away during the Crow Fair parade!



I am excited to see how the outcome of this yearlong project will be! We hope to use this story telling series and the final book to not alone preserve these traditional Crow stories and identities but to promote literacy by creating a book that reflect students and where they come from.


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