Minnesota Humanities Center

Teaching Bdote

Tools for Teaching American Indian Content

Teaching Bdote: Tools for Teaching American Indian Content is designed for educators who have attended, or are planning to attend, Learning from Place: Bdote. This workshop is especially useful for developing unique classroom content to align with Minnesota State Social Studies Standards.

Offered in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, this workshop will address the concerns and anxieties that non-indigenous educators may have around teaching Dakota content. Educators will leave with new resources and content, deeper understanding, and the beginnings of an action plan to bring students on a Bdote trip or to bring the experience into the classroom.

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Eden Bart


Bdote – Bdote is a Dakota word that generally means “where two waters come together.” The bdote where Ȟaȟáwakpa (Mississippi River) and the Mnísota Wakpá (Minnesota River) come together is central to Dakota spirituality and history.


Participants are expected to attend the entirety of the workshop.

Participants should be prepared and open to hear new and difficult narratives and histories, and understand that discomfort is an integral part of the learning and growing process.


Workshop participants will leave with:
An understanding of the negative impact exclusion from the state’s history and narrative have on Dakota individuals and communities.

Increased awareness of their own conscious and unconscious biases.
Tools and resources to better engage their students in a fuller history of Minnesota and the Twin Cities.

2.5 clock hours for K-12 educators.


Ramona Kitto Stately

Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. Her educational background includes a BA in Dakota Art and Culture, and a MAE-Teacher Leadership. She worked in Indian Education for the Osseo Area School District 2005-2020 and has been the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2018. Currently she serves as the Project Director of We Are Still Here MN.

Ethan Neerdaels

Ethan Neerdaels, Bdewakantunwan Dakota, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – American Indian Studies/Dakota Language programs. He currently coordinates the Indian Education program at Osseo Area Schools and works with Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, a 501c3 dedicated to reversing the trend of language loss and raising future generations of Dakota speakers.

Sherry Kempf

Sherry Kempf (she,her) has taught in Saint Paul Public Schools for 30 years as a classroom teacher and is currently a member of the Office of Equity. As part of her work in Saint Paul, she collaborated with the Minnesota Humanities Center in developing several curriculum projects highlighting Absent Narratives. One of these is the Bdote Learning Experience, a unit of study that examines Minnesota history through a Dakota lens. It culminates in a day-long Bdote field trip, and has become a required element of the SPPS social studies curriculum for fifth grade.

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