Student Kayden Buckanaga performs song at a ceremony at Northeast Middle School, where about two dozen Native American students are transferring this fall. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Northeast welcomes Native American students from Anishinabe

Updated: September 6, 2017 – 9:40 am

Northeast Middle School held a ceremony Aug. 24 to welcome about two-dozen new Native American students to the building.

Teachers and staff learned about Native American language and resources available to Native American students. The ceremony came as the Northeast prepared for the arrival of students from Anishinabe Academy, a Minneapolis public school that focuses on Native American language and culture.

Anishinabe switched from a grades K–8 school to a grades K–5 school this year because of low enrollment at the middle school level. That made it hard for the school to provide robust course offerings to middle school students, Principal Laura Sullivan said.

Conversation about switching to a K–5 model began about five years ago, Sullivan said. It didn’t go anywhere then but restarted a couple years ago when Northeast principal Vernon Rowe noticed a lack of support programming for Native American families on the north side of Minneapolis.

Sullivan said she trusts Rowe to help lead the transition for the transferring students. Some students will also be going to Sanford Middle School in southeast Minneapolis.

Anishinabe served about 260 students in grades pre-K–8 last school year, including about 185 in grades pre-K–5. The school aims to help indigenous students integrate and reclaim their Native American identities, cultures and languages through authentic academic experiences, according to its website.