Monday, May 15, 2006

European Students Visit Native American Indian Sights

Last summer, four high school students from Rapid City, South Dakaota, spent a week in Austria and Germany. Last month, Austrian students and teachers traveled to South Dakota where Native American Lakota families, teachers, and students opened their homes to them. The 22 students and 2 teachers from the Graz International Bilingual School spent a week of tours, socializing and attending area events. This student exchange was directed through Central High School’s Lakota-Austrian Youth Exchange Program. The program has dispelled many myths the Austrians have about Native American Indians. “It’s surprising, but a lot of the students we met in Austria thought we still lived in tipis and wear buckskin clothing,” said Susana Geliga, who founded the exchange program in 2004. Geliga said the Austrian group toured the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Wounded Knee, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Deadwood and a pow-wow at Black Hills State University. They also hiked in the Badlands and Custer State Park.

Some European countries like Germany have a fascination about Native American Indian culture. Free Spirit Gallery, an online art gallery specializing in Native American art recently announced the launch of part of its website in German. There's a link to the German pages at the home page of the Free Spirit Gallery website.

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