Partnering with the Minnesota Humanities Center, Osseo Area Schools is proud to present the “Why Treaties Matter” exhibit that features Dakota and Ojibwe people telling their stories of sovereignty, adaptability and sustainability. Students, staff and community members are invited to experience this powerful exhibit at Maple Grove Middle School, from 5:30-8 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 26. Maple Grove Middle School is located at 7000 Hemlock Ln. N in Maple Grove and the exhibit will take place in the second floor atrium.

Bring your whole family and explore the exhibit at your own pace. Dr. Ricky White, an Ojibwe elder and storyteller, will be hosting a special presentation from 7-7:30 p.m. 

This interactive, traveling exhibit is an exact replica of the newest permanent exhibit at the Minnesota State Capitol that acknowledges the Native nations of the State of Minnesota. Learn about contemporary, thriving Dakota and Ojibwe nations in Minnesota.

Maple Grove Middle School students will have the opportunity to view the exhibit in their social studies and English classes Sept. 23-27 and explore the themes of Minnesota history, tribal sovereignty and culture.

A collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, this project is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with a vote of the people of Minnesota in 2008 and The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation. 

Map of North America in 1766-1767 showing Native territories

Photo: The map above shows Native territories in North America in 1766-1767. 

bryan skavnak and studentsAt Fernbrook Elementary, school staff are hoping that four simple words will provide year-long inspiration for students: be the nice kid.

With assistance from Bryan Skavnak, author of the popular “Be the Nice Kid” quote, all students at Fernbrook wrapped up a whirlwind first week of school on Sept. 6 by sharing ideas about acts of kindness they can lead for others and learning the importance of, simply, being nice.

After hearing Skavnak speak, each student then contributed to a mural on the fence overlooking the Fernbrook playground. The design features the school’s eagle mascot with “Be the Nice Kid” boldly displayed in bright colors. Fernbrook has designated “be the nice kid” as a PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) theme this school year.

fernbrook mural and buddy benchThe recent addition of a Buddy Bench to the Fernbrook playground, purchased by the school’s PTO, will also help reiterate the themes of caring, kindness and respect among scholars. The Buddy Bench works like this: if a student is new to the school or cannot find anyone to play with, he or she can sit on the bench. When other students see someone sitting on the bench, they’re encouraged to invite their classmate to play—fostering greater inclusivity throughout the Fernbrook community.  

“One of the best ways to be the nice kid is to include other people,” Skavnak told students. “Find the positives in others. Be kind.”

TOP PHOTO: Bryan Skavnak, author of the "Be the Nice Kid" quote, speaks to second graders at Fernbrook Elementary on Sept. 6. 

BOTTOM PHOTO: Students contributed to a mural on the fence by the playground. The Fernbrook PTO also recently purchased a Buddy Bench for the school.