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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Shining a light on the American Indian Youth Intertribal Council

Park gives Indigenous students a safe space
Alex Hoag
Seniors Connor Cloud and Alan Richardson attend the American Indian Youth Intertribal Council meeting Feb. 16. During the meeting, senior class counselor Sara Lindsay came in and discussed potential college scholarships with the group.

Cultures and groups may oftentimes be overlooked in an average suburban school setting. However, the formation of councils much like the American Indian Youth Intertribal Council at Park (AIYIC) can help students learn more about their culture, as well as others. The council has been building a safe space for students of native backgrounds to meet ever since 2020.

Senior Malcolm Drumbeater said the council was created to help people like him learn more about their own heritage with the help of a welcoming group of peers. He said the range of knowledge has helped him to unfold various types of opportunities for his future.

“It’s pretty much reconnecting us with our heritage that was lost. For a long time I’ve always thought that we were alone. We’d hardly ever see any resemblance to the culture or traditions that I never knew anything about until finally I got with this group,” Drumbeater said. “They welcomed me into the community and helped me see a little bit more about what my culture is about. They also helped me see a lot of opportunities that I didn’t see before, like college opportunities.”

According to senior Dreyson Berg, the focus of the council is to not only learn, but to understand multiple aspects of the indigenous culture.

“The council is all about connecting with an indigenous culture, learning about its origins and its purpose,” Berg said.

Advisor Julia McBride-Bibby said the council also offers help to students that may not get the assistance they need from home.

“Some people are lucky enough to have parents or caregivers that are knowledgeable about colleges and next steps, and help them plan and stay on top of things, but so many kids don’t have that,” McBride-Bibby said. “It’s just helping them support what their goals are (and) gaining confidence in their skillset.”

According to Drumbeater, the group has provided him with increased knowledge of colleges connected to their culture.

“The council this start of the year has started to look a little bit more into colleges,” Drumbeater said. “We recently had the college fair that showed us about 49 or more colleges (connected to native culture) and originally I only knew maybe two to three or so.”

McBride-Bibby said she has been proud to see the members of the council accept the group as a place of comfort.

“The most important thing I’ve heard from them is how they feel like they have found a community, and that’s important, especially in high school, to keep people engaged and to keep them wanting to be here,” McBride-Bibby said. “You have to have a purpose for being here.”

Berg said he hopes that with the focus of the group being on college this year, through the council, he will be able to have the resources to help him make those big decisions.

“I’d like to find a sense of direction, where I want to go,” Berg said. “My life after high school is a big part of that.”

Drumbeater said he hopes to be able to use the resources offered to help him fulfill all that he wants to achieve after highschool.

“For the end of this year, I’m just looking to graduate high school and maybe look into one of those opportunities that I was shown and make use of it to better my life, and possibly ones of future generations,” Drumbeater said.

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Ayelel Meyen, Photo Editor
Hi, my name is Ayelel and I'm a senior. I am a photo editor this semester! After school, you will likely find me at practice whether it’s cross country, nordic, or track & field:). Outside of my sports I like to spend time with friends🫂, my pets🐕, and time outside🏞.🥍🎾⛷🏊🏐.
Taylor Voigt, Copy Editor
Hi! My name is Taylor and I’m a junior. This is my second year on Echo and my first year of being a copy editor. Outside of school I enjoy playing hockey, reading, and spending time with friends. I’m excited for what this year will bring!
Alex Hoag, Copy Editor
Hi! I’m Alex and this is my second year in Echo. I’m a junior and am so excited to be a part of the newspaper! In my spare time I enjoy playing guitar, listening to music and perfecting my Dave Grohl shrine. Some of my goals this year are to write the most bomb peices and re-watch every episode of New Girl (for the 12th time). I’m super thrilled to be on the team this semester!

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