Students at Anpo Wicahpi Pine Ridge Girls’ School in February 2017. Photo: Pine Ridge Girls School
Education | National

Mary Annette Pember: School offers safe place for girls on Pine Ridge Reservation

The Anpo Wicahpi Pine Ridge Girls’ School is getting ready for its second year of educating girls on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember checks in as the school ponders expansion plans:
“It is not a question of if our students will go to college; it is a question of which college they will attend,” said Cindy Giago, Oglala Lakota, head of Anpo Wicahpi Pine Ridge Girls’ School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Anpo Wicahpi, Morning Star, signifies new beginnings in the Lakota language and is believed to be a source of strength for young women according to school leaders. Described as the first school of its kind by Anpo Wicahpi founders, the private school finished out its first year in Spring 2017 with 14 students from grades 6 and 7.

According to Giago, girls learn best in an all-girl environment. A girls’ school actively counteracts the negative and potentially dangerous influences of mass media and troubling depictions of women.

“It’s easier to be yourself around other girls. We can talk openly about our health and our bodies,” said Anpo Wicahpi student Tara Rouillard, 13.

“Our school is a safe haven for girls. It’s not only a college preparatory school with rigorous academic standards but also a place where girls can identify with the positive aspects of being Lakota,” Giago said.

Read More on the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Private Girls’ School on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Is ‘Safe Haven’ (Indian Country Media Network August 9, 2017)

Related Stories:
Lakota Country Times: School for girls prepares to open on Pine Ridge (July 15, 2016)