Circle of Nations-Wahpeton Indian School celebrating 100 years

Dear Editor,

The Circle of Nations-Wahpeton Indian School will be celebrating its 100 Year Anniversary on May 21 and 22, 2008. Activities planned for the 100 Year Anniversary Reunion and Celebration include an opening program, dedication of the new dormitory, social, class pictures, tours of campus, performance by Williams and Ree, walk-run, pow-wow, and meals. The week is rounded out by the Eighth Grade Continuation Ceremony on May 23, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.

An Act of Congress created the Wahpeton Indian School in 1904.

Although the first buildings were completed in 1906, no children arrived until February 1908. The Wahpeton Indian School operated for many years as a year-round program, which emphasized farming, vocational, and domestic skills for boys and girls in grades one through nine.

In 1947, the school’s dairy herd was transferred to other Bureau of Indian Affairs installations and a regular academic program replaced the agricultural program. In the next four decades, all but 50 of the school’s original 300-plus acres were acquired by local concerns. College and high school sporting complexes and housing developments now occupy the school’s former fields and pastures.

New construction replaced the school’s original classroom, dormitory, and dining buildings from 1961 to 1971. By this time, reservation school systems were effectively serving most Native American children in their home communities. However, the need for boarding schools continued.

The Wahpeton Indian School converted to a tribal grant status on July 7, 1993. In 1994, the school became known as the Circle of Nations School. CNS currently serves students in grades four through eight from 28 tribal groups in 14 states, from Arizona to Washington, but primarily from ND, SD, MT, NE, WI, and MN. The school has a six member board. CNS is chartered under the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate governing body.

Information regarding the two day event can be found at: or by calling Sandi at 701-642-3796, ext. 228 or Shavonne at 701-642-3796, ext. 222. For information regarding the pow-wow, please call Winona at 701-642-3796, ext. 336.

Shavonne Wilkie
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