HEART BUTTE — Walking down the halls of Heart Butte High School Students and teachers are speaking to each other in their native tongue.
Heart Butte Language teacher Emmette DustyBull believes the language connects students to their culture. He doesn’t just want the learning to be in the classroom but in the community too.
“Blackfeet are just the smartest people on earth, and I think it comes with hand and hand culture and the language being able to intertwine with each other," said DustyBull
Student Mykendall Scabby Robe sees how learning the language benefits his life.
“I think it’s important because it helps me get better connect more with my culture…Helps me with elders. More elders are losing but most of them speak Blackfeet and I know a lot of people up in Canada who speak Blackfeet to me and if I learn my culture and learn my language, I will be better to communicate with them when they ask me to do things and it will just help me out and like help me out with my tribe and everything,” said Scabby Robe.
Superintendent Mike Tatsey explained why they are stressing the importance of the language now.
“We haven’t always stressed the importance of it because over the years we have had mostly non-tribal members administrator We have had some not tribal-administrator but it’s kind of a hit and miss. So, we have tried to come on strong with it. To get our kids to understand it’s importance,” said Tatsey.
Heart Butte also receive a grant for Blackfeet language classes which they will use to put up signs to help students learn everyday terms.
The high schools goal is to have teachers and students to speak to each other in Blackfeet language regularly.