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 Blackfeet language connects students to their culture. He wants to encourage learning in the classroom and in the community. “I think it comes hand and hand with culture and the language being able to intertwine with each other.”
Student Mykendall Scabby Robe said he sees how learning the language has benefited him: "I think its important because it helps me connect more with my culture."
Superintendent Mike Tatsey explained that they are stressing the importance of the language now because many members of their administration are tribal members and can share their knowledge.
“We haven’t always stressed the importance of it because over the years we have had mostly non-tribal members as administrators We have had some non tribal-administrators that thought it was important 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”.
Heart Butte High School also received a grant for Blackfeet language classes, which they will use to put up signs to help students learn everyday terms.
The school's goal is to have teachers and students to speak to each other in the Blackfeet language regularly.