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Grand Portage charter school takes education beyond classroom walls

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Grand Portage charter school takes education beyond classroom walls Grand Portage charter school takes education beyond classroom walls
GRAND PORTAGE, MN -

Far off the main road and surrounded by woods, lies the Eagle's Marsh wetland where wild rice grows.

You'll only find it if you know where to look.

For students at the Oshki Ogimaag charter school in Grand Portage, field trips to Eagle's Marsh are becoming a tradition.

"A part of wild ricing is teaching the culture and extending the culture to them," Carmen Keyport, the school's Director said.

Located on the Grand Portage Reservation, the Oshki Ogimaag charter school opened in 2009 and is funded mainly through the state, just like other public schools.

But Keyport said its unique curriculum separates Oshki from other Cook County schools. 

"We just really try to keep the Anishinaabe culture going. We don't want the culture or the language to die out, which is why we offer the Ojibwe language to all the students every day," Keyport said. 

Twenty students, Kindergarten through 6th grade, fill the Oshki Ogimaag classrooms.

But on field trip day, students put on their boots, board the bus and travel to Eagle's Marsh. 

Using traditional tools, and riding in a canoe, students could harvest wild rice firsthand.

"You have to actually take one knocker and pull it towards you and then you've got to take the other knock," one student said. 

"It's a lot of work. We got a little bowl out of going all the way across the rivers, back and forth, we got a little bowl," another student explained.

Teaching students the Ojibwe language at Oshki Ogimaag also helps continue the native culture.

"Keep the language alive in the community, so they can have a better connection too with their past and their upbringing," Ojibwe language teacher Dan Verin said. 

A field trip students won't forget. Incorporating culture into the curriculum at Oshki Ogimaag.

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