New Indian school in Leech Lake is a lesson in leadership
Wednesday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for new high school on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation is a testament not only to Minnesota political teamwork, but to the hard work of the school’s students.
For more than a decade, advocates have pushed federal officials to replace the dilapidated pole barn that has served as the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School for roughly 30 years. The Bug school, as it’s known locally, is part of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
Chronic underfunding for new buildings left the Bug school and roughly a third of the 183-school BIE system rated in poor condition, a disgrace detailed in the 2014 Star Tribune series “Separate and Unequal.” Students at the Bug school, such as Seneca Keezer and Chaz Roper, found themselves in a national spotlight at a young age, playing host to numerous visiting politicians, federal officials and journalists.