‘Let’s all speak Cree’: Digital Academy creates online Native language courses

Nora Mabie

On a clear day in April, Anna East hopped in a truck with Mike Geboe, who drove to the nearest sweet grass enclosure on the Rocky Boy Reservation. The sun was warm, but there was still snow on the ground.

Together, they stood in a field, as Geboe told East all about sweet grass. He spoke of its cultural uses. He repeated the Cree word for the plant: “Wikwahskwah.” East listened, photographed the plant and recorded Geboe speaking. A dog trotted by and sat on her feet. The dog basked in the sun as the meadowlarks sang.

Anna East, tribal relations and education fellow with the Montana Digital Academy, talks about her work with the Digital Academy and Montana’s tribes creating digital language courses. Over the past year, East has been designing courses for each Native language in Montana.

ANTONIO IBARRA, Lee Newspapers

Geboe is a Class 7 Cree language instructor, meaning he is licensed to teach in public K-12 schools statewide. And East, who was an educator on the Flathead Reservation for 22 years and the 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year, is a tribal relations and education fellow at the Montana Digital

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