While many were able to spend their Thanksgiving weekend fighting with their family about long-buried secrets and stewing resentments, vandals spent it trashing a middle and high school primarily serving Native American students in South Minneapolis.
According to a GoFundMe page set up for the Nawayee Center School on Monday, the damage was extensive and bizarrely personal:
Our school was trashed, our vans were stolen, beautiful artwork that our students have been working on for months was vandalized, and our hamster was taken.
Yes, a school that serves indigenous children was trashed and robbed during a holiday weekend for white people to celebrate the myth of collaboration between Native Americans and their European colonizers to feel better about their ancestors trashing and robbing an entire continent.
But according to a report provided to Splinter by the Minneapolis Police Department, five juvenile suspects, who are both male and female, have been identified in the vandalism—two of whom are students at the school. Two of the suspects (it’s not clear which two) have been arrested by University of Minnesota Police and all of the items stolen have been recovered except for one van, and, sadly, the hamster.
Named for an Ojibwe word that means “the center,” the Nawayee school “work[s] with students to find their center and find our collective center in the Indian community,” according to its website. The school integrates Native culture with instruction in art, spirituality, and other areas along with elective classes like drumming and beadwork.
Community members have rallied to the school’s aid, blasting past its $10,000 fundraising goal in just 24 hours.
“We posted a modest goal yesterday having no idea that the outpouring of support from our community would be so great. The students and staff at Nawayee are incredibly grateful for everyone’s help during this event that shook our school,” the GoFundMe’s organizer wrote in an update on the fundraising page.