Our Story

C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi

(Lower Sioux Children are Sacred School)

C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi – Lower Sioux Early Head Start and Head Start was created to meet a need for increased cultural connections and wrap-around services to target families with a need for resources and early child care.

In conducting community surveys and focus groups over the past year, the number one call from the community is for increased cultural connections. Over 75% of families with young children expressed strong interest in a free, culturally-based high-quality early education program.

Lower Sioux CWOO Main Logo

Once we received federal and state grant dollars to plan, hire staff, create policy, obtain training, and conduct renovation, we thankfully opened doors on August 1, 2018. We have now finished our first year of operation and are in our second year serving 83 children and families with 60 in the center, 11 home-based, and 12 expectant families. We are looking to build with and for the community for this school to raise the next generation of Dakota language speakers to thus strengthen our community’s sovereignty and overall well-being.

About Us

Early Head Start and Head Start is a wrap-around evidence-based early learning program for children ages birth to 5 years. We provide wrap-around services that integrate education, physical health, nutrition, mental health, and family/community engagement. Longitudinal research demonstrates many positive social, educational, and economic benefits for Head Start participants.

Our Mission

To raise the next generation of Dakota Language Speakers and to promote school readiness by enhancing the social, emotional and cognitive development of the most at risk children. The GOAL is to provide to children and their families health, educational, nutritional, social and other services that are determined to be necessary based upon the family needs assessments.



To establish an effective and meaningful learning environment through the provision of Dakota-Immersion, education, health, nutrition, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Dakota language and lifeways drives the learning environment. Staff, teachers, parents, and children will learn and speak the language together while raising our waḳaƞyeża, our children.

Our goal is to be completely in Dakota in 5 years.

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Our Language

"Dakota Iapi kiƞhaƞ sdodkiyapi kte." When they speak the Dakota language, then they will know who they are.

Our Tribe

C̣aƞṡayapi (where they paint the trees red), also known legally as the Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota is a federally-recognized Dakota tribe.

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