“There is no handbook on how to save your tribal language, so you figure it out”
Darrell Robes Kipp
Piegan Institute Founder
The schools are all called Nizi PuhWah Sin meaning, “real speak” referring to the language of the people. To “real speak” means to speak the Blackfoot Language very well and poetically. People who “real speak” are known within the tribe and the language as Nizi ta piks, or “real people”.
The sole purpose of the Nizi Puh Wah Sin program is to teach children to speak the Blackfoot language without passing judgment on their intellectual abilities.
The schools are commonly referred to as Cuts Wood School
THE MOCCASIN FLAT SCHOOL
The Moccasin Flat School is named for the neighborhood in which it is located. At the turn of the 20th Century, the federal government settled all the older Blackfeet in Browning, the agency town, and built two rows of log homes for them directly west of the school. The small lake west of the school was the site of the last Medicine Lodge encampment in the Browning area. The community became known as Moccasin Flat and the school is named after the community in honor of the elders who lived there.
Cuts Wood School
Cuts Wood School was named for a Blackfeet man who was raised by his sister. As a boy he was playing alone by the river when another boy approached him. The boy taught Cuts Wood many things about the sacred ways of the Blackfeet and gave him power. He told Cuts Wood that any time he traveled he would be protected if he kept track of his days traveling by notching a stick. Cuts Wood grew to be a successful member of the tribe and shared much of the knowledge he learned with his fellow tribal members. The boy who taught him the sacred songs and game him power was Morning Star.
Lost Children School
Lost Children School is named after a story in Blackfeet oral tradition. Because the chief's selfish son told a lie about a group of children, the children were left behind when their camp moved. During their abandonment they had many adventures as they tried to find their camp. A sister and brother soon became the leaders of the children and gained great power. Through their power they were able to build a new way of life.