Money Skills Continue at Northern Cheyenne

Money Skills Continue at Northern Cheyenne
CDKC students and volunteers during the $pending Frenzy workshop on March 28. / Photo by Tommy Robinson

This spring has brought more than rain showers for students at Chief Dull Knife College and two Ashland area schools. It also poured hundred-dollar bills during the $pending Frenzy, an interactive financial skills workshop.  

This wasn’t the first-time local students were exposed to the award-winning program that offers participants the opportunity to face financial challenges and make decisions by managing stacks of play money emblazoned with the image of Jim Thorpe, the legendary Native American athlete. Similar workshops were held in the fall of 2022 along with more planned in the future according to CDKC Extension Services Director, Henry Thompson.

“We’ve learned over the years what kinds of programs work best in our community,” Thompson stated during a workshop that was held at Chief Dull Knife College on Thursday, March 28.   “The $pending Frenzy is effective because it offers real world financial lessons to students using a culturally themed, hands-on approach. It’s also imperative to provide this type of training on an ongoing basis so we can reach new students at the middle school, high school, and college levels”.

Thompson underscored the importance of financial education that is relevant to the needs of Native communities. She stressed that skills like recordkeeping, budgeting, consumer awareness, and investing are critical for long term success among Native people who she says have traditionally struggled with limited access to financial services and income disparities when compared to other groups.

Feedback from 42 students, some of whom provided post-training written evaluations and interviews, was favorable.

Alex Ward with AARP Montana assists St. Labre students during the $pending Frenzy. / Photo by Tommy Robinson

“I thought the $pending Frenzy was really helpful because I was unclear about how to manage my finances,” said CDKC student Tiffany Bad Bear. “Spending wisely was the most valuable lesson I learned because I have a daughter who made me think about the purchases I made during the workshop, such as food and housing.” 

CDKC Trio and Extension Services took the lead in organizing workshops at Ashland Public School and St. Labre Indian School in addition to CDKC. For additional assistance and support they recruited a team of local, regional, and national partners who share similar goals of expanding financial education opportunities in Native communities.  

These organizations included Peoples Partner for Community Development, AARP of Montana, Four Bands Community Fund, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, and First Nations Development Institute.  

“I learned how to budget my money and discovered that investments can be risky,” added CDKC student and professional MMA fighter Spur Roundstone. “You either make money or lose money. Watch out for those legal fees too!”

For more information about the $pending Frenzy and other financial education programs available in the Northern Cheyenne community contact Chief Dull Knife College Extension Services at 406-477-6215 or Peoples Partner for Community Development at 406-477-7723.

Shawn Spruce is the Programs Consultant for the First Nations Development Institute and the host of Native America Calling.

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