Our Town

Circle of Nations School

Wahpeton, North Dakota



Wahpeton, North Dakota, has a population of 7,766 and since 1904 has been home to the Circle of Nations School (CNS), an intertribal, off-reservation boarding school for Native-American students in grades 4-8, accepting students from underserved Native-American reservations nationwide. CNS has also contributed to the artistic and cultural life of the city and region, such as through the annual Arts Festival that CNS co-founded with area schools that features student art exhibits, music performances, and community presentations.

CNS will partner with the Three Rivers Arts Council—along with local, state, and federal collaborators—on a series of community-wide arts engagement activities in Wahpeton with its Our Town grant. As part of the project, celebrated Native-American artists Bennet Brien, Shawn McCann, Winona and Jason Kingbird, and Missy Whiteman will create artworks that reflect the Native-American presence in Wahpeton. The artists will engage the community through in-school residencies, drum and dance performances, films, gallery talks, exhibits, and other community gatherings. CNS students will create a film about the cultural and ecological significance of Wahpeton, documenting the artists' creative process with the community.