Kwanachigani pɵˈɵkwatʉ – Eagle’s Nest 

Meskvlwv Wesley, Lawrence Santisteven II, Landon Miles, Destiny Valdez, and Shayne White Thunder ventured out on a chilly walk with their teacher, Danielle Burns, Wednesday, April 13, to partake in the groundbreaking ceremony for Dancing Spirit’s new building. Currently, Dancing Spirit is housed in the ELHI building, but in the future, they will be in a new state of the art building. Dancing Spirit works with SUIMA weekly for the after-school programs as well as offering specially requested art lessons to coincide with in-class Montessori lessons.
With golden shovels in hand, Landon Miles, Lawrence Santisteven II, Meskvlwv Wesley, and Destiny Valdez get to make their mark on the ground that will soon be the new Dancing Spirit building.
Landon Miles wears his ribbon shirt with pride on SUIMA’s weekly Fancy Fridays.
Keyon Alston sports the choker that he made in his Ute language class.
Courtesy SUIMA
Courtesy SUIMA
Courtesy SUIMA
Courtesy SUIMA

As with many schools in our country, SUIMA students are gearing up for their end of the year student assessment period.  With the students on campus, as opposed to last year, these assessments will be done quickly and efficiently.  With the learning that has taken place this school year, we expect to see some wonderful results.   

Of course, just as important as teaching and assessing those reading and math skills, is keeping alive the student’s sense of wonder and connection with their natural world.  Recently, the Durango Nature Studies worked with the elementary level, bringing math, reading and science skills to a walking field trip to Scott’s Pond and the Pine River.  The early childhood/primary level used their math skills as they counted the number of eggs that we found during their Easter egg hunt.  No matter the age, students gain a connection to nature once they step foot out into it. With this week ending Earth Week, the Earth (tʉvʉpʉ) was cared for by the planting of trees and flowers, the collection of litter and the enjoyment that student have just by being in nature.   It is a good time of the year.  


Tumiikukh kwanachiu – Eagles of the Week 

Our first tumiikukh kwanachi is 11-year-old, Keyon Alston. His Ute name is Kʉsi’nipʉ’igyetʉ which means “Smiling Eyes.” Keyon is a fifth grader who has been with SUIMA for as long as he is old. His favorite book is Bad Guys, which he read as a challenge with others in his class. Keyon has a huge heart and cares for his classmates.  He does his best to be a good leader, is respectful to all the adults he encounters, and tries to help everyone with any project. He enjoys telling jokes and making people laugh.  He can often be found trying to help a peer when they are having a bad day.  He loves pizza – almost any kind, and Reese’s – any kind! Keyon, who thoroughly enjoys football and basketball, is very athletic and willing to try his skills with other sports. Other than his favorite activity of playing video games, he can be found spending time with his buddies and his dog, Lulu. 

Our other tumiikukh kwanachi is Landon Miles. His Ute name is Kayavawatu, which means “Brave.”  Landon is a first grader, who is in lower elementary and who has been at SUIMA off and on for a total of four years.  His favorite food is pizza, any kind and for any day of the week!  When Landon is at school, he can be found working on almost any subject, asking questions, and enjoying the STEM activities.  One subject that he is getting good at, is the Ute language.  Landon’s favorite book is the book titled, Nibbles by Emma Yarlett. When he is not at school, his favorite activity is hanging out with his family, being outside, and playing with his Jurassic World dinosaurs.  He is very knowledge when it comes to dinosaurs and is an expert at knowing the names and types of dinosaurs from all over the world.  


‘apagha nuu 

Our monthly Family Night was held on April 12. With the topic being “Ute BINGO” there were many parents who joined the Zoom event.   Bryan Howe (a.k.a. Unu’nirʉ), Joe Howell (a.k.a. Sɵɵkwanachi), and Tenetke Wesley (a.k.a. Unu’nirʉ) were the winning students!  It was a night of laughter and fun!  If any parents still have the Bingo cards, use them to help your child grow the Ute words.  As always, reach out to the school for support on how to say the words; go to Speak Ute Now on our website, or find the word in the Ute Dictionary. 


Nuu’apaghapi – Ute phrases, sentences and songs 

Retired teaching guide, Edwina Watts, enjoyed creating this song as she worked with the students at SUIMA.  Thank you, Ms. Eddie, (a.k.a. Pachichin). 

Days of the Week Song 

by Edwina Watts  


Every week has seven days.  

See how many you can say.  

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday  

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday  

Saturday, Saturday. 


Every week has seven days.  

See how many you can say.  

Tumiikukh, Kwasʉtavay  

Wáykutugyarikyatʉ, Paykutugyarikyatʉ 

Whchutugyarikyatʉ, Suwasáavaru  

Sáavaru, Sáavaru. 


Upcoming events 

  • 4/22 – No school – Professional Development for staff 
  • 4/26 – Parent Advisory Group meeting 
  • 5/4 – Bear Dance workshop 
  • 5/10 – Family Night – topic: TBA 
  • 5/16 – SunUte sponsored walk 
  • 5/18 – Field Day 
  • 5/19 & 20 – primary level field trips 
  • 5/20 – upper elementary poetry slam 
  • 5/26 – End-of-the-year ceremony – details will be coming out soon 
  • 5/27 – Opening of Bear Dance

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