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UGPTI Launches Student-Illustrated Tribal Sign Warrior Calendar

Posted: Sep 28, 2021

North Dakota State University's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute recently launched a special Tribal Sign Warrior calendar to raise awareness of the dangers of sign damage and vandalism among elementary age students. Illustrations in the calendar were created by fourth graders from tribes across the state.

Over the past several years, the risk from damaged and vandalized signs has been brought to life in a calendar illustrated by fourth graders from across North Dakota who share their perceptions of how a Sign Warrior superhero keeps roadways safe by protecting our roadway signs. The calendar has been produced and distributed by UGPTI's ND Local Technical Assistance program which provides outreach to counties, cities and other units of local government.

This year, in as part of UGPTI's tribal effort, A special Tribal Sign Warrior calendar was created, combining education on roadway signs and tribal learnings. "We selected some exceptional 4th grade art pieces for this special edition calendar," says Joy Annette, UGPTI's tribal liaison. "The theme for the calendar focused on elements of 'Respect.' Doing so allowed us to combine one of the Anishinabe (Chippewa) Seven Grandfather Teachings with what 'Respect' can do to help maintain our road signs. We were also able to integrate the North Dakota's indigenous nations 13-month calendar."

Download a copy of the calendar at https://www.ndltap.org/programs/signwarrior/calendars.php.

Some counties in North Dakota report that more than half of their signs are damaged each year. A damaged or missing sign is a hazard for motorists who count on signs to warn them of curves, intersections and other hazards, notes NDLTAP Director Dale Heglund.

"Local road agencies across the state fight an expensive and constant battle to keep signs in place and in good repair," Heglund says. "That effort costs tax dollars and valuable time that could be better spent on other important road maintenance and improvement efforts."

Heglund and Annette say the sign warrior calendar is not only effective at reaching students, but adults as well. "The students are very effective at taking the message of respect, particularly for road signs, and relaying that to parents and others. That's critical to keeping children, families and communities safe," Annette says.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050