Press Release: Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces More Than $1.7 Million in Funding to Build the Capacity of Tribal Education Departments and Promote Tribal Control of BIE-funded Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today
announced that $1.75 million in funding is being made available to tribes through two Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) initiatives: The Sovereignty in Indian Education (SIE) Enhancement Program and the Tribal Education Department (TED) Grant Program. These programs assist federally recognized tribes with building their tribal education departments and promoting tribal control of their schools.

“Tribes have the best perspective on what their children need to learn and how the schools that serve their communities can become successful,” Washburn said. “I want to thank Congress for providing the funding that ensures tribes will be able to assume total control over BIE-funded schools and guide their children’s cultural and academic learning.”

To read the release, click here.

Throwback Thursday: TEDNA Founders at the White House, 2004

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  1. Vickie Vasquez, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Indian Education in 2004 who awarded NARF a grant to start TEDNA.
  2. Quinton Roman Nose, Marilyn Cuch (In 2004, President George W. Bush acknowledged Mrs. Cuch’s work in preparing American Indian/Alaska Native teachers at Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kansas.) ,  Joyce Silverthorne, Jerome Jainga (except for Marilyn, all three are the founding members of TEDNA) at 2004 signing of Executive Order on Indian Education.
  3. TEDNA was invited to White House to Executive Order signing by President Bush.  Pic is President signing Executive Order.

Via NIEA’s Keynote Speakers to Discuss the Changing Education Landscape

Keynote speakers scheduled to speak at the upcoming National Indian Education Association’s annual trade show and convention will discuss the changing education landscape of Native communities and how NIEA and its members continue to work collaboratively to strengthen relationships and educational priorities to foster the next generation.

NIEA’s 46th Conventtion and Trade Show will take place from October 14-17 in Portland, Oregon and will feature Randi Weingarten, Dr. Kamana’opono Crabbe, and Matika Wilbur as keynote speakers.

Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teacher’s union in the U.S., which works to ensure access to high-quality public education for students, their families and communities. Under her leadership, the organization has called for more teacher diversity, specifically working towards increasing the number of Native teachers within our communities, while also developing the American Federation of Teacher’s Quality Education Agenda, which advocates for reforms grounded in evidence and sustainability.

Wilbur is one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading photographers, who has exhibited extensively in regional, national, and international venues. Right now she is working on Project 562, gathering original images and oral narratives from all tribal communities through the U.S. The Project is dedicated to capturing contemporary Native America by organizing and presenting compelling portraits and stories of elders, teachers, activists, and other contemporary Indians.

Crabbe’s mission has been uplifting the ‘mana’ and ‘mauli ola’ of the Hawaiian community through transformation and research excellence since his appointment as Ka Pouhana Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in January 2012. Before his appointment, he joined OHA as research director in 2010. He led the division gathering data that would highlight gaps, disparities, and causal factors creating disadvantages for Native Hawaiians to access good healthcare, governance, housing, education, and employment.

For more information about the upcoming convention and trade show, visit

Via Science Can Set You Free! STEM Program Teaches Sustainable Building

An excerpt:

Eleven high school students and one recent college grad from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota are looking at homes in their community from a new perspective following their month-long participation in the Sustainable Building Research Experience and Mentoring program at the University of Colorado Boulder.

This STEM outreach program, funded by the National Science Foundation and the university, is headed up by John Zhai, a professor and researcher on building systems engineering at CU-Boulder. The program grew out of his work developing new, more efficient, sustainable building materials for houses.

Over the past three years Zhai and his colleagues have worked with 36 students and seven teachers from tribal communities, giving them hands-on experiences that included, this year, building a straw bale wall, making air quality monitors to identify mold in homes, doing energy audits, getting a taste of life on a university campus and having the opportunity to meet American Indian professionals in STEM fields.

The first week students stayed on campus where they went to seminars, met with faculty and were introduced to college-level research. “We pushed them to do research with an emphasis on doing things correctly, following protocols and being thorough,” Wyatt Champion, CU-Boulder graduate student and lead instructor for the program, said.

Bobbie Knispel, a teacher from Todd County High School who accompanied the students, said, “The program was a great tool for giving them a sense of what college life might be like.”

For the second week, students traveled to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana where they did energy audits under the instruction of Leo Campbell, Winnebago, a certified building analyst with the Building Performance Institute, and checked for mold in eight homes.

Champion says one of the best parts of the program was that “we were able to give back to the community by giving each home a report about how they could save energy by making simple repairs, and if their home was moldy, specifically which room and how they could fix that.”

Students then took their new skills back to their own reservation to look at housing conditions there and to do energy audits. Zhai said conserving energy is critical on reservations. “Residents don’t have to pay the construction costs for their homes, but they do have to pay the utility costs. In the past we have found utilities could be a significant expense, as much as one-quarter or one-third of a family’s income. If we can reduce utility costs, it would be a huge benefit to the tribal community.”

To read the entire article, click here.