2015 NCAI Resolutions

TEDNA sponsored two resolutions that passed at NCAI’s Annual Convention in San Diego last month.  The first was a resolution calling on the Department of Education to utilize its authority under 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(C) and 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(3)(iii) to exempt tribes and TEAs from FERPA’s advance consent requirement by designating TEAs as the Secretary of Education’s authorized representatives.

The second was a resolution that supports the right of American Indian and Alaska Native high school students to practice and express their traditional religious and spiritual beliefs and honor their academic and other achievements by wearing an eagle feather at their commencement ceremonies.

You can see those and all of the other resolutions that passed NCAI’s Annual Convention here.

Eight Tribes Receive Nearly $2.5 Million in Grants; Funds Help Tribes Take Control of Own Educational Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight federally recognized tribes will collectively receive nearly $2.5 million in grant awards from the U.S. Departments of Education and Interior to bolster their educational programs and advance self-determination goals through the development of academically rigorous and culturally relevant programs.

William Mendoza, director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, and Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel, director of the  Bureau of Indian Education announced the awards today, during the seventh annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The grants are funded through the Department of Education’s State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education’s Tribal Education Department (TED) program.

“Through these partnerships, we will be putting tribes in the driver’s seat by designing culturally responsive programs to help Native children reach their education potential,” Mendoza said. “These efforts will help reduce the achievement gap and make our Indian students more college and career-ready.” “These competitive grants will help strengthen tribal education departments as they set high academic standards and incorporate tribal culture, language and history into their curriculum,” said Roessel. “This program reflects our commitment to tribal self-determination. It expands tribes’ roles in developing educational goals for their communities and ensuring they have the resources to operate these systems designed for their students.”

The goal of the STEP program is to build the capacity of tribal education agencies to assume state and local administrative functions based on policies formed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The TED grant program was created to improve the quality of education in BIE-funded schools under the auspices of a Blueprint for Reform, a guide put forth by President Obama and developed in the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The report was developed based on contributions from tribal governments and key federal and tribal officials.

The STEP program provides $1,766,232 to five Native American communities in Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma to assist tribal schools in partnering with states and local school districts to develop culturally sensitive teaching strategies, curriculum materials and data-sharing that can improve attendance, raise graduation rates and reduce dropouts among Native youth. STEP’s pilot program, featuring tribal-state-local educational partnerships was conducted from 2012 to 2015, and today’s announcement marks the first new round of funding for the STEP program. The grants provide funding from 2015 to 2019. For more information about the STEP program, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/step/index.html.

The TED program provides $700,000 in grants to support the efforts of four tribal nations by strengthen their education departments, restructure their school governance, assume control over their BIE-funded schools, and develop curriculum for their students’ unique academic and cultural needs. With today’s announcement, 10 tribal governments have received a total of $2 million in TED grants this year. This is the second round of TED program grants the Interior Department has awarded this year. The first round of awards in August 2015 provided a total of $1,350,000 to six tribes: the Acoma Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For more information on TED grants, please visit http://bie.edu/Programs/TribalEduDeptGrantProgram/index.htm.

The following tribes will receive STEP funding. (One tribe, the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, was awarded the STEP and TED grants):

  • The Chickasaw Nation, Okla. ($500,000)
  • Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • Coeur D’Alene Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($318,463)
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Mont. ($287,769)

The following tribes will receive TED funding:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Mich. ($300,000)
  • Leech Lake Band, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minn. ($200,000)
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Miss. ($150,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($50,000)

As part of the Interior Department, the BIE oversees 183 elementary and secondary schools located on 64 reservations in 23 states, serving more than 48,000 students. Of these, 54 are BIE-operated and 129 are tribally operated.

In conjunction with President Obama’s Generation Indigenous or “Gen-I” initiative, the Interior Department is leading an effort to provide students attending BIE-funded schools with a world-class education and transform the agency to serve as a capacity-builder and service-provider for tribes in educating their youth.

White House Press Release: FACT SHEET: The 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference

An excerpt:

Today, the White House will bring together tribal leaders from federally recognized tribes to participate in the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The President and members of his Cabinet will discuss issues of importance to tribal leaders, with an emphasis on ways the Administration can continue to make progress on improving the nation-to-nation relationship and ensure these gains continue in future Administrations. In addition, 24 youth delegates will participate in the Conference to share their unique perspective.

The White House Tribal Nations Conference builds on the President’s travel this year to Alaska and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma. During his recent visit to Alaska, the President met with tribal and community leaders in Anchorage to discuss ways tostrengthen cooperation between the federal government and Alaska Native tribes, and announced the restoration of the Koyukon Athabascan name of Denali to the tallest mountain in North America, previously known as Mt. McKinley. The President also visited tribal communities in Dillingham and Kotzebue, where he announced new investments to combat climate change and assist remote tribal communities.

In July, the President traveled to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma where he launchedConnectHome, an initiative designed to make high-speed Internet more affordable to residents in low-income housing units across the country.

Under the President’s leadership, his Administration committed to improving coordination across the federal government to promote strategic and efficient programming for Indian Country. Through the White House Council on Native American Affairs, the Administration is reinforcing the message that the federal trust responsibility is held by the entire federal government. With this all-of-government approach, the Administration is developing cross-agency partnerships to promote information sharing and better leverage existing programs to promote meaningful outcomes for Indian Country.

Throughout the year, Native youth remained at the forefront of the Administration’s effort to fulfill our promises to tribal nations. The launch of the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative last December is a recognition that tribal communities thrive when their youth are safe and healthy, have access to a quality education, housing, and meaningful job opportunities, and can learn their native languages and cultures. In July, the White House hosted the first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering, bringing together over 1,000 Native youth representing 230 tribes from 42 states to engage with the Administration on these issues.

To read the entire press release, click here.

Adidas offers to help eliminate Native American mascots

An excerpt:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Adidas is offering to help high schools nationwide drop Native American mascots.

The athletic shoe and apparel maker said Thursday it will provide free design resources to schools looking to shelve Native American mascots, nicknames, imagery or symbolism. The German company also pledged to provide financial support to ensure the cost of changing is not prohibitive.

Adidas announced the initiative in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference on Thursday in Washington. Adidas executives were among those attending the conference, which includes leaders from the 567 federally recognized tribes.

The company, which has its North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon, also said it will be a founding member of a coalition that addresses Native American mascots in sports.

To read the entire article, click here.