Washington SB 5433 – Requiring Washington’s tribal history, culture, and government to be taught in the common schools.

This Bill can be seen here, with the Senate’s amendment.  The Bill can be monitored here.  An excerpt:

The legislature recognizes the need to reaffirm the state’s commitment to educating the citizens of our state, particularly the youth who are our future leaders, about tribal history, culture, treaty rights, contemporary tribal and state government institutions and relations and the contribution of Indian nations to the state of Washington. The legislature recognizes that this goal has yet to be achieved in most of our state’s schools and districts. As a result, Indian students may not find the school curriculum, especially Washington state history curriculum, relevant to their lives or experiences. In addition, many students may remain uninformed about the experiences, contributions, and perspectives of their tribal neighbors, fellow citizens, and classmates. The legislature finds that more widespread use of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum developed by the office of the superintendent of public instruction and available free of charge to schools would contribute greatly towards helping improve school’s history curriculum and improve the experiences Indian students have in our schools. Accordingly, the legislature finds that merely encouraging education regarding Washington’s tribal history, culture, and government is not sufficient, and hereby declares its intent that such education be mandatory in Washington’s common schools.

Utah Indian Education Bill – HB 0033

This Bill will be moving forward this session in the Utah Legislature.  The Bill can be seen here, and can be monitored here. It appears the Bill has already passed the Utah House and is now in front of the Utah Senate, already receiving a positive vote from the Senate Education Committee.  An excerpt:

Highlighted Provisions:

This bill:

– enacts a chapter providing for an American Indian-Alaskan Native Education State Plan, including:

  • defining terms;
  • providing the position of American Indian-Alaskan Native Public Education Liaison;
  • requiring reporting to the Native American Legislative Liaison Committee;
  • creating the American Indian-Alaskan Native Education Commission;
  • establishing the duties of the commission; and
  • providing for the adoption of a state plan to address the educational achievement gap of the state’s American Indian-Alaskan Native students; and

– makes technical and conforming amendments.

TEDNA Priorities for the ESEA Re-Authorization and Indian Education

As you are probably aware, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced their draft discussion language for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) last week. As the single best opportunity for comprehensively including tribes and their education agencies within federal education law, it is critical that we coordinate our advocacy efforts around the ESEA reauthorization.

Here are TEDNA’s priorities with an excerpt:

The following is a list of the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly’s (“TEDNA”) top education priorities:

  1. Authorize state and tribal co-governance agreements to strengthen tribal participation in education;
  2. Establish the “Tribal Education Agency Project” to provide for the authorization of Indian tribes to be eligible to operate title programs;
  3. Make Indian tribes the preferred eligible entity in rural areas on or near Indian reservations to receive NCLB, Title VII, Indian Education Formula Grants, and authorize Indian tribes to be eligible for technical assistance to develop such grant applications;
  4. Retain the tribal education department appropriation authorizations; and
  5. Provide Indian tribes access to tribal member student data by amending FERPA.

TEDNA also joins and supports NIEA’s priorities, which we posted on here.

Next Steps:

1.) Send a letter to your Senators and the Senate HELP Committee asking them to support TEDNA and NIEA’s priorities, including the Tribal Education Agency Project.

2.) Provide ESEA Comments to Senate HELP Committee by Monday, February 2, 2015 at: FixingNCLB@help.senate.gov. Comments will be shared with all members of the Senate HELP Committee.

Should you need a model letter, please contact Matt Campbell at mcampbell@narf.org or Clint Bowers, NIEA Policy Associate, at cbowers@niea.org.

Alaska Native News: Native Americans Work to Save Language

An excerpt: FORT YATES, NORTH DAKOTA—One evening a week, young and old gather in Michael Moore’s classroom in Fort Yates, North Dakota, to learn Lakota — the language of their Sioux tribal ancestors.

For many of the students here at Sitting Bull College, it’s a tongue their great grandparents spoke fluently at home.

But that changed in the early 1900’s, when thousands of Native American children were sent to boarding schools where they were told to assimilate, learn English and forget all aspects of their native culture.

Gabe Black Moon, who co-teaches Lakota with Moore, remembered his time at one such school.

“The government punished [us for speaking] our language, and I’ve seen that happen. It happened to me,” he said. “Day one, I went to school, I couldn’t speak English. I got punished pretty bad.”

Presidential recognition

Renewed efforts to preserve Lakota for future generations received national recognition earlier this year when President Barack Obama visited Standing Rock Native American Reservation, where he praised Sioux tribal leaders’ for revitalizing the endangered tongue.

To read the full article, click here.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION |Requests Comments on Proposed Rulemaking for Professional Development Program and Demonstration Grants for Indian Children – Deadline: January 2, 2015

The Department of Education (ED) invites stakeholders to provide comments on proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the Indian Demonstration and Indian Professional Development programs. Last week, ED published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Professional Development program and the Demonstration Grants for Indian Children (Demonstration Grants program). Both grant programs are authorized under Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). For the Professional Development program, the regulations would enhance the project design and quality of services to better meet the objectives of the program; establish post-award requirements; and govern the payback process for grants in existence of the date these regulations become effective. For the Demonstration Grants program, ED is proposing new priorities, including one for the newly-announced Native Youth Community Projects, and application requirements.

Submission Information:
• Federal Register Notice
• Submission Deadline: January 2, 2015
• Electronic Submissions: Please visit http://www.regulations.gov
Or Mail to:

John Cheek
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Room 3W207
Washington, D.C. 20202-6135
(202) 401-0274

For more information, please contact John Cheek at the U.S. Department of Education at (202) 401-0274 or john.cheek@ed.gov.

NIEA Webinar Series: BIE Blueprint for Reform Understanding the Implementation, Part II

Due to consistent demand from our membership for more information, NIEA will hold a second Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) informational webinar on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm (eastern). For those who missed the initial session, we are providing this opportunity for additional dialogue and new information so our stakeholders can decide the best pathways for local schools and communities. Registration is open TODAY, so if you are an educator, parent, tribal leader, or stakeholder who is curious for what this reform means for your student, school, or community, this is the perfect opportunity to get more information.

• Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel, BIE Director
• Ahniwake Rose, NIEA Executive Director
Important Information
• Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (Date change)
• Time:  4:00 pm (eastern)
• Additional Details: Please visit http://www.niea.org

Tribal leaders and Native education stakeholders have long requested that the federal government uphold its trust responsibility to Indian education. While there has been some cause for concern regarding the bureaucratic reform, the President’s summer announcement on Indian education increased momentum for ensuring tribal authority in education. The proposal to redesign the BIE under the June 12, 2014 Secretarial Order is based on recommendations from the Indian Education Study Group (Study Group), which DOI Secretary Jewell and Secretary of Education Duncan convened to diagnose the systemic issues within BIE schools.

Material for the Event
• White House Fact Sheet
• June 12, 2014 DOI Secretarial Order
• BIE Transformation Blueprint
• Indian Education Study Group Information
• NIEA/NCAI Joint Comments
• NIEA Senate Testimony on the BIE
For more information or questions, please contact Clint J. Bowers, NIEA Policy Associate, at cbowers@niea.org