Throwback Thursday: 2010 TEDNA Forum in Rapid City, SD

2010 Rapid City Forum Photo (00064635x9D7F5) 2010 Rapid City Forum (00064637x9D7F5)

From left to right:  Amy Bowers, Quinton Roman Nose, Donald Yu, Advisor USDOE, Keith Moore, BIE Director, Mary Jane Oatman-Wak Wak, Nez Perce-President Elect for NIEA,  David Beaulieu, longtime Indian Educator

From left to right:  Amy Bowers, NARF Attorney who worked with TEDNA, Patricia Whitefoot, Yakima, 2010 President of NIEA, Kevin Shendo, Jemez Pueblo TED Director, Denny Hurtado, the then Washington State Indian Education Director, Quinton Roman Nose

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

NIEA: ESEA Update, More Action Needed!

Excellent update from NIEA, below.

Native Education Advocates See Major Wins in ESEA Reauthorization Bills  

It has been a busy week for Native education advocates on the Hill! As Congress debated and negotiated the reauthorization of the largest civil rights education bill, the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA), NIEA and it’s members advocated on behalf of the over 350,000 Native public school students to ensure that they are provided with a high-quality academic and culturally relevant education to achieve college and career success. We would like to thank our Native education partners for their continued support and for their efforts in helping ensure Native students succeed.

Student Success Act (HR5) Passed in the House

Student Success Act (SSA) passed through the House on July 8th with a recorded vote of 218 to 213. Twenty-seven Republican congressmen crossed party lines to join House Democrats in voting against HR5 Wednesday night. The SSA is a conservative version of the ESEA rewrite and was introduced by Rep. John Kline (R-MN). This bill favors state and local accountability over federal oversight by eliminating the current national accountability system. This measure would allow states to set their own academic standards and would prohibit federal statutes that mandate, incentivize, or coerce states to adopt Common Core State Standards.

The White House has indicated that it plans to veto the SSA in its current form because, as stated by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, “instead of supporting the schools and educators that need it most, the bill shifts resources away from them.”

Native education advocates did see an important amendment added to the SSA under Title V entitled “The Federal Government’s Trust Responsibility to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Education.” The independent title was inserted thanks to strong bipartisan support, which was led by Rep. Don Young (R-AK). The amendment allows local educational agencies and tribes to be eligible for grants which improve education for Native students.

Every Child Achieves Act (S1177) is Being Debated in the Senate

Debate on the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) of 2015 began Tuesday, July 7th. In her opening remarks, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee stated, “Today marks the first day of debate on our bipartisan bill to strengthen our education system by reauthorizing the nation’s K-12 education law, the ESEA. This work is a chance to recommit ourselves to the promise of a quality education for every child. And it is an opportunity to finally fix the current law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB).”

The Native-specific provisions in the bill mark a huge victory for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian education, reflecting years of hard work by tribes and Native education advocates. Some highlights include: Consultation, where states and local educational agencies must engage in meaningful consultation with tribes in the development of state plans for Title I grants, STEP Authorization, where grants are permanently authorized to promote tribal self-determination in order to improve Indian academic achievement, and the Preservation of Section 7131, which authorizes National Research Activities that have been critical to providing data on Indian student achievement.

While the Senate has ended voting for the week, several important amendments for Native education that have passed:

 Amendment to Improve Native American Education (#2085)

The amendment was introduced by Senator Rounds (R-SD) and Senator Udall (D-NM). This amendment calls for inter-agency collaboration between the Department of Interior (DOI) and Department of Education (DOE) to conduct a study of rural and poverty areas of Indian Country to identify:

  • Federal barriers that prevent tribes from implementing applicable policies over one-size fits all regulations dictated from Washington;
  • Recruitment and retention options for teachers and school administrators;
  • Limitations in funding sources and flexibility for such schools; and
  • Strategies on how to increase high school graduation rates.

Title VII Grant Programs for Indian Education Amendment (#2078)  

The amendment was introduced by Senator Tester (D-MT). This amendment restores vital grant programs in the Title VII of the ECAA, which “will help students in Indian Country develop the tools they need to succeed.” Senator Tester continued by saying that “the Senate took a step forward to live up to our moral and trust responsibility to ensure Native American students are getting the education and shot at success they deserve.” This amendment reinstates the following four programs:

  • In – Service Training for Teachers of Indian Children
  • Fellowships for Native Students Pursuing Social Beneficial Degrees
  • Gifted and Talented Programs to Nurture Native Excellence
  • Native Adult Literacy and GED Programs

The following amendments will be presented by Senator Heitkamp (D-ND) next week:

Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems (#2171)

The amendment introduces plans to reinstate and improve access to Mental Health Support Grants by reinstating the Integration Program- which provides five-year grants to States, school districts, and Indian tribes to increase student access to quality mental health care.

Tribal improvements included are:

  • Providing eligibility to Indian tribes or their education agencies, BIE schools, as well as Alaska Native communities;
  • Crisis Intervention and conflict resolution practices, such as those focused on decreasing rates of bullying, teen dating violence, suicide, trauma, and human trafficking;
  • Ensuring linguistically appropriate and culturally competent services;
  • Engage and utilizing expertise provided by institutions of higher education, such as a Tribal College or University, as defined in section 316(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965; and
  • Assurances that tribes and their representatives are consulted and aware of the program and understand their eligibility.

Educational Equity under Land-Grant Status & Smith Lever Act (#2174)

The bipartisan amendment provides parity by allowing Tribal Colleges to compete for Children, Youth and Families at Risk and Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Grants. Co-sponsors of the amendment include Senators Thune (R-SD), Stabenow (D-MI), and Tester (D-MT).

Action Is Still Needed for Native Education

Now more than ever Native students need your support. Reach out to your state’s Senator and ask them to support these important and necessary amendments for Native education. Please contact Dimple Patel ( or at (202) 847-0034) with any questions.

  • To find the contact information for your Senator, please click here.

To call the general phone line for the Senate, please call (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with the Senator from your state.


Whether you’re an educator, a student, or invested in increasing educational opportunities for Native students, NIEA members help advocate for better policies. Your  contribution will help us continue to be effective advocates, train educators that work with Native students, and close the achievement gap.  To donate, please click HERE.

ACT Report: The Condition of College and Career Readiness of American Indian Students

This report is designed to help inform the following questions regarding American Indian students:

  • Are American Indian students prepared for college and career?
  • Are enough American Indian students taking core courses?
  • Are core courses rigorous enough?
  • Are younger American Indian students on target for college and career?
  • What other dimensions of college and career readiness should we track?
  • Are American Indian students who are ready for college and career actually succeeding?

American Indian students are less likely than their peers to meet key college readiness benchmarks, even when taking academically rigorous courses in high school, according to a new report released today by ACT and the National Indian Education Association.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: American Indian Students, examines the academic preparation and postsecondary aspirations of American Indian 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT® test. It is the third in a series of seven reports that focus on demographic groups of ACT test takers from the 2014 high school graduating class.

Among the findings:

  • 55 percent of American Indian students failed to meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, and only one in 10 met all four. Among all students, 31 percent didn’t meet any Benchmarks, and 26 percent met all four.
  • Across all four subjects, the percentage of American Indian students meeting each Benchmark was lower than the proportion who took “core or more” (recommended core curriculum) courses.
  • In English, less than half—43 percent—of American Indian students who took related “core or more” courses met the Benchmark, compared to 67 percent of all students.
  • In reading, 28 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 47 percent of all students.
  • In math, 23 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 46 percent of all students.
  • In science, 22 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 41 percent of all students.

To read the report, click here. For more information from the ACT website, click here.