TEDNA Presents A Merit Award Essay Contest

TEDNA is proud to present our first  Merit Award Essay Contest. We invite Native American incoming college freshman and undergraduate students whose tribe is a member of TEDNA to submit an essay by August 24, 2015.  This year’s theme is “The Importance of Culture in Education”. Three awards will be given in the amount of: $500, $300 and $200, respectively.

The requirements are here. For more information, view our flyer here.

To become a member of TEDNA, click here.

If you have any questions, call (303) 447-8760 or email zephier@narf.org

TEDNA’s Own Matthew Campbell Featured in Indian Country Today

An excerpt:

Matt Campbell Works the Dream Job at NARF


If you had asked Matthew Campbell when he graduated from Fort Lewis College 11 years ago if he ever imagined that he would one day work as an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, he probably would have responded with an “Are you kidding?” And yet, as he sits in his office at NARF’s Boulder, Colorado headquarters, he sees that destiny set him on his life course—that he is exactly where he is supposed to be.

Campbell, 33 and an enrolled member of the Alaska Native Village of Gambell, was born and raised in Denver. He did not get high grades in high school. He considers himself lucky to have gained entrance into the Durango, Colorado liberal arts college, where he earned a B.A. in Sociology. Campbell said he also struggled in his first year of college, but he did well in his second, third and fourth years.

After college, he did not know what he wanted to do for work. Thanks to his persistent mother, who must have seen a lawyer in him, Campbell took the Law School Admissions Test. But he did not study hard enough, and his scores reflected that. Campbell knew the upper-echelon law schools would never take him, so he applied at the lower-tier schools. They did not want him either.

In 2005, he received a flyer for the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives, offered at the American Indian Law Center (AILC) in Albuquerque. He called the AILC yet was told the deadline had passed. “They asked me to send my application anyway, and I got in,” he said.

Campbell describes the two-month program, which replicates the first year of law school, as “intense,” and it attracts recruiters from law schools all over the country. Not only did he do well, but he was also wooed by recruiters from three different law schools. Campbell ended up enrolling at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe. In addition to his J.D., obtained in spring 2008, he holds an Indian Legal Certificate, with an environmental emphasis.

Campbell sent his resume to NARF in 2012 in pursuit of a boarding school staff attorney vacancy. That was the job he interviewed for at the organization’s headquarters. But when NARF called him after the interview, it was to tell him he did not get that position; rather, it had him in mind for an education attorney position that had recently become vacant. Campbell, who understood how prestigious NARF is and how rarely it hires lawyers due to low turnover, did not need time to think about it. “I pretty much accepted on the spot,” he said.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Via Alaska Dispatch News: Hometown U: Tribal Schools in Alaska

Kathleen McCoy, Anchorage, AK, writes about the struggles of Indigenous students in the public school system in Alaska and how UAA’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) and the Alaska Native Policy Center at First Alaskans Institute (FAI) will explore with indigenous Alaskans what an ideal education system would look like. Ms. McCoy interviewed Diane Hirshberg and discussed the Native Village of Kotzebue, which has an immersion program in the curriculum, both of which were present at TEDNA’s 2014 annual meeting and forum in Anchorage, AK.

Alaska’s budget crisis is certainly urgent and destined to affect both how schools across the state are funded and what that funding looks like. But another need predates even this dramatic budget crunch: How have Alaska public schools served their indigenous students?

Data show the report card isn’t good. Alaska Native students drop out at rates triple the national average. In 2013-14, they made up 23.3 percent of students in grades 7 to 12 but accounted for 37.8 percent of dropouts in those grades. Their dropout rate was 6.4 percent compared with 4 percent for other Alaska students.

How about successful graduations? In 2013-14, the rate for all Alaska high school students was 71.1 percent; for Alaska Native students, it was 54.9 percent — the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups in the state.

Now, two Alaska policy think tanks will work together to discover what system might be a better fit, and what steps could lead there.

UAA’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) and the Alaska Native Policy Center at First Alaskans Institute (FAI) have applied jointly to the National Science Foundation for funding to explore with indigenous Alaskans what an ideal education system would look like, and how it would best be governed. They expect a funding decision this summer, which could allow work to begin in the fall.

Wednesday, I spoke with Diane Hirshberg, a professor of education policy and CAEPR’s director, to learn more about the proposed three-year project.

Plans for the new study have emerged amidst an ongoing conversation in the state about whether Alaska needs tribal schools. In the last 40 or 50 years, mostly in the Lower 48, a tribal schools movement has caught fire under the non-profit umbrella of TEDNA, the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly.

To read the entire article, click here.


Free Webinar: Is Your Tribe Prepared for Tribal Governance in Education: Laws, Codes, Infrastructure & Personnel

TEDNA is proud to present:

Is Your Tribe Prepared for Tribal Governance in Education: Laws, Codes, Infrastructure & Personnel

A free webinar presented by Melody McCoy, NARF
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 2pm MDT

  1. To join our webinar, follow this link a few minutes prior to the start time: https://esd113.adobeconnect.com/tedna/
  2. Keep the “Enter As Guest” button selected, enter your name and your affiliation Example: Skuya Zephier (TEDNA)
  3. Click Enter Room
  4. A box will pop up explaining tips for using Adobe Connect as  guest, including directions to ask a question and viewing the shared screen.
  5. When finished, click the x in the corner of the tips box. You are now logged in.
  6. There is no call in information, the audio will all be online and through your computer.  Make sure you have your computer speakers turned on.
  7. That is it, you are now able to watch the webinar on your computer!

Please join us on Friday afternoon! If you are unable to do so, the webinar will be available here at http://www.TEDNA.org the following week.