Message from the President
Boozhoo (Hello),

As we quickly approach the end of a challenging year, our thoughts turn toward family, friends and loved ones. In the United States and other parts of the world, the holiday season is revered as a time for sharing goodwill and compassion. As many of us are aware, there are those among us that do not celebrate Christmas or other holidays. Traditionally, Native people practiced the values of love, empathy, compassion and generosity daily. Those teachings--sometimes called "the Seven Grandfather Teachings" by various tribal nations--are the guiding principles for life. I feel it important to mention these things out of respect for both our traditional ways of being and those individuals and families that do not celebrate the holidays. Likewise, for those that do celebrate Christmas I say, Happy Holidays. I believe it is important to acknowledge how dynamic and unique we are as Native People. Many indigenous people have integrated the holidays into their family traditions and broader culture. It speaks to our fluidity and willingness to learn and adopt things from the dominant culture. I wish good health, happiness and prosperity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or belief system.

Looking ahead to 2021, the board of directors has decided that our annual conference will be held virtually online. This was a difficult decision. The board put forth much thought and deliberated on the subject at length. After consulting with our partners at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the board determined the health and safety of all should remain paramount to our goals as an organization. Planning is in the earliest stages and we will share more information as details of the upcoming virtual conference emerge. We will do our best to bring you an informative, engaging and thought provoking conference.

As we move forward into the New Year, I ask that you take some time and reflect on all we've experienced over the past 12 months. It has indeed been a challenging and trying year. We are living in unprecedented times. I ask that we remember all those who have walked on, and that we keep the memories of those individuals alive and filled with our good thoughts. Let's also remember the families who are struggling with loss--whether it be loss of a loved one, loss of a job or even loss of the all-important human connection. We should do what we can to help those who find themselves in situations less fortunate than our own. It is during these times that we allow the spirit of gratitude, forgiveness and love to pervade our thoughts and actions.

Giigawabamin minawaa (I'll see you again),

Brian Jackson
Wisconsin Indian Education Association
WIEA 2021 Conference Date Set
No matter what your holiday celebration may include
Wisconsin Indian Education Association
Wishes you and yours a
Happy Holiday & Joyful New Year!
Twas' The Night Before Ojibwe Christmas
'Twas the night before Niibaa-anama’egiizhigad, when all through the wiigiwaam, Not an awakaan was stirring, not even a waawaabiganoojiinh;

The moccasins were hung by the smoke hole with care, In hopes that Miigiwe Miskwaa Gichi Inini soon would be there; The abinoojiinhyag were nestled all snug in their nibaaganan, While visions of ziinzibaakwad danced in their nishttigwaan; And nimaama in her moshwens, and I in my makadewindibe, Had just settled down for a long biiboon zhiibaangwashi,
When outside the wiigiwaam there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the nibaagan to see what was the matter.

Away to the waasechigan I flew like inaabiwin,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the gibiiga’iganiigin. The dibik-giizis on the breast of onaaband, Gave a shine like duct tape to objects zazagaamagad, When, what to my wondering nishkiizhigoon should appear,

But a miniature toboggan, and eight tiny waawaaskeshi,
With a little old driver, so lively and wajepii,
I knew in a moment it must be Miigiwe Miskwaa Gichi Inini.
More rapid than migiziwag his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and biibaagi, and izhi-wiinde by name;

"Now, Bimibatoo! now, Niimi! now, Babaamishimo and Moozhikwe! On, Anang! on Zaagi! on, Animikii and Wawaasese! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wiigiwaam! Now Bimibide! Ipide! Ombibidemagad!"

As dry leaves that before the wiindigoo fly, When they meet with BIA, mount to the sky, So up to the apakwaan the coursers they flew, With the tobaggon full of toys, and Miigiwe Miskwaa Gichi Inini too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the apakwaan
The prancing and pawing of each little inzid.
As I drew in my iniji, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Miigiwe Miskwaa Gichi Inini came with a bound.

He was dressed all in gipagawe, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with bingwiand and soot;
A bundle of toys he mangiwane on his back,
And he looked like a adaawewinini just opening his pack.
His ishkiinzigoon -- how they twinkled! his inowan how merry!

His miskwanowan were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little indoon was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as gichimookamaan;

The stump of a opwaagan he held tight in his wiibidaakaajiganan , And the smoke it encircled his head like a miskwaanzigan; He was full up on frybread with little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a wiigwaasinaagan of jelly.

He was chubby and wiinin, a right jolly old elf,
And I giimoodaapi when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his ishkiinzigoon and a twist of his mangindibe,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to gotaaji;

He ojibwemo not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the moccasins; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his ibinaakwaanininj aside of his nose,
And wewebikweni, up the smoke hole he rose;
He sprang to his toboggan, to waawaaskeshi gave a whistle,
And away they all onjinizhimo like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him biibaagi, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Niibaa-anama’egiizhigad to all,
And to all baamaapii."

'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof. The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Meet WIEA's Board of Directors
Over the next year, we will introduce a different board of directors member in each edition of our monthly newsletter. Some of you know and are familiar with WIEA's board of directors. However, there are many who are not. The board of directors are a non-paid, volunteer position. The board of directors meets monthly and are actively involved within the organization and locally in their own community.

Our first installment features Virginia Nuske, WIEA Treasurer.

WIEA Region: East
Tribal Affiliation: Enrolled Menominee, Stockbridge-Munsee descendant
Retired Tribal Education Director: 1975-2016

Virginia Nuske is a Tribal Elder from the Menominee Indian Tribe, having served on WIEA for over 30 years.

Virginia retired as Tribal Education Director for the Menominee Indian Tribe earlier this year, after serving in that capacity since 1975-2016. She currently serves WIEA as the organization’s Treasurer. She previously served as both President and Secretary.

Virginia sits on the College of Menominee Nation’s Board of Trustees as the Chair, and has been on the board since 1997.

She is a grandmother, great-grandmother and community role model.

WIEA is fortunate to have Virginia's sound guidance and leadership.
Native American Heritage Beyond the Month of November
By Yatibaey Evans, Alaska Native Education Director &
Princess Daazhraii Johnson, MOLLY OF DENALI Creative Producer
As Alaska Native mothers, educators, and active community members, we are driven to shed light on what Indigenous students and families experience, in hopes to spark action in educators and administrators nationwide into making schools, curriculum, teaching and learning accurate and inclusive. As the Alaska Native Education Director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Princess Johnson, Creative Producer of MOLLY OF DENALI and former chair of the ANE - Parent Advisory Council, and I, Yatibaey Evans, have interwoven lives and passion for growth. We are both lifelong learners and hope to share some of this knowledge with those who have an ear to hear.

Over the course of many years, we have worked with people of a multitude of demographics and cultural backgrounds. We celebrate the relationships that have developed over the past decade throughout our community. Throughout this time there were also constant reminders as to why we need to continue to be reflective of ourselves and work to be the best version of that. 

While reflecting, it is important to start questioning the systems and policies that are in place within your local school and community. In our local community students were reprimanded for wanting to wear traditional regalia during graduations. This was challenging for our families to find out. Thankfully Indigenous parents brought forth their concerns to the school board and a new policy was created that supports Indigenous students wearing their regalia during commencement.

On another occasion, some of your young hunters innocently and accidentally brought a subsistence tool (a pocket knife) in a backpack to an elementary school. A prime example of the ways Native people continue to be criminalized for practicing our ways of being on our own homelands. These incidents are emotionally taxing as they put us in situations where we feel we need to educate, defend, and justify our rights to exist and practice our cultures. We are grateful for the allies who help to advocate and create space alongside us as we work towards racial justice in our Nation. We are still here, healing, growing, advocating, and ready to openly share our different cultures and practices as people’s hearts are open to receive.

We have encouraged educators in our school district to update curriculum that perpetuates and indoctrinates students into false narratives - in particular, around Christopher Columbus and Thanksgiving - but also narratives that relegate Indigenous Peoples to the past or quantify us as ‘something else’, as if we aren’t still here care-taking these lands and making positive contributions to our world. Princess and I wrote the first Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD) in 2015. It was met with bureaucratic blockades. However, the Native community came forward during that month’s school board meeting, which happened to occur on Indigenous Peoples Day. After their testimony on “Non-Agenda Items” one of the school board members made a motion to approve the resolution, it passed unanimously. 

Last year, we worked with one of our local schools to update a Thanksgiving event hosted by 2nd grade students that still had them dressing up as ‘Pilgrims and Indians’. This was wrong. The principal and classroom teachers listened to us, they worked on a new presentation that countered the false narratives they had been perpetuating, and explained the backstory to all of the parents. This presentation brought tears to our eyes, it was a step in the direction of healing. 

Alaska has long been grappling with making our schools more welcoming and inclusive. “The Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools” is a resource that speaks to attending the cultural well-being of our students and is a thoughtful, yet underutilized resource. 

We have created and shared a number of resource links below, but in the meantime, here are immediate suggestions for educators

  • Breathe deep, be open minded and kind to yourself, willing to try new things, and be a reflective practitioner. We offer up so much gratitude to you, you who are at the forefront of change, of educating our youth during these revolutionary times, while all of us are also doing our best to navigate a global pandemic and climate change. We understand change can be uncomfortable but know there are Indigenous people in your community who you can reach out to to have some of those Courageous Conversations. Educators around the world are feeling a sense that their cup is empty, so make sure you take time yourself to practice self-care.
  • If you haven’t started utilizing and understanding what a Land Acknowledgement is, then now is the time. This is an opportunity to research, honor and acknowledge whose traditional lands we occupy and understand past and on-going injustice and oppression of Indigenous Peoples. Consider coupling your classroom’s land acknowledgement practice with actions that your students or parents can take to support a local tribe. Spend time out on that land and maybe learning the names of some local plants and learn about ‘Honorable Harvest’ that Robin Wall Kimmerer so passionately speaks of. You can download the Native Lands app to your smartphone to help identify who the stewards of that land are. Your local tribe may also have resources on how they prefer to be acknowledged.
  • When you come across text that relegates Indigenous Peoples to the past or attempts to group us together as a monolith - take the opportunity to have a critical discussion about how we are still here. There are over 574 tribal nations in the US alone, each with their own languages and cultures! Explore the work of Illuminatives and take action to help us change the narrative.
  • Learn where all your children’s family’s come from. A great project is to do a family tree; having students learn their ancestry empowers them to continue growing in their identity. Teaching Tolerance is a great resource to learn more about implementing culturally responsive teaching strategies and has a lesson plan on creating a family tree. Indigenous people have been told that our way of doing and being would bring fire and damnation. The residual effects linger in the lives of our future leaders. It is our job as educators to build them up and encourage them in their personal growth. The First Alaskans Institute offers a multitude of resources on Race and Equity. The National Indian Education Association supports educators with online resources for the classroom, how to have Tribal Consultation, teaching about Thanksgiving from an Indigenous perspective, and much more!
  • Maintain your hope. Keep trying, reflecting, practicing kindness and sharing. Remember laughter is medicine - Native humor is one of the values that is shared across our Alaska Native tribes. When Princess and I get to laughing with each other it’s soul filling and spirit lifting.


Yatibaey Evans is from Mentasta, Alaska and is part of the Ahtna culture, stewards of the Copper River region. Yatibaey has four incredible sons ranging from ages 20-7. Yatibaey has a BA from University of WA and a MAT from Johns Hopkins University. She is the current President of the United Way of the Tanana Valley and Past President of the National Indian Education Association. Yatibaey is the first Alaska Native president of NIEA, a grassroots organization working to improve education. The late Bill Demmert, who is Oglaa Sioux and Tlingit helped establish NIEA in 1970. As an active member of the Fairbanks Coalition Builders, Yatibaey strives to share the truth in love and sit with others as they share their stories.

Princess Daazhraii Johnson is Neets'aii Gwich'in and lives with her three sons and partner on the traditional territory of lower Tanana Dene lands in Alaska. She is humbled to serve on the board of Native Movement and NDN Collective - collectively, she works to protect the lands, waters, animal and plant relatives that continue to take care of all of us. Princess received a B.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University and a M.Ed. at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has served on the SAG-AFTRA Native American Committee since 2007 and in 2015 she was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a Sundance Film Alum, a current Nia Tero Storytelling Fellow and is the Creative Producer and a screenwriter for the Peabody award-winning PBS KIDS series MOLLY OF DENALI.

*Republished from PBS Education online @
Unlearning Thanksgiving: Centering Indigenous Youth Voice l Part 1
In recognition of November being Native American Heritage month, PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs gathered perspectives from Native American students on what Thanksgiving means to them, and the importance of educating others about Native American heritage. 

Cordelia Falls Down, a member of the Apsáalooke Nation and United Keetoowah Band, is from the Crow reservation of Montana. She is pursuing a Masters degree in Native American Studies-Tribal Governance and Policy at University of Oklahoma. 

She responded to written questions about the importance of preserving her community’s traditions, how she has dealt with false perceptions of Native Americans and what Thanksgiving means to her.

The meaning of being Native American, in one word: Connection

The necessity of Native American Heritage month

People often forget that Native Nations are a living culture. We have been depicted as a people of the past with countless attempts to erase our people and culture. Yet despite a history of genocide and assimilation, we continue to fight for our people, our representation, presence, and future-and that is something truly worth honoring. So not only is it important to have a month dedicated to Native American heritage, it is necessary. Native American Heritage month is more than just a hashtag or a post you do on instagram once a year, it is a time to celebrate the lives, culture, and resiliency of Native peoples. Learn whose land you are on, educate yourself on the histories of our Nations, learn about contemporary issues, support Native businesses, and pay tribute to the first peoples of this land.

Community traditions and resiliency

As Apsaalooke people, upholding our traditions and culture is vital. From our Crow style dancing, arrow tournaments, hand games, beading and sewing circles, and stories, it is important to continue these traditions as it represents our culture and identity. However it is also important to note that these traditions and values have been greatly threatened since settler colonialism. From Manifest Destiny, land theft, Indian boarding schools, and forced assimilation, there were many attempts to erase Indigenous culture and livelihood across all Nations. These acts have had lasting impacts that Native people still face today, but our communities are diligently working towards language revitalization, land back, recognition, and working to increase awareness for Native issues. The determination to create a prosperous future for the next generations despite being in a colonial world speaks volumes of the resiliency Native people possess and the strength that has been passed down from ancestors. This is what I want others to know about Native people and who we are; we are still here as community members, teachers, veterans, doctors, lawyers, scientists, artists, mentors, and Nations. Our existence is resistance and we are truly a powerful people. Misunderstandings and lack of Native representation 

From racist mascots, being categorized as “other”, or a few weeks ago in a CNN poll as “something else”, I have always felt misunderstood given the lack of representation for Native people. When you live a lifetime of not seeing anyone who looks like you and the only “representation” you see is history books, it greatly affects the way you see yourself. To many, the jokes we see on tv about Native people, the costumes worn on Halloween, and the spaces that lack a Native presence is incredibly discouraging and has affected the way non-Native people view Native Americans. I distinctly remember my first time correcting somebody who fed into the narrative of Natives and “free college” (which by the way, we do not get to go to college for free). I was in my social justice class, a lecture hall that was predominately white and much bigger than my high school graduating class of 24 people. For the entire semester, I chose to sit in the back and did not raise my hand unless for attendance. One day, my professor brought up “affirmative action” in our class. A student in the front explained that it was like Native students getting free tuition. Slowly putting my hand up and with a shaky voice I explained that Native students getting anything free has always been a common misconception, and that in actuality, was far from the truth. She apologized and some students turned around and nodded at me as if saying, “I hear you”. This experience was a stepping stone for me, it taught me that as an Indigenous woman it is important to utilize my voice even when I am standing alone. 

Correcting false perceptions

I have engaged in classroom dialogue in large lecture halls with predominantly non-Native people who came from worlds very different from my own. I have been blessed to be a part of organizations and spaces that are pushing for representation and bringing awareness to crucial issues. These organizations I have been blessed to be a part of include Gamma Delta Pi-Native Women sorority, Women of Power, American Indian Student Association, and Center for Native American Youth. In my undergraduate years, I was also blessed to win the Miss Indian OU title which allowed me a platform to promote and emphasize Native Student success and representation. A more personal experience has been promoting awareness to the Missing and Murdered and Indigenous Women and Girls movement on campus with my sorority. While I have corrected people’s false perceptions about me and my culture through conversations, social media platforms, and at any given chance, I also focus on emphasizing the message that we are still here-and what we have to say is important. 

If you really knew me, you would know that…

I am proud and grateful to be an Apsáalooke and Keetoowah woman. I wouldn’t change this for anything.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving 

Many people are taught that Thanksgiving represents the first feast between Pilgrims and Native peoples. At a young age, I was taught by my family what Thanksgiving actually represented-the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Many people still believe the myth that Thanksgiving represents a time of unity. They gather with family and eat traditional Indigenous foods while occupying Indigenous land. In a month that is supposed to celebrate Native heritage is also the same month where genocide is erased. While this has been a time to eat, have a small fall break, and enjoy the company of family, it is also important to learn the true history behind this “holiday” and understand its representation of colonial violence. Respect those that wish to not celebrate this holiday, learn more about the Native land you occupy, and correct the narrative and history to friends and family.

Combating the Thanksgiving narrative 

In order to combat the narrative around Thanksgiving, it is important to correct people’s perception around the holiday. People need to explain to friends and family that the “Thanksgiving holiday” represents settler colonialism, violence, and genocide. Believing the myth that Thanksgiving is a holiday that represents unity between Pilgrims and Indians is an erasure of Native American history. It is also important to combat the narrative in all spaces such as school, work, social gatherings, and social platforms. If you are non-Native listen and ask Native peers on how to be a better ally. Many of us appreciate when people ask rather than assuming or not asking at all.

Art work is by Apay’uq Moore, Yup’ik artist from Bristol Bay.
Story by PBS & PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs; Graduate Student Cordelia Falls Down (Apsaalooke)
​To view this story in its entirety visit
Unlearning Thanksgiving: Centering Indigenous Youth Voice l Part 2
In recognition of November being Native American Heritage month, PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs gathered perspectives from Native American students on what Thanksgiving means to them, and the importance of educating others about Native American heritage. 

Edward J. Falcon Jr. is from Belcourt, North Dakota on the land of the Turtle Mountain Band of Anishinaabe, and works as a youth engagement specialist in Anchorage, Alaska on the land of Dena'ina, Ełnena, and Dënéndeh peoples. 

He responded to written questions about the importance of changing false narratives about Native Americans and learning about Native heritage, as well as what celebrating Thanksgiving means for his family. 

The meaning of being Native American

If I were to describe what being Native American means to me in one word, it would be empowered.

The significance of Native American Heritage month

As of now, I do believe that having a specific month dedicated to Native Americans is important. It’s important that people in our country learn about us as a people and about our unique and different cultures that define us. Until there comes a day when the history, teachings, and lifestyles of Native Americans and all of the other cultures that contribute to our country are learned, understood, and ingrained into the minds of every American, I think that there should be a month dedicated to the importance of learning them.

Rich cultural history and traditions

One thing that I would like for people to know about my tribe is how genuinely unique it is when it comes to culture. Of course, our ancestral culture of my Anishinaabe ancestors and Midewiwin in which they practiced and followed is still in abundance on our land. However, our Michif culture is also so amazing. Within that last few hundred years, a new culture emerged as two peoples intermarried and had children. Michif is a mixed culture and in turn has a mixed language whereas French and Anishinaabe & Cree words are intermixed. I’m grateful to be of two amazing and powerful peoples and to be able carry on their languages and traditions.

False perceptions of Native Americans 

What comes to mind for me is the word protestor. Very often, whenever there are movements of Native Americans to showcase or even exercise their sovereignty, the media portrays them as protestors, and in turn projects protestors to be the enemy. This causes a negative stigma against Native Americans and even other people who practise their rights to exercise their freedoms. The country today thinks of protestors in such a negative light. Some Americans forget that it’s the people who have exercised their rights (or sovereignty) to confer their dismay or anger of the way things are that are the only ones who have ever managed to achieve even a semblance of positive change. 

Educating others 

The many ways I have been able to correct people’s false perceptions of me are as follows: educating them, encouraging them to educate themselves, providing facts and websites to look up, and offering my perspective.

If you really knew me, you would know that…

It is my passion and duty to serve the youth of Native communities, give pride to my people, and instill awareness to others.

Celebrating Thanksgiving 

I’ve always been grateful for the food and the time with the entire family. However, nobody in my family celebrates Thanksgiving as an American holiday. It’s a time for us to get together and share stories, cook our traditional foods, and be grateful for the resilience of our ancestors for bringing us here today. 

Redefining the holiday

I believe people can still celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday in order to come together and spend meaningful time together in order to make quality and lasting memories. However, I think it’s important for people to take the time to educate themselves and change the narrative of Thanksgiving by taking the power away from the colonial aspect of the holiday and placing that power into family values.

Art work is by Apay’uq Moore, Yup’ik artist from Bristol Bay.
Story by PBS & PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs; 2020 Human Trafficking Leadership Academy Fellow and a long time Generation Indigenous Ambassador, Eddy Falcon (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)
​To view this story in its entirety visit
Four Wisconsin Residents Awarded the 40 Under 40 Award
2020 “Native American 40 Under 40″ Award Recipients
The National Center for American Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is pleased to announce its 2020 class of “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients. This prestigious award is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their community. 
Four of the Award Recipients are from right here in Wisconsin:

  • Serene Lawrence, Anishinaabe (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)/Hopi; Senior Project Manager, Eighth Generation
  • Dr. David J. O’Connor, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; American Indian Studies Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Curtis DeCora, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Business Strategist, Superior Marketing
  • Brooks Boyd, Forest County Potawatomi; Executive Councilman, Forest County Potawatomi

UW–Madison alum O’Connor honored with Native American 40 Under 40 award

UW–Madison alumnus David O’Connor has been honored with a Native American 40 Under 40 award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

O’Connor is the American Indian Studies consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). He holds a master’s degree from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

O’Connor is originally from, and is a member of, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) in northern Wisconsin. In his role with DPI, he supports school districts’ efforts to provide instruction on the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities, and the education of Native American students.

The Native American 40 Under 40 award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian and Alaska Native leaders under the age of 40 from across the country. Nominated by their peers, the 2020 40 Under 40 winners have exemplified leadership, initiative, and, especially during COVID-19, resiliency and dedication towards their communities and businesses.

O’Connor and the 2020 class join well over 400 previous winners that have been honored over the last decade.
“The Native American 40 Under 40 awards recognize the hard-work, dedication, and perseverance of our best and brightest,” said National Center President and CEO Chris James. “Every year I am impressed by the wide range of accomplishments of our 40 Under 40 winners. The 2020 class shows us what young Native American and Alaska Native leaders are capable of — and what they are already accomplishing. Just as the 40 Under 40 honorees continually inspire all of us here at the National Center, we hope the award continues to inspire generations of Indian Country leaders who will one day be a part of this esteemed group.”

Learn more about this prestigious award, and see the full list of 2020’s 40 Under 40 award recipients, here.
Eighth Generation's Chief Operating Officer, Serene Lawrence (Anishinaabe, Hopi), has been named to the prestigious Top 40 Under 40 list by the National Center for American Indian Economic Development.

The recognition comes on the heels of Serene's recent promotion from Eighth Generation's Senior Project Manager to Chief Operating Officer. 
The Native American 40 Under 40 award recognizes the top leaders from across the country. The winners exemplify leadership, initiative, resiliency and dedication toward their communities - especially during the pandemic.

Serene, who is Loon Clan from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, displayed all these qualities in the early days of the pandemic when she coordinated Eighth Generation's huge donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to struggling health clinics. Under Serene's leadership, according to National Geographic, Eighth Generation "did in eight days what the federal and state government hadn't been able to do in four months."
Serene has been a major force behind Eighth Generation tremendous growth over the last four years due to her wealth of experience and knowledge at the intersections of culture, art education, and business. We are honored to have her on the Eighth Generation team! Congratulations Serene!
Curtis DeCora, member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Owner of Superior Marketing.

The Native American 40 Under 40 award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian and Alaska Native leaders under the age of 40 from across the country. Nominated by their peers, the 2020 40 Under 40 winners have exemplified leadership, initiative, and, especially during COVID-19, resiliency and dedication towards their communities and businesses.

In 2008, DeCora started Dynamix Enterprises and worked with various businesses on direct response marketing campaigns.

In 2010, Dynamix Enterprises won a contract with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The contract included job development services for people with disabilities. In just six years, Dynamix Enterprises was servicing the entire state of Wisconsin, and was granted a pilot project with Self-Employment. This project included DeCora writing the technical specifications documents for Wisconsin DWD entitled the "Self Employment Toolkit."

By 2017, Superior Marketing was born as a spin-off from the Wisconsin DWD contract, and DeCora was helping people start businesses and development finance packages with local financial institutions. Superior Marketing is a digital marketing company located in Hayward Wisconsin, and helps companies increase their revenues 21% in the first 90 days.

Today, Superior Marketing has helped over 200 businesses in all 50 US states and four foreign countries. DeCora has trained over 100+ entrepreneurs from 2017 to 2020. DeCora also founded the Tribal Business League a 501 (c) 6 tribally-led non-profit buying club aimed to help tribes regain the power of their supply chain, pricing power, economic diversification and workforce development.
Deer harvest climbs, CWD efforts expanding
With about a month remaining in the Ojibwe off-reservation deer season, hunters are posting higher harvest totals compared to the last two years. Waawaashkeshi registrations rose to 860 through December 1, up 24% from the same time in 2019. This year’s whitetail kill across the three-state, 1837 & 1842 Ceded Territory includes 405 bucks and 455 antlerless deer.

While the majority of deer were registered remotely—online or telephone—nearly one-in-five animals made the trip to on-reservation registration stations in the back of pick-up trucks or on trailer beds. In-person deer registration provides a community setting to share information and a convenient stop for chronic wasting disease sampling. GLIFWC Wildlife Biologist Travis Bartnick said funding delays and the coronavirus pandemic have hamstrung plans to fully equip registrations stations with CWD sampling necessities, including freezers or drop-boxes, this season. Nevertheless, tribal hunters interested in getting their waawaashkeshi tested for the neurological disease are always welcome to do so, said Bartnick, who manages GLIFWC’s CWD program for deer and elk.

“Registration clerks are still available to collect deer heads for CWD testing,” Bartnick said. “In some communities, tribal wildlife technicians are able to remove lymph nodes and brain tissue for testing as well.”

Some tribes, including Minnesota’s Fond du Lac Band and Mille Lacs Band, established self-service CWD sampling stations where successful hunters drop off deer heads with around three inches of neck attached. At Red Cliff, tribal natural resources staff secured white-tailed deer lymph node samples following a community hunt for elders in far northern Wisconsin. By the 2021 deer season, Bartnick said an improved tribal CWD surveillance program should be in place across the Ceded Territories. —CO Rasmussen
Find your community deer registration station here: registration station

CWD outreach to First Nations

Through a pilot project under development in association with GLIFWC wildlife staff, the multi-disciplinary Center for Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach (MNPRO) is expanding their tribal CWD outreach program with Minnesota tribes to include tribal nations in Wisconsin and Michigan. A University of Minnesota affiliate, MNPRO has also been working with Minnesota tribes to establish disease surveillance networks and to better understand tribal perceptions of CWD risk, and tribal priorities in relation to decision making in CWD management. In 2020, that effort has stretched eastward to include the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Lac du Flambeau Band. Look for more details in 2021 issues of Mazina’igan.
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name
The decision comes amid a wider push for sports teams to stop using Native American names and imagery as team names and mascot.
Philip Yenyo, left, the executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, protesting the Cleveland mascot and team name in 2015. Activists calling for a name change often demonstrated outside the team’s home opener.
Photo by Mark Duncan/Associated Press

After years of protests from fans and Native American groups, the Cleveland Indians have decided to change their team name, moving away from a moniker that has long been criticized as racist, three people familiar with the decision said Sunday.

The move follows a decision by the Washington Football Team of the N.F.L. in July to stop using a name long considered a racial slur, and is part of a larger national conversation about race that magnified this year amid protests of systemic racism and police violence.

Cleveland could announce its plans as soon as this week, according to the three people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

It is not immediately clear what Cleveland’s exact steps will be beyond dropping the Indians name. The transition to a new name involves many logistical considerations, including work with uniform manufacturers and companies that produce other team equipment and stadium signage.

One of the people said Cleveland planned to keep the Indians name and uniforms for the 2021 season while working to shift as early as 2022.

Cleveland spent much of the year before the 2019 season phasing out the logos and imagery of the cartoon mascot Chief Wahoo.

One option that the team is considering, two of the people said, is moving forward without a replacement name — similar to how the Washington Football Team proceeded — then coming up with a new name in consultation with the public.

The Cleveland baseball franchise has been known as the Indians since 1915, but Native American groups and others have for decades opposed the use of Indigenous names, mascots and imagery for sports teams, insisting they are demeaning and racist. Cleveland’s name and Washington’s old name were considered among the most high-profile examples and were the targets of widespread campaigns for change.

The Cleveland team did not immediately comment.

In response to Cleveland’s decision, many fans praised the move, saying it was long overdue and proposing ideas for new names. Others — in particular President Trump — criticized the decision.
“Oh no!” Trump tweeted. “What is going on? This is not good news, even for ‘Indians’. Cancel culture at work!”

Other professional sports teams, including the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Blackhawks, have said in recent months that they have no plans to change their names. Many universities and high schools abandoned Native American names and mascots long ago, but efforts to address the names at all levels of sport in the United States have increased in recent months.

For Cleveland, the process began when it announced it would retire its longtime mascot, Chief Wahoo, a cartoonish caricature that was seen as particularly offensive. Many applauded the decision, but insisted the team name must go, too.

Then in July, just hours after Washington announced it would change its name (under pressure from key sponsors like FedEx, Pepsi and Nike), Cleveland said it would conduct a “thorough review” of its nickname. The team has consulted with many Native American groups, both in Ohio and nationally.
“We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name,” the team said in a statement in July.

Native American groups usually appear at Cleveland’s home opener each spring, sometimes in the face of withering verbal abuse from fans as they enter the stadium. In recent years, the team has worked with the protesters and police to help ensure the safety of demonstrators and their right to free and peaceful expression.

The club has said that the name was originally intended to honor a former player, Louis Sockalexis, who played for the Cleveland Spiders, a major league club, in the 19th century and was a member of the Penobscot Nation. Some have suggested that Cleveland adopt the name Spiders as a replacement.

Cleveland’s name was long accompanied by the Chief Wahoo logo. Phasing the image out included removing the logo from uniforms and from walls and banners in the stadium. A block “C” was adopted in its place.

“Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community,” the team’s July statement said.

*Republished from the NY Times and can be viewed @ NYTimes Cleveland Dec 13 article.
Chicago Blackhawks won’t follow the Cleveland Indians’ lead and change their nickname, new CEO Danny Wirtz says. A Native American representative responds: ‘That Indian head has got to go.’
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes his way on to the ice before a playoff game against the Kings on June 8, 2013, at the United Center. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune)
By Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune

It was only matter of time before the issue of the Chicago Blackhawks’ nickname and their Indian head logo resurfaced as a point of contention.

When Washington’s NFL team announced in July that they were dropping the “Redskins” nickname, the Hawks issued a statement saying they weren’t changing theirs, the namesake of Sauk and Fox Nation war leader Black Hawk.

It was only matter of time before the issue of the Chicago Blackhawks’ nickname and their Indian head logo resurfaced as a point of contention.

When Washington’s NFL team announced in July that they were dropping the “Redskins” nickname, the Hawks issued a statement saying they weren’t changing theirs, the namesake of Sauk and Fox Nation war leader Black Hawk.

Native American advocates have said the name and images are stereotypical, racist and harmful to their communities.

So with the Hawks naming Danny Wirtz as CEO on Wednesday, it’s no surprise he was asked Thursday to address whether the organization is considering a name change now that it’s being run by a younger generation of Wirtzes.

“I respect the decision the Cleveland Indians made to go down that path,” Wirtz said, “but we continue to deepen our commitment to upholding our namesake and our brand, the work we’ve been doing over the last several months and expanding and deepening conversations and partnerships within the Native community.”

The Hawks have banned fans wearing Native American-style headdresses and doing war chants at the United Center, and recently they instituted programming related to Indian culture, such as adding educational resources, forming artist partnerships and introducing a land acknowledgement, which recognizes local “Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories” in a formal statement that will be read at home games and other public events.

“We continue to feel really positive about the types of work we can do, the way in which we can be better stewards of the namesake and the history and to use our platforms to be educators, not only for our fans but for our internal teams, and making sure that we provide that reverence and respect that we talk about,” Wirtz said. “But we wanted to come to life in everything we do across so many dimensions, both from a marketing standpoint, from a learning and education standpoint, and from, by all means, a community standpoint in ways in which we have integrated Native voices into a lot of those efforts.

“So we’re going to continue down this path and continue to hold our brand up in the highest levels of honor.”

Some Indigenous advocates have praised the Hawks’ efforts.

Joe Podlasek, CEO of the Trickster Cultural Center in Schaumburg, said earlier this year that his partnership with the Hawks over the last decade has greatly improved fans’ awareness and sensitivity to Native American issues.

“It’s been a great relationship about cultural understanding, having our Native veterans as part of their veterans on the ice,” Podlasek, who is Ojibwe and Polish, said in July. “They’ve been doing so much behind the scenes.”

Other Native American representatives have said nothing short of a name and logo change is acceptable.

“I appreciate sports teams attempting to reach out to Native folks and talk to them, but what really boils down to (for them is), ‘We’re not going to change the name,’ ” Vincent Schilling, associate editor of Indian Country Today — the nation’s leading news outlet for Native Americans — said Thursday. “But we’ll have conversations with Native people to quantify and qualify our actions.

“Bottom line: We’re not going to change the name right now until it costs us money.”

Schilling, who is Akwesasne Mohawk, said the former Washington Redskins (now Washington Football Team) launched similar initiatives, such as starting a charitable foundation to help Native American communities, but four months after they bowed to public and corporate pressure and abandoned the Redskins nickname, they withdrew financial support for the nonprofit.

Schilling acknowledged that some in the Native American community don’t find the name “Blackhawks” to be derogatory, but he joined other advocates who have called for the team to discontinue using the face-painted, feather-wearing mascot that adorns the front of the Hawks sweater.

“That Indian head has got to go,” Schilling said. “Dump it. Just stop. I’m not a caricature. I’m just tired of these consistent arguments that are just long-winded, lengthy justifications to stereotype Native people.

“No matter how many words you throw at something, the bottom line (is) you’re still stereotyping Native people with a big Indian cartoon head on a jersey. People still walk up to me and say, ‘You don’t look Native American,’ because of those pictures. Dump it.”

Schilling is based in Virginia Beach, Va., in the traditional footprint of the Washington Football Team’s fan base, so he has heard plenty of arguments — and even physical threats — about Native American-themed mascots.

In his view, resistance to change stems from a familial attachment to games on TV, trips to the stadium and other fond memories of rooting for the home team.

“I’m not cutting down the athletes, I’m not cutting down the camaraderie, I’m not cutting down the wonderful times you may have shared with fellow friends or family at a game,” he said. “I’m asking people to separate these concepts of camaraderie and excitement and sharing of the win (by) your team, separate that out from the racially insensitive connotations of the team’s name and/or stereotypical logos of Native people.

“The two are not part of the same pile.”

*Republished from the Chicago Tribune and can be viewed @ Chicago Tribune Mascot article Dec 17
NIEA News & Updates
NIEA Mission Statement
The National Indian Education Association advances comprehensive, culture-based educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

NIEA Vision Statement
Our traditional Native cultures and values are the foundations of our learning therefore, NIEA will:

Promote educational sovereignty; Support continuing use of traditional knowledge and language; Improve educational opportunities and results in our communities.

The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) was formed in 1970, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Native educators who were anxious to find solutions to improve the education system for Native children. The NIEA Convention was established to mark the beginning of a national forum for sharing and developing ideas, and influencing federal policy.

NIEA adheres to the organization’s founding principles: 1) to bring Native educators together to explore ways to improve schools and the schooling of Native children; 2) to promote the maintenance and continued development of Native languages and cultures; and 3) to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and policymakers.

Based in Washington, D.C., NIEA is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors elected annually by membership. Executive Director Diana Cournoyer, who reports to the board, leads NIEA’s dedicated staff of advocates.

Click here to visit NIEA -
NIEA's Programs
Tribal Communities In Schools (TCIS)
Native Youth Community Project (NYCP) Grant
The Tribal Communities in Schools (TCIS) project seeks to improve outcomes for Native students by implementing a community-wide Integrated Student Support (ISS) approach that provides academic, social, and other supports in order to ensure college and career readiness, and lifelong success. 
This project is being implemented in partnership with the National Indian Education Association, Communities In Schools of Mid-America, Inc. and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes of Oklahoma. 
Funded by a Native Youth Community Project (NYCP) Grant from the Department of Education this project is being piloted with tribal students in the Anadarko Public School District..

For more information, contact Rusty Creed Brown at
National Education Association News & Updates
Stay informed, inspired and connected.
NEA provides the latest education news and tells the stories of the educators making our public schools work. Learn more about our activism on key issues facing our 3 million members, and hear what those members have to say about the current events that affect them.

Whether you’re a college student about to enter your first job in education or have retired from working in schools, we have something for you. Find the information (and inspiration) you need in one of our publications.

NEA is here to ensure we rebuild schools with an emphasis on equity, return to the classroom safely, protect the most vulnerable students, and help educators navigate their rights and responsibilities amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

As schools and campuses reopen, it’s a make-or-break moment for the future of education. To ensure the safety and success of you and your students — during the COVID-19 pandemic, and long after — we’ve assembled helpful classroom resourcesprofessional development, legal guidance, and advocacy opportunities to help educators turn this crisis into an opportunity to build back better.

Professional Learning Resources Offered by NEA
From our affiliates to yours, workshops, webinars, and blended learning opportunities to support NEA members throughout their careers.
Whether you're focused on your classroom, community, or capitol, we have tools to help you transform teaching and learning.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
American Indian Studies Resources
Overview of COVID-19, PPE Guidance
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has posted a presentation that gives an overview of COVID-19, including how it is transmitted and how school employees can protect themselves.
The DPI has also released a chart outlining situations when school staff should use certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE)
DPI Digital Equity Gap

The Department of Public Instruction is leading a variety of initiatives to address the Digital Equity Gap faced by many children and families in our state. 

Wisconsin DPI strives to make the process of collecting and analyzing Digital Equity Gap Data more efficient with a variety of Internet Survey Tools. Districts now have the ability to dynamically push information from the new common question fields published in their local student information system (SIS) to a new WISEdash (For Districts) Digital Equity Dashboard via the WISEData Ed-Fi API. Tools for collecting responses and entering them into the local SIS include 1) districts writing their own surveys using the DPI provided common questions, 2) using built in features of the SIS to survey families (i.e. annual online registration), and 3) using a DPI provided English/Spanish Qualtrics survey link.

Wisconsin DPI has partnered with CESA Purchasing to create the Wisconsin Digital Learning Bridge. This initiative provides districts with an efficient process for checking address serviceability, comparing, and purchasing discounted offers with a variety of vendors for internet service, hardware, and software. Districts now have the option to purchase bulk internet subscriptions on behalf of households they designate. Visit the Wisconsin Digital Learning Bridge website for more information. Districts can also obtain specific information on vendor serviceability for each student address. Districts start this process by requesting a data sharing agreement and sample address file from DPI by completing this Digital Learning Bridge Data Use Sign-Up Form.

Wisconsin DPI has partnered with EducationSuperHighway to offer school districts in Wisconsin maps that help visualize student connectivity data. Districts can use this mapping tool to identify unconnected households and help find internet service provider options. Districts can take advantage of this data visualization by submitting student address and digital equity data through WISEdata. Visit the Digital Learning Bridge Mapping Tool Guidance page for more information about granting district users access to the map through WISEhome.
For Students and Families - PSC Internet Helpline

The Public Service Commission has established their Internet & Phone helpline for Wisconsin consumers. Callers can speak directly with a dedicated staff member to learn about internet and phone service options available in their area and discuss eligibility for discounts on critical communications services. Please dial 608-267-3595 to speak with dedicated PSC staff or leave a voicemail.
Phone: 608-267-3595

WiFi Map
This mapping tool displays public WiFi locations that have been self-reported by entities and individuals to the Public Service Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The map displays hundreds of locations where citizens can go to use WiFi when it is not available at home while also maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 public health emergency. New locations are being added as they become available.
Internet Offers: This site is hosted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and lists additional resources.
Connectivity Programs A curated list of state and federal connection programs.
For questions about this information, contact Rachel Schemelin (608) 266-5190
WI DPI - Student Tools for Emergency Planning Available Now
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Once again, fourth and fifth-grade teachers and students in Wisconsin are invited to participate in Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP), a free emergency preparedness curriculum. STEP helps students learn about disasters, emergencies, and hazards, and how to create an emergency plan with their families. Students also receive materials to create an emergency kit.

The STEP curriculum was developed by teachers through the Federal Emergency Management Association. Since 2010, more than 75,000 Wisconsin students have participated in the program.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs encourages teachers to make use of this free resource to help students react appropriately during an emergency and build their own emergency kits.

Fifth grade students across Wisconsin are learning to be ready for disasters and emergencies through STEP, which stands for “Student Tools for Emergency Planning.”

STEP is designed to teach students how to prepare for various emergencies including tornadoes, flooding and storms. It also encourages them to share the information with their families and to develop their own family emergency plan. Along with the knowledge learned through STEP, each student takes home a starter emergency kit.

STEP Curriculum – Find out what kids participating in the STEP program will learn about. Teachers can also download a copy of the materials used for teaching student preparedness. Read more…

STEP Videos – View videos that can be used in conjunction with the STEP curriculum to help teach students about preparing for different types of disasters. Read more…

To find out more about step visit -
Resources for Families
Public Resources

Checklists & Templates

to help you get ready for emergencies (43 Kb pdf)

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. (222 Kb pdf)

This application allows you to create a comprehensive family communications plan for any emergency situation.

Fact Sheets

Extreme Heat (328Kb)
Flooding (571Kb)
Thunderstorms (325Kb)
Tornadoes (350Kb)
Fire (589Kb)
WI DPI -Upcoming Virtual Training Sessions and other events
Virtual Wisconsin Act 31 Implementation: American Indian Studies - The Network
Event Date
Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 9:00 a.m. to Friday, January 22, 2021 - 12:00 p.m.
Event Description
About the Training
This two day webinar training workshop will provide in-depth presentation and discussion on American Indian Studies in Wisconsin (often referenced as Wisconsin Act 31). The focus of these virtual trainings is to help educators understand and implement Wisconsin Act 31, which is a state law requiring all public school districts and pre-service teacher programs to provide instruction on the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the American Indian nations and tribal communities in the state of Wisconsin.

CESA 2 American Indian Studies: Implementing Wisconsin Act 31
Event Date
Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to Friday, February 12, 2021 - 4:00 p.m.

Event Description
This workshop is being presented virtually. Attendance for both sessions is necessary to fulfill DPI licensure requirements.

This virtual workshop will provide in-depth presentation and discussion on American Indian Studies in Wisconsin (often referenced as Wisconsin Act 31). The focus of the training is to help educators understand and implement Wisconsin Act 31, which is a state law requiring all public school districts and pre-service teacher programs to provide instruction in the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the eleven federally-recognized American Indian nations in the state of Wisconsin.
WI Department of Public Instruction - Calendar 2020
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction hosts or promotes a number of educational training and special events through calendars for special topics or subject areas. Event listings show tagged events for that particular topic. Please direct questions on individual subject or topical calendars to the subject specialist or the event contact.

Event Listings
Government Meetings - List of upcoming meetings for councils and committees that provide advice and guidance on the department's work.

Public School Observance Days - Wisconsin's 21 special observance days are part of state statutes governing general school operations (Wis. Stats. 118.02).

Testing Dates - Testing dates for various assessments.

General Events and Training
Wisconsin Education Calendar - Lists dates, meetings, conferences, training, and special events related to education.

Subject Area and Topical Calendar Links

School Start and End Dates

Wisconsin School District Calendars - Provides links to Excel download files that list individual school district start and end dates by year.
  • Additional American Indian Studies Info
The American Indian Studies Program exists primarily to assist with the implementation of the curricular requirements in the areas of American Indian history, culture, and tribal sovereignty. The program is also responsible for American Indian Language and Culture Education.

Program staff:

American Indian Language and Culture Education Licenses

Any school enrolling American Indian students may choose to establish an American Indian Language and Culture Education (AILCE) Program designed to make the curriculum more relevant to the needs, interests, and cultural heritage of American Indian students.

Components may include instruction in language, literature, history, and culture; staff training; and vocational education. Such programs must have a parental advisory committee. Additional information on AILCE program requirements is found in Wis. Stats. Ch. 115, Subch. IV.

One long held misconception about American Indian nations and tribal communities is that they all speak one single common language. However, that is certainly not the case in Wisconsin as there are at least three language families that are considered to be linguistically separate. Of the eleven federally-recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin, the six bands of Chippewa or Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Menominee and the Stockbridge Munsee Mohican speak Algonquian languages, the Oneida speak an Iroquoian language and the Ho-Chunk speak a Siouan language. Until recently most of these languages were strictly oral, and there were limited amounts literature or other written resources.

Currently, many American Indian nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin and throughout the United States are involved in language preservation efforts to preserve and revive their native languages. While a number of American Indian students may not be fluent native language speakers, they may come from communities where they may be exposed to their native language either at home, in preschool or tribal programs, or in other language preservation programs. By the time these students enter school, they may have had several years' of bi-cultural or bilingual learning. However, many educators may be unaware of this language foundation and how to use it to enhance student academic success.

Language Resources
American Indian students, families and communities have traditionally been bi-cultural or bilingual members of their tribal nation and of the United States. In Wisconsin, American Indian nations and tribal communities presently use the Roman Alphabet symbols to represent written sounds in their languages, use unique sound systems and have dialectal variations of their native language. DPI American Indian Studies Consultant David O'Connor was interviewed by the WIDA Consortium about the importance of language and culture on student engagement and achievement. Here is a hyperlink to the article from the WIDA Focus On: American Indian English Language Learners
Another resource that demonstrates the importance of language in American Indian communities is project The Ways, which is a production of the Wisconsin Media Lab. The Ways is a series of short videos and other resources that showcase the present day experiences of members of the eleven federally-recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin. 

The video Language Apprentice tells the story of a Ho-Chunk language apprentice, Arlene Thunder Blackdeer, who is one of 15 language apprentices working to become fluent Ho-Chunk language speakers. As she has become more fluent, Arlene has become a language teacher at Tomah A
rea School District.

The video Prayers in a Song is the story of hip hop artist Tall Paul from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota and his struggle to learn Ojibwe. Set in the urban area of Minneapolis, Tall Paul shares his struggles trying to learn his native language and better understand his heritage.

The video Living Language is the story of an attempt at language revitalization. Ron Corn, Jr. from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin shares his story and effort to raise his daughter as a first language speaker of Menominee. A language teacher, he quit his full-time job where he taught Menominee language at the Menominee Indian School District in order to spend more time raising his youngest daughter, Mimikwaeh, with the language through immersion. He hopes that she will be the first child in over a generation whose first language is Menominee and not English. 
The video Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School is the story of a school that is "a place where people help each other," is part of an international movement that seeks to revitalize indigenous languages, many of which are in danger of never being spoken again. Keller Paap and Brooke Ammann from Waadookodaading share their journey and story in the video.

Tribal Language Revitalization Grants
In recognition of the importance of these American Indian nation languages and their relationship to student engagement and academic achievement, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issues award grants on a competitive, annual basis to school board, consortium of school boards, CESA, or Head Start agencies who partner with a tribal education authority or government. .
These grant funds may be used for language activities related to providing instruction in one or more tribal languages as curricular or co-curricular offerings including, but not limited to, curriculum design, creation of appropriate assessment instruments, professional development activities, language-focused parent and community engagement activities, instructional delivery, and program evaluation.

Wisconsin First Nations
Searching for resources to teach American Indian Studies in your classroom?

This website provides authentic and accurate PK-12 resources that address current academic standards and enhance your students understanding of Wisconsin Native cultures and communities. Teacher professional learning resources are also provided, including a Frequently Asked Questions section for answering hard-to-ask questions you may have when teaching about Native cultures, and exemplar videos featuring Wisconsin teachers modeling how to incorporate American Indian Studies into students’ everyday learning.

For questions about this information, contact David O'Connor (608) 267-2283.
US Department of Education - COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 Resources for Schools, Students, & Families

Coronavirus Resources

During this coronavirus pandemic it is important that states, communities, educators, and families are equipped with resources and flexibilities that empower students to continue pursuing their education goals . This includes the ongoing development of guidance and policies related to elementary and secondary educationspecial educationhigher education, and other essential components of lifelong learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also continues to provide updated guidance for school settings.

What's New!
Department of Education Resources
Tribal Education Resources
Wisconsin Indian Associations, Organizations & Programs
These links are to community and tribal organizations in Wisconsin that provide information and support for American Indian people, families, and communities in regards to economic development, tourism, education, health, and natural resources. 

Highlight on Our Partners: Woodland Indian Art, Inc.
Woodland Indian Art, Inc. (WIA) is a non-profit organization created to expand the awareness and appreciation of Woodland Indian Arts and Culture through education, events and markets. We bring Woodland Indian artists together to raise awareness of their distinct artistic styles and cultures. We contribute to the economy of Native communities by cultivating the public’s appreciation of Woodland Indian artists and the unique diversity of their art. WIA and its volunteers have produced the Woodland Indian Art Show and Market on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin since 2006.

Visit the website for more information and a comprehensive list of grants and scholarships for artisans of all genres and disciplines.

PO Box 116
Oneida WI 54155 


National American Indian Associations, Organizations & Programs
Wisconsin Tribal Colleges, Schools & Head Start
Wisconsin Tribal Colleges and Universities 
The College of Menominee Nation and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College area two tribal colleges located in the state of Wisconsin. The primary campuses for these colleges are located on the Lac Courte Oreilles and Menominee nations with outreach sites in surrounding communities.

Wisconsin Tribal Schools
Wisconsin has three Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded schools and one private American Indian tribal school in the state. The following links provide details about each of these schools, along with information for parents, families, and communities. 

These links are to websites of Wisconsin tribal Head Start programs coordinated by and located on or near American Indian nations and tribal communities in the state. 

Wisconsin Indian Education Association Programs & Initiatives
Wisconsin Indian Education Association Scholarship Information

In keeping with its continuing commitment to higher education, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association is pleased to provide scholarship assistance to American Indian students attending institutes of higher education for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. This scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship, not based on financial need.

The scholarship is open to the following:
  • 2021 Graduating high school seniors
  • One (1) to two (2) year program students
  • Four-year college students (second semester freshman, sophomore, junior or senior)
  • Graduate or Ph.D. student

These are merit-based scholarships requiring the students to write an essay and be above average academically. To date, 35 Wisconsin Indians have been awarded W.I.E.A. Scholarships.
Click the following link for the 2020 Scholarship Application: 2020-2021-WIEA-Scholarship.

Applications and required documents are due June 1, 2021.