Message from the President

I hope this message finds you safe, in good health and in a good frame of mind. As we forge ahead in this quickly changing world, I would like to ask that we reflect upon the changes our ancestors experienced. Let us build on their successes and lessons. I cannot imagine what our great-great-grandparents, and their grandparents, went through. I do know their are things we can take away from their enduring struggle. Things such as fortitude, perseverance, flexibility, compassion and understanding are just a short list of qualities they exhibited. These are not only trying times but also divisive times. I'm certain if we draw from the strength and courage of those who came before us, we can safely and successfully traverse the challenging days ahead.

There are a number of things I'd like to catch everyone up on, so I'll get right into it.

I want to offer a big congratulations to Mr. Jason Dropik, Head of School at Indian Community School in Milwaukee, on his election as president of the National Indian Education Association. I've had the pleasure of working with Mr. Dropik over the past few years and am certain he will do a great job in leading NIEA. Likewise, I want to extend a sincere congratulations to Dr. Jolene Bowman, Vice President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community and Brandon Thoms of Lac du Flambeau on joining NIEA board of directors. Dr. Bowman has previously served on the board and was NIEA president in 2017-2018. I'd like to offer encouragement to all three as they embark on another phase of their individual and collective journey in Indian education. It is good to see Wisconsin solidly represented on the national education scene.

On that note, I want to share that I resigned my seat on the NIEA board of directors back in early October. It is no secret that I have been in the final stages of my doctoral studies. This, like any worthwhile pursuit, has required me to dedicate a tremendous amount of time and energy to obtaining my PHD. This coupled with a renewed focus on my own health, led me to the difficult decision to resign from the board. Before the pandemic hit, I had made it public knowledge that I would be making some changes personally and professionally. I had made a commitment to focus more on my family, my ceremonial responsibilities and my health. Likewise, I also committed to working more diligently on local efforts to improve our overall community health and wellbeing. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received in my role at NIEA, as president of WIEA, in my daily duties as Cultural Connections lead at Lac du Flambeau Public School and as coordinator of our LDF Family Circles AODA Traditional Parenting Program.

Looking ahead, it has been decided by the WIEA board that our 2021 WIEA conference will be hosted virtually. NIEA successfully hosted their very first virtual conference in October. While an in-person conference would be preferred, there are too many unknowns at this time. Some timelines estimate a return to in-person gatherings won't likely happen until sometime in Summer of 2021 or even 2022. The board determined it in the best interest of all to hold the conference virtually--keeping the health and safety of all at the forefront of their decision. We will continue to provide updates things unfold. We are looking forward to holding a dynamic and engaging conference in Spring of 2021.

As many of you know, November is officially Native American Heritage Month. At WIEA, every month is Native American Heritage Month. Heritage is defined as something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition: a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage. In our Native ways, heritage is that and more. It's a state of being. A way of thinking and viewing the world. It's an individual and collective responsibility to our ancestors, descendants and our communities. It's a commitment to Mother Earth and all of our relatives that reside on her. But most of all, heritage means caring for the gifts our families have left us--whether they be song, dance, ceremony, language, knowledge--so that we may pass them on to future generations.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from everyone very soon--even if it's on Zoom or Blue Jeans. Be well and be as safe as possible.

Giigawabamin (I'll see you again),

Brian Jackson
Wisconsin Indian Education Association
Happenings in Indian Education
Jason Dropik, Head of School at Indian Community School of Milwaukee and Bad River Member, elected president of National Indian Education Association

Three Wisconsin Natives to serve on national board
Milwaukee, WI - The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) recently welcomed two more Wisconsin Natives to the organization’s board of directors. Dr. Jolene Bowman from the Stockbridge-Munsee Community and Brandon Thoms from Lac du Flambeau join Jason Dropik in serving on the national board the organization announced on October 15.

Dropik, of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was elected board president following the organization’s annual convention and trade show on October 7 – 9, 2020.

Elections are held each year during the convention, with this year’s event being the first ever virtual convention. Dropik will serve as board president for two of the remaining three years of his term. Bowman, who was also recently re-elected as vice president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, will serve a four-year term on the NIEA board. Thoms will serve three years and replaces Julian Guerrero, who resigned his seat to take a position at the Office of Indian Education.

“I was humbled to be nominated and elected,” said Dropik, who currently serves as Head of School at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. “This honor is directly because of so many tribal members and leaders that have supported my growth throughout the years, I’m honored to be considered for the position—to work with native advocates and leaders—working to improve educational opportunities for Native students across the country,” said Dropik of his nomination and election.

While Dropik serves at the direction of the NIEA board, he says there are several areas he’d like to focus on, including improving education curriculum, resources and systems for Native learners. Dropik looks to develop resources for language and culture and creating avenues for sharing those resources between tribes, organization and institutions.

Dropik said he will also advocate for increased and improved opportunities for inter-generational sharing.

“Finding ways to share resources, so that our elders can share the knowledge they have with our youth, is important to our continuing efforts in integrating Native language and culture into curriculum,” shared Dropik.

Bowman is no stranger to NIEA

The election marks her second term with the organization, having previously served from 2015-2018. During the final year of that term, Bowman was elected as the 49th president of NIEA. 

“It is great to be back,” said Bowman, who currently serves as board parliamentarian in her board duties. “Equality and equity for all Native children to reach their own success is what motivates my work and interests,” said Bowman of her desire to serve the broader Native community.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community vice president has filled important positions within the organization, serving as secretary, president-elect and president—all executive roles.

Thoms was appointed to the board on August 29 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Julian Guerrero, who resigned his seat after being named Director of the Office of Indian Education (OIE) in Washington, D.C.

Thoms has both worked and volunteered locally in K-8 and high school education as a Native American mentor and culture teacher, and at the state level with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association. 

“This is a great honor—to be asked to serve Native people at the national level,” said Thoms. “I’m optimistic that we, as Indigenous People, can continue to make education a priority. Our ways of being and cultural knowledge are just as valuable as Euro-western knowledge.”

Trio connected to WIEA and active in local efforts

All three—Dropik, Bowman and Thoms—are actively involved with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association and active within education efforts in their local communities.

WIEA president Brian Jackson said this is a historic time in Indian education in Wisconsin.

“We have three very capable and committed individuals representing their respective Native communities, as well as the entire state and region, on a national level,” said Jackson. “I’m proud of the work these three have done and excited to see the positive impact they will have on Indian education.

The National Indian Education Association is a national organization based in Washington, D.C. that advances comprehensive, culture-based educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. The organization and its national convention were established to share Native culture, develop ideas and influence federal policy.

Jason Dropik, President, NIEA
Dr. Jolene Bowman, Parliamentarian, NIEA
Brandon Thoms, At-Large Board Member
NIEA Opposes Presidential Proclamation on Columbus Day
For Immediate Release - Thursday, October 15, 2020
Washington, DC— Jason Dropik, President of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), issued the following statement on the Administration’s Presidential Proclamation on Columbus Day:

Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions that the first inhabitants of these lands and their descendants have made in American life. Native language, history, and culture is inseparable from the American story, shaping our foods, medicine, literature, arts, and even our modern governmental structure. From building sovereign nations to serving in Congress, Native peoples continue to serve as leaders and cornerstones of communities across the United States.

On October 9, President Trump issued a Proclamation on Columbus Day, celebrating the most notorious mass murderer and architect of genocide against Native peoples in the Americas. This proclamation, and the subsequent tweet posted online, is an unacceptable erasure of Native peoples from the modern national landscape, and celebration of horrific violence that Native peoples have endured for generations. In contrast, past administrations have acknowledged this history, and celebrated the role of Native peoples in the United States. 

Schools across the nation often create programming centered around Indigenous Peoples Day, including the presidential proclamation and national celebrations in classroom curriculum. However, as has been the case in the previous two years, the presidential proclamation and tweet announcing the proclamation failed to include any mention of indigenous peoples. While celebrating a false narrative of discovery, the proclamation failed to mention that this same expedition led to the torture, death, and genocide of Native peoples for generations to come.

In our own country, the United States embarked on a campaign to eradicate Native identities, tribal culture, language, and religion. The presidential proclamation serves as a jarring reminder of federal assimilation practices that attempted to erase Native cultures, histories, and traditions from our schools, classrooms, textbooks, and curricula. Echoes of these federal policies continue to impact our students, families, and nations today.

In recent years, advocates across the country have pushed for local, state and federal government officials to recognize the holiday as "Indigenous Peoples Day" to recognize the contributions of Native Americans. In fact, South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day for nearly 30 years and does not recognize Columbus Day. Six other states have officially recognized the holiday exclusively since 2017. Seven states, and the District of Columbia have recognized the day through gubernatorial proclamation since 2018. Two additional states recognize Native peoples as well as Columbus Day. In a telling sign, Columbus, Ohio, announced that the city would not observe Columbus Day this year, breaking with decades worth of practice. The president’s proclamation, like many of this administration’s policies, goes against the tide of current social and political progress. 

NIEA stands in support of our Native nations and students to celebrate the vibrant diversity of our cultures, languages, and traditions today, and in the future, through Indigenous Peoples Day. We will continue to educate the public on the unique and sovereign role of Native peoples, and we commit to fighting oppression, hate, and bigotry against any group of people. 

For more information on how to incorporate Native culture-based education in your school and classroom, please visit NIEA’s Resource page.

For more information about this statement please contact Geneva Horsechief-Hamilton at

WIEA Regional News
In Honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
Culturally Responsive Research Relationships

By Rachel Byington, WIEA South Region

In honor and support Native Nations on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Earth Partnership – Indigenous Arts and Sciences hosted a webinar, Culturally Responsive Research Relationships facilitated by Mohican/Munsee citizen Dr. Nicky Bowman from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, UW-Madison. For far too many Nations, “research” is a dirty word. Bowman notes, “It is important to acknowledge that education and research has historically been a tool of assimilation in Native communities, which has caused or continued historical trauma with regard to school-community and academic research relationships.”

The webinar was targeted towards non-Indigenous university personnel who are developing competencies in culturally responsive research and evaluation. The goal of the session was to inform attendees that the typical approach to research and evaluation is not appropriate. She asked the audience to reflect on many important questions: Do they recognize that they are privileged and different in many ways than the communities that they work with? How do they recognize that privilege and move beyond that to take concrete steps to empower and authentically include those often disempowered? How might that make a difference in your life and in other’s lives? Are they responsible and prepared to do this?

As part of the session, Earth Partnership – Indigenous Arts and Sciences was able to share an example of Tribal-University partnerships with Red Cliff, Bad River, Lac du Flambeau, and Ho-Chunk Nations as well as Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College and College of Menominee Nation.

Dr. Bowman is an internationally acclaimed Indigenous evaluation expert. In the session, she introduced basics in equity-focused research and evaluation that affirms tribal sovereignty and engages tribal-university partnerships.

Melanie Lenart of Native Science Report covered the webinar (please click on the link to read more):

To learn more, and view the webinar recording and other materials here and for more information about Earth Partnership click here.

This webinar was made possible by funding from the Spencer Foundation, with additional support from National Science Foundation and the Nelson Institute (UW-Madison).
WIEA 2020-21 Scholarship Recipients
The Wisconsin Indian Education Association is pleased to announce the
2020-2021 Annual Scholarship Recipients. 

A total of 17 scholarship applications were submitted. Each applicant submitted documentation of their academic achievement, letters of recommendation and written essays. Scholarships are awarded to one graduating high school senior, one student enrolled in a 1 or 2 year program, one student enrolled in a 4-year undergraduate program, and three graduate students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs. Following are the 2020-2021 scholarship recipients:
Graduating High School Senior – Sadie Kelley

Sadie Kelley, a member of the Oneida Nation, is the recipient of the 2020 Wisconsin Indian Education Association scholarship for graduating high school seniors. Sadie is the daughter of Lance and Jennifer Hill-Kelley. She is a 2020 graduate of Pulaski High School, earning a cumulative grade point average of 3.75. Her post-secondary education plan is to attend Colorado Mesa University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Business Marketing. 

During high school, Sadie took pride in her academic and co-curricular achievements, and took part in opportunities to explore leadership. As she grows older, Sadie reflects, “I have come to realize that leadership can be valuable in someone’s life and change them for the better. My experiences with leadership has helped me become a better person because I can help the Oneida community, and encourage others to become leaders, too. I believe leadership qualities come from within, from having good values, motivation, or being goal driven.” Throughout her years in high school, Sadie exhibited those qualities through being inducted into National Honor Society; serving as an Ambassador for the Oneida Tribe at the National Congress of American Indians, coming together with youth of Indian Country to talk about tribal issues and ideas to fix them; serving as President of DECA at her school, where students gain knowledge in business and real life opportunities; and serving on Student Council where she engages in school and community service, as well as serving as a student representative to the Pulaski School Board, where she attended monthly meetings and gave updates. One of Sadie’s teachers states, “Sadie’s leadership far exceeds the typical student. She excelled in competition for the DECA Districts competition. She medaled, with her partner, in Business Law. In order to earn a medal, a group must work together outside of the school day, and excel in their content. Sadie not only works hard, but is also a great teammate and understands the importance of cooperation.” 

Sadie is an avid golfer, having played at the varsity level all four years of high school, serving as captain of the Pulaski Golf Team. She made it to the state golf tournament and eventually reached her ultimate goal of being asked to play collegiate golf at a Division 2 school. 

Throughout her high school career, Sadie has completed over 80 hours of community service. She volunteered three consecutive years at the Thornberry Creek at Oneida LPGA Classic, the National Railroad Christmas event, babysitting, helping at sporting events by refereeing or selling food, and volunteering at her tribe’s first all-Oneida Language Immersion pre-K school. During her senior year, on her half days she would spend the rest of the day volunteering to help the students and advance her knowledge of the Oneida language. Sadie states, “This has been life changing for me to contribute what I have learned in my five years of Oneida language back to young Oneidas in an indigenous classroom.” 

Of her high school studies, Sadie’s favorite class was her AP American Government and Politics class. She hopes to become a lawyer someday and she hopes to move back to Oneida where she can help protect the sovereignty of her tribe and contribute to the community. During her sophomore year, she started the Information Technology Academy (ITA) with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ITA is a college preparatory program that admits students with excellent grades, give back to their community, and a commitment to attending college. Sadie participated in this program throughout her high school years and will begin attending UW-Madison this fall. To prepare herself for college, Sadie also participated in College Horizons, a national pre-college program of 50 native students from across the country. 

Her letter of recommendation states, “Sadie has earned the respect of both her high school community and within the tribal community. Her unselfish sensitivity and empathy for others has awarded her with personal growth and an awareness of her own strengths and vulnerabilities. Sadie’s genealogy reflects generations of grassroots tribal leaders. The lessons of her predecessors have not been lost on her.”  
Technical college student enrolled in 1 or 2 year program – Kimberly Latender

Kimberly Latender, a member of the Menominee nation, is the daughter of Kim and Lynnette Latender of Keshena. She is a 2012 graduate of Menominee Indian High School. Kimberly is enrolled at College of Menominee Nation, maintaining a 3.82 cumulative grade point average. Kimberly is working toward a degree in Liberal Studies – Social Sciences. 

Kimberly states, “Since I started classes at the College of Menominee Nation, I became interested in tribal history. Learning about the history of American Indians made me feel enraged at first, but now I would like to do something about it. The trauma endured by American Indians left generation after generation scarred; this is known as intergenerational trauma. After learning trauma can be passed down to each generation, I want to help break the cycle.” 

She goes on to state, “Giving back to the community is very rewarding to me. From 2014 to 2017, I donated my time to the Menominee Indian High School girls’ basketball program. I have also volunteered at community events such as Night Out Against Crime and community walks. Bringing our community together may be the biggest goal to combat intergenerational trauma.” 

Kimberly has also spent time working for elder in the community for the past two and a half years, Mrs. Lynn Skenadore. Mrs. Skenadore shares, “I am an elder of the Menominee Nation and Kim started working with me when health issues prevented me from completing tasks such as shopping, cleaning, and yard work. Kim was always willing to help me in any way she could during the time she was with me. She would drive me to the grocery store, take me shopping at Walmart, take my dog to the dog groomer and shovel my deck so I wouldn’t slip. If there were days where I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out, I knew I could trust Kim to get my groceries because she took the time to learn how I like things and what products I like. It was very nice to have someone so aware, responsible, and dependable working with me.” Mrs. Skenadore continues, “Kimberly is such a pleasure to have helping me. She would call weekly to check in and see how I was feeling and what we needed to do on the day she would be with me.” 

Once Kimberly receives her 2-year degree, she plans on working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her goal is to work with the youth of the Menominee community, specifically adolescents affected by intergenerational trauma. She would one day like to work in the Youth Development and Outreach Department of the Menominee tribe.
Undergraduate student attending a
4-year college/university – Ruth Tucker

Ruth Tucker, a member of the Menominee nation, is the daughter of Lyle and Kathy Tucker of Keshena. She is a 2018 graduate of Shawano Community High School. She is currently enrolled at St. Norbert College, maintaining a 3.93 cumulative grade point average. Her major is Elementary Education, with minors in Art and Early Childhood Education. 

Ruth is a student in the St. Norbert College Honors Program: a rigorous and selective program that promotes and supports life-long learning, creative problem solving, critical thinking skills, original research and ethical leadership. She is highly regarded by the Director of the Honors Program. He writes, “I regard myself as fortunate to have had Ms. Tucker as a student in my Honors 101 class. Her preparation for every class meeting was excellent. Her comments and contributions to class discussions were consistently thoughtful and on point, demonstrating that she had not just studied the assigned material, but also that she had reflected deeply on it. Her work in class evinced the same effort and determination. Major writing assignments were designed as multi-draft projects, and perhaps none of my students put more time and thought into re-writing and refining drafts than Ms. Tucker.” He continues to share, “Ms. Tucker’s presence and potential outside the classroom is what truly distinguishes her. Before the school year even began, she put herself forward as a candidate for first-year representative on our Honors Council. (She won). In her first semester as the College, she has stepped into a major leadership role as a founding member of a student group advocating for Native American issues on campus. Indeed, her engagement in and commitment to social progress in various forms led our office to nominate her for the College’s prestigious Newman Fellowship, which recognizes emerging campus leaders. It is this vision for real, meaningful change that fuels her vocational fire in her field of education.” 

Ruth is vocal about her experience attending elementary through high school away from her tribal community, where she often felt alone. She shares the positive impact of finding a community of Native American students within Shawano High School, where she was able to breathe and find commonalities with other native students. These feelings led her to found the Council of Indigenous People at St. Norbert during her freshman year. She has fully immersed herself in the small yet strong community of talented and passionate Indigenous scholars that she helped to create. They have just finished their second year as an organization and are continually raising awareness around campus. This past semester, they held a resource drive for the Eagle’s Nest, which is a homeless shelter on the reservation. Ruth states, “St. Norbert College was built on the ancestral home of the Menominee people, and I believe that it is one of my duties to re-establish a healing connection and give back to my people.” 

To address the lack of cultural representation she witnessed through her education, her goal is to become a teacher back on the Menominee Reservation. While she feels that she missed out on learning her culture and traditional ways in some respects, she fully embraces her Menominee identity and understands that she can learn about her culture and language. She will learn this through the lens of her young Menominee students, being immersed with young Menominee children as they are forming their own cultural identities; which she anticipates to be very empowering and impactful. She looks forward to the opportunity to positively influence and educate the next generation of Menominee leaders. 

Her lifelong goal is to earn a Ph.D. in education and teach at the College of Menominee Nation. She looks forward to using her education and skillset to someday teach future teachers. Ruth concludes, “I believe teaching is one of the noblest and dedicated professions, and I want to be a part of that. I cannot wait for the future of my career and its impact on the Menominee people.”  

Graduate Student – Shania O’Kimosh

Shania O’Kimosh, a member of the Menominee Nation, is the daughter of Stacie Bowman and James O’Kimosh. She is a 2014 graduate of Shawano Community High School. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, maintaining a 3.81 grade point average. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UW-Madison in 2018. 

After graduating from UW-Madison, Shania interned with the Menominee Tribe’s Social Services Department, where she showed a keen interest in learning about the Indian Child Welfare practice and participated in numerous discussions about the roll out of the Menominee Tribal Children’s Code. Following her internship, she was hired as an Indian Child Welfare worker, where she worked hard to make a different in her community. These experiences helped Shania to recognize that she can be more of an asset to her community by furthering her education. 

Shania shares, “The social work field is a vast field with endless opportunities. There is not a limit on how a social worker can help people, no matter what their situation is. In my time in the field I have found that I connect best with elders. Some examples being my work as a certified nursing assistant in a long term care facility for two years, volunteering at the Madison Senior Center through my undergraduate years, choosing gerontology as my concentration for my graduate degree, and currently by working with Healing Intergenerational Roots (HIR) Wellness center for my graduate school field placement.” Through her HIR Wellness placement, Shania had the opportunity to work with Native American elders who reside in the Milwaukee area. The field placement allowed her to facilitate a book club for the elders. The book club discussions help elders talk about more than just the book; they often touch on intergenerational trauma, historical trauma, boarding schools, what being an elder means to them, and what being Native American means today. Shania found that the book club gave elders the chance to express themselves through the literature that they chose and helped them talk about topics that are difficult to talk about to others who do not share the same experiences.

Shania concludes, “With the education I gain from my program, I hope to give back to my community by supporting elders. I want to find a position that helps elders feel seen and heard. Our community needs our elders; elders educate the next generations by passing down knowledge and wisdom.”  
Graduate Student – Marsha Uutela

Marsha, a member of the Menominee nation, is the daughter of George A. Walter and Elizabeth A. Waupoose. She is a 2000 graduate of Reuther Central High School in Kenosha, WI. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration at St. Norbert College in De Pere, maintaining a 3.90 cumulative grade point average. 

Marsha earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2015 from National University. She has worked in the Menominee Tribal Department of Administration for over 5 years. Marsha has led special projects for the tribe including the coordination of the Menominee Leadership Academy, a professional development program for supervisors and managers. She has been responsible for managing two federal grant programs aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic facing the community by developing a unique initiative to partner social workers with police patrol units to provide immediate help to individuals, children and families in crisis. 

Marsha currently manages the Ya̅cehta̅wak program via the Menominee Tribal Police Department (MTPD).  The Menominee word means, “They change their ways for the better.” The program is getting individuals into treatment who suffer from substance abuse, whether they have a warrant or not. Marsha states, “We cannot arrest our way out of this. These individuals need help now, not later. We provide the participants and their families the resources and financial assistance to get them through their difficult time.” 

She is also very involved in the community. She shares, “I love to get involved in the community because I want to give back to my people and to the land as they have given us so much.” She volunteers with various departments such as the MTPD annual golf outing and annual softball tournament. She helps to raise money for the National Night Out Against Crime” and “Shop with a Cop.” She volunteers to help with the Veterans of the Menominee Nation annual golf outing and the Historic Preservation annual Lumberjack Breakfast. She often is seen with her sons, engaging them in giving back to the community, as well. 

Marsha keeps the mission, vision, and value statements of the Menominee tribe in the forefront of her decision making: The mission of the Oma̅e̅qnomenewa̅k (People of the Wild Rice) is to promote, protect, and preserve our rights, resources, and culture by utilizing responsible leadership and judicious exercise of our sovereign powers. We envision the Oma̅e̅qnomenewa̅k as a strong, healthy, and proud nation living in accordance with its culture and beliefs, and possessing the resources necessary to be successful in achieving our goals. As Oma̅e̅qnomenewa̅k, we value our children, elders, and each other, preserving our language, tradition, history, and culture. 

It is Marsha’s passion, drive and commitment to better herself in order to be better for her sons, family, as well as for her people and community. Marsha shares, “I have mentors, colleagues, and family who I look up to and are amazing examples of who I want to become. These individuals illustrate what a leader should be, how a leader should act, how a leader should take things into consideration and always look out for others in a business and personal sense. They push others to succeed and to follow their dreams. They see more potential in me than I see in myself, so that makes me want to pursue my education even more than I already do. They encourage me to adapt to change, embrace a challenge, think outside the box, further my understanding, to be a better listener and person, look at things in a different perspective, and to believe in myself. These characteristics are what makes them successful leaders in my life and the community. I hope to achieve my goals and objectives by continuing my education.” 

Marsha adds, “Thank you WIEA for giving me the opportunity and assistance to better myself by furthering my education.”  
Graduate Student – Courtney Windorski

Courtney, a member of the Menominee nation, is the daughter of Forrest and Renee O’Kimosh of Keshena. She is a 2000 graduate of Menominee Indian High School. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University, maintaining a 3.58 cumulative grade point average. Courtney previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Administration in 2009 from the University of Phoenix. Beyond going to school and working with youth on the Menominee Reservation, she works full-time as the Child Support Administrator for Shawano County. She has 3 daughters and 1 granddaughter that she cares for, spending much of her family time outside camping, fishing, hunting and gathering. 

Courtney has long held positions in the leadership aspect, both on and off the Menominee Reservation. Through her professional endeavors, she has learned many things about guiding people to new levels of success. As a leader, she strives to be a better listener and coach to the people who look to her for guidance. 
She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success Chapter at Northcentral University and has completed a rigorous leadership training program through the organization. She attended many hours of training focused on teamwork, goal setting, high achievement, leadership skills and styles, self-motivation and accountability. Through many hours of hard work and going through a national review process, Courtney is now certified in leadership training. 

Over the years she has witnessed the effects of intergenerational trauma and its impact on communities. By having a doctorate degree in Business Administration and Organizational Leadership, she will have the understanding and skillset to evaluate organizational efficiency in order to make improvements to address effects of trauma in the workplace. Her background in Organizational Leadership and Business will allow her to provide professional development to employees so that they develop the skills needed to align themselves to the vision and goals of their organization.  

While business improvement is important and she believes in developing people to be their best selves, she has a passion for working with youth. She sees the youth as the future of our nation and understands the need to have a positive force in their lives to guide them. She founded Resilient YOUth, which she is currently working to establish as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Through this program she has been able to help youth on the reservation find places to stay; getting them much needed food and food cards, hygiene products, phones and phone cards. She shares, “Sometimes they just want to talk to a person to vent and know that they are safe in doing so. My goal in working with the youth is to develop strength, resilience and leadership in them, or show them that they already have it so they take those skills and follow a better path and make a better life for themselves; creating the belief that they can do better and they will do better than generations before them. Show them that someone cares, believes in them and will be there to support them in any way that I can. This year, a few young girls that I worked with graduated from high school – what a momentous occasion for them. I knew they had it in them – they just needed someone to believe in them, which is what I provided.” 

Courtney and her family are also starting a small hobby farm on their reservation property. They are doing so in the hopes that they can get more youth involved in helping and starting the learning process of living self-sufficiently off the land.

Of her educational journey, Courtney states, “Obtaining a doctorate degree has been a goal of mine since high school. I wanted to learn, experience, and bring my education back to my community. So this is me, taking steps toward obtaining that goal.”  
Don't Just Teach About Cultures—Teach Culturally. Here's the Difference
When teaching and learning about First Nations and tribal communities in Wisconsin and in the United States, we need to expand how we consider providing this instruction to our students.

This topic is not something to provide as part of the curriculum on just one day (such as Indigenous Peoples’ Day), within a single unit of study, or during a particular month (such as November’s Native American Heritage Month). In my work at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s American Indian Studies Program, I challenge, push, and guide educators to think outside the box of “traditional” or “conventional” forms and, instead, in terms of their instructional practices. In this effort, I encourage educators to think about how they can move from teaching about cultures to teaching culturally with their students.

In my experience, when discussing teaching about cultures, we are referencing a culture’s foods, festivities, heroes, and holidays. The idea around teaching culturally is that the educator is becoming a guide for their students and is actively learning and participating with them in their understanding of the content being shared and explored.

Teaching About Cultures
Teaching about cultures is often limited to instruction within content courses, such as the following:

*Culture seen in literacy instruction as a mirror of the student’s experiences or a window into experiences the student hasn’t had. While valuable, it is limited if students are not provided opportunities to expand and connect their learning to other content areas.

*Culture reflected in environmental instruction, such as representative items of the cultures being studied or seen in the classroom. Posters on walls, featured books on shelves, or videos are used to represent a “single” monolithic culture of Native Americans.

*Culture taught in social studies instruction in a standard and unchanging manner, such as only including First Nations people, communities, and nations. In addition to being infrequent, it is often taught without having Native voices or authors represented.

Teaching Culturally
Teaching culturally includes the use of various forms of the following:

*Pedagogical practices, including but not limited to:

*Utilizing oral histories and stories
*Helping students understand personal sovereignty
*Applying experiential learning techniques
*Contextualizing situations using real-world problems and tasks
*Encouraging multiple ways of thinking
*Promoting analysis and discourse

*Social and emotional awareness
*Understanding how the classroom community reflects the greater community they live in
*A growth mindset in the work

Defining the base roots of language or areas being taught is very important. For example, we have a state law in Wisconsin (often referred as Wisconsin Act 31) requiring all public school districts and pre-service education programs to provide instruction on the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities. To help others understand this law, I encourage educators to increase their understanding of how to define each of the following terms: history, culture, and tribal sovereignty. Having a strong understanding of the root words and their meanings is critical to teaching culturally.

American Indian studies, like other interdisciplinary studies, should not be taught or seen as an “elective,” but instead should be interwoven throughout educators’ lesson plans and curricula from the beginning of the school year to the end.

The “Three I’s”
Before I discuss the “three I’s” with colleagues, I have them first understand why this work is important and what it means to move away from just “acknowledging” to actually learning and understanding. I explore with educators the why: we, as First Nations people and communities, have always been shaping the land, continue to influence communities today, and will make an impact on society in the future. Because of that historical and contemporary impact, there are so many stories to be told, heard, and listened to.

The “three I’s” mark the stages of an educator’s journey to incorporate American Indian studies into their work: include, integrate, and infuse. When considering the “three I’s,” all stages are important in the process. It takes time, growth, and understanding to develop a curriculum that supports multiple stories and perspectives.

The first stage is “include,” which is where educators may introduce a resource or two into their curriculum but are not yet comfortable with the content. However, as they build on their knowledge base, these educators may move into the “integrate” stage with the content while plugging in more and diverse resources before progressing into the “infuse” stage, where they can fluidly and naturally share information and resources throughout the whole year and learn along with their students.

For a deeper look into how I connect with Wisconsin educators in regard to American Indian studies, check out this video profile from PBS Wisconsin Education.

In the journey of the work, I always share my own stories and perspectives in the hope that, in turn, educators will reflect, share their own stories, and learn about Wisconsin’s First Nations along with their students. We no longer accept monolithic descriptions and definitions about ourselves. When you look at me, you see not only a “Native American.” Instead, I hope we have a discussion of what it means to be a father, a husband, a son, a grandson, a nephew, an uncle, an educator, the American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and an Anishinaabe (originally from and a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa). These are areas where I feel we can relate to each other rather than focus on our differences.

*Republished from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Indigenous People's Day
Wikipedia says Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. 

Date: Monday, October 12, 2020
Frequency: Annual

Also called: First People's Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day or Native American Day

Observed by: Various states and municipalities in the Americas on October 12th, in lieu of Columbus Day
Significance: A day in honor of Native Indigenous Americans in opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day
So how do you teach
Indigenous People Day....
October 07, 2020

With recent events across our country, there is a greater need to discuss topics about content, equity, inclusion, and diversity in education. The social studies classroom is particularly suited to fostering these conversations, as it includes holidays, histories, and civic life. The celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is celebrated in 12 states and more than 60 cities in place of Columbus Day, provides a great opportunity for this whether you live in an area that celebrates it or not. Our guests discuss why!

To learn more about the recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day and its coverage in schools, I spoke with Dr. Emma Humphries, Chief Education Officer at iCivics; Maria Marable-Bunch, associate director of museum learning and programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian; and David O’Connor, American Indian studies consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
From left to right: Interviewees David O'Connor, Emma Humphries, and Maria Marable-Bunch, who spoke with HMH about teaching Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Teaching Indigenous Peoples' Day

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Geraldine Stevens: How do schools typically teach what happened after the first interactions between the indigenous population and the European explorers? David, can you speak to how it is taught and then maybe how it should be taught?

David O’Connor: When I look at it from a standpoint of how it is implemented in school districts or discussed in classrooms, one thing I try to encourage our educators to do is to recognize the accomplishments of Indigenous people, communities, and nations and many of the other things that Native people have brought forth and continue to create. A lot of times, we look at it from a historical lens when discussing Native people, but it’s important to especially look at it from the lens of who Native people are today as well. In the professional development opportunities I offer, the discussion around contemporary Native issues and topics is always part of trainings.

Some schools I work with have individuals who really go above and beyond teaching this content with their students. Many of these individuals want to make sure that it's taught in the right way, or in a good way, making sure that they are providing their students with learning opportunities and having multiple perspectives addressed or discussed. For others, especially if they have limited knowledge or background in this content, it can be a challenge. In many instances, it's a lot of new educational content for those individuals who are providing education to our students in our state [Wisconsin] or elsewhere. Wisconsin is a local-control state, which means that decisions about curriculum, standards, and instruction are made at the local level or by the school board.
GS: Speaking of resources in this age of remote learning, do you have suggestions for content, or ways in which teachers can incorporate this important information into today's classrooms?

Maria Marable-Bunch: Yes. I'm going to speak to you a little bit about what the National Museum of the American Indian has been doing. About two years ago, we launched a national education initiative framework called Native Knowledge 360° Essential Understandings. Building on the 10 themes of the National Council for the Social Studies' national curriculum standards, the NMAI's Essential Understandings reveal key concepts about the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contemporary lives of Native Peoples. These concepts reflect a multitude of untold stories about American Indians that can deepen and expand the teaching of history, geography, civics, economics, science, engineering, and other subject areas about American Indians. It was created specifically to begin to change the narrative of the stories around the history and culture of Native Americans, and we developed a series of online web resources that teachers can access.

The key behind what we were trying to do is to start to dispel the myth that Native American histories ended in the 1900s, that Native Americans don't exist today, or that all that ever happened to them is long ago. And so, with this new resource that we're providing online, not only do we talk about the history, but we also want to talk about the contemporary. When teachers access this information, they will hear the voices of contemporary Native Americans talking about themselves, talking about their community and the importance of their history.

To introduce educators to this web resource, we offer a special week-long summer institute that draws teachers from across the country, Native and non-Native. Before the pandemic, when we were able to travel, my staff went all over the country engaging teachers in programs and informing them about the history of Native Americans and the importance and the impact of the history on our country—not only the past, but also what we're doing today. Due to the pandemic, we now offer these teacher development programs virtually, and they reach far more teachers beyond what we were able to do in person.

We're also offering a series of distance learning programs for students. We are working closely with programs like Skype in the Classroom, and we're able to get information out to students and teachers through collaborations very much like that.
The other very important element about the resources we create is that we develop them with the input of the tribal community. They have a say about what we're putting together, what we are providing. They are in many of the video clips that we include with the resources, so they hear directly from Native voices about themselves, and that's been a very attractive component of the resource. That then says that it is authentic and real, and teachers look for that.

"It’s important to especially look at it from the lens of who Native people are today."
David O'Connor American Indian Studies Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
To continue reading click here - How to Teach Indigenous
*Republished from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thanksgiving – what it really means to Native Americans
By Brandon Thoms

Thanksgiving is a time of year when families gather to give thanks for the many blessings we are afforded as Americans. Images of smiling people, turkey dinners with all the fixings and American football are played to drive home the warm comfort of the American dream. School children are fed images of American Indians and Pilgrims sharing camaraderie and good feelings. Classroom lessons lean toward highlighting the struggle and endurance of the Pilgrims – who were Europe’s version of political and religious refugees – reinforcing the bravery of those who “founded” the New World. Students learn how the Indians put down their bows, arrows and tomahawks just long enough to bring food and warm animal skins to the starving, freezing newcomers, in a brief show of humanity. It’s said the two sides feasted for some time at a long table, becoming quick friends and in turn, showing the world that Indians weren’t so bad after all. This was the very first Thanksgiving. A tale of a group of come-from-behind, against-the-odds people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made a life for themselves and their ancestors in a harsh, unfamiliar world – with the help of course of friendly wild-men.

This has been the standard for the past 150 – plus years in America.

Initially a holiday signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the Civil War, Lincoln in his own words said the day was for “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” But before Lincoln made it official, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday the 26th of November 1789 a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” following a resolution of Congress (For sake of time, we won’t go into whether there were initially six presidents before Washington – all of whom were black men – but the historic claim is duly noted). Washington called it a day devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” That’s a lot of God and prayer and thankfulness to say the least.

Regardless of who made the holiday popular in more recent times, “Thanksgiving” has become an American cornerstone of educational propaganda – one that has all but erased the genocide of an entire race of people from the public’s perception and conscious.

A convenient tale of goodwill and peace between Pilgrims and Indians, gift wrapped for our personal enjoyment.

The uncomfortable truth is that American Indians in the area of New England and the newcomers were very suspicious of one another at best. Historic accounts say colonists regarded the local Natives as filthy, uncivilized, satanic heathens.

Many of us are taught the common belief that Native Americans dolefully supplemented the pilgrims’ struggle in early-American colonies. In any school room in the US today, teachers continue to preach an existing, beneficial alliance between these two groups of people. However, in light of the remote possibility of any quaint union between early settlers and Indians, there remains a darker reality to this history – a history consisting of violence and bloodshed.

Long before any “Thanksgiving” celebration of turkey, football and shopping, Europeans slaughtered, pillaged, raped and enslaved the Indians they came into contact with, often “exporting” them back to England to sell into the slave labor trades. This brutal truth, coupled with the fact that the American Indian immune system had no resistance to smallpox and other European born diseases, explains how tribal populations which flourished for tens of thousands of years, were wiped from the face of the earth within the first five to 10 years of contact. Today, estimates state that close to 4.8 million Native Americans live within North America – what Indigenous people call “Turtle Island”. That’s just a fraction of the 112 million that lived here prior to European exploration and conquest. And no, Spaniards, Italians or Englishmen were not the first non-Natives to make it to “America.” Native Peoples’ history includes accounts of Chinese, Mongolian, African (Black) and even Nordics (Vikings) exploration to the New World centuries before 1492.

If asked what the first “Thanksgiving” meant, most people may respond with the conventional theory that the Indians helped the starving Pilgrims survive the first winter in the New World. This image has been fashioned over time and has become a default projection among contemporary society within the United States.

For the most part, many Indian people have also embraced this false portrait of American history and a more true concept of giving thanks today remains shrouded by these Euro-American fabrications.

Around the time shortly before the first official “Thanksgiving”, a horrific event unfolded in what is now the town of Mystic, Connecticut. A local Tribe – the Pequot – were celebrating their own “Thanksgiving”, which was known to them as the Green Corn festival. In the predawn hours a band of Puritans descended on a tribal village and shot, clubbed and burned alive over 700 native men, woman and children (although themselves not Pilgrims, the Puritans were none the less new to North America just the same). The brutal marauding of tribal villages went on for several days.

This slaughter, according to Robert Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was the real origin of “Thanksgiving” – so proclaimed in 1637 by Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop in gratitude for “God’s destruction” of the defenseless Pequot people and their villages. Thereafter, massacres of the Indians were routinely followed by celebrations referred to as “days of thanksgiving.”

These historic accounts magnify the very real issue of Indian mascots and logos, culturally responsive/historically accurate curriculum in schools, systemic racism, cultural appropriation, missing and murdered Indigenous women and the continued need for accurate portrayal of Native Americans in contemporary society. With November being Native American Heritage Month, it is a great time to draw attention to the need for greater awareness of just who Indian people really are and their true history.

It is also a great opportunity to set people straight on the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Modern American Indians and Americans in general have every reason to celebrate every day as Thanksgiving – giving thanks for all we have, whether a lot or a little – while living in America. Celebrating the opportunities and few remaining freedoms we enjoy is something we should make time to do. However, it should also be a time for reflection, a time for giving to the less fortunate and a time to correct a misguided belief. If you want to predict the future, simply look to the past. And the past which we speak of isn’t so long ago.

As we prepare for turkey dinners, good times with family and American football, let’s be sure to give thanks for this miracle we call life. Let us give thanks for our children, our old ones, our significant others, the strength of our ancestors, as well as giving thanks for critical thought – that we can think critically enough to correct history. Giving thanks for our ability to hear, that we can listen and talk to each other respectfully – so that we may share our voice – that we open a dialogue where we set aside our egos and emotions so that we can replace the “Thanksgiving” myth with a historically accurate account of what “Thanksgiving” really means to Native Americans.
November is Native American Heritage Month
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.
Rock Your Mocs Week

Rock Your Mocs 2020
Dates: November 15th – 21st
Official hashtags:

Why a week? To create more event opportunity days, especially for schools, people who work M-F, and people organizing events.

Do we have to wear our Mocs the whole week? Nope, choose a day or days, or the whole week.

Is there a main day? The original day will always be November 15th?

What is Rock Your Mocs? Established 2011, Rock Your Mocs, is a worldwide Native American & Indigenous Peoples social media event held annually and during National Native American Heritage Month in the U.S.A. People wear their moccasins , take a photo or video or story, add the hashtag #RockYourMocs and upload to social media. This creates an online photo album for the world to see and others to enjoy. Additionally individuals, organizations, casino's, schools, museums and tribes are taking the initiative to create their own independent events throughout the world.

Rock Your Mocs was founded in 2011 by Jessica Jaylyn Atsye (Laguna Pueblo, NM U.S.A.) and beginning 2013 has been organized and produced by Native American event producer Melissa Sanchez(Acoma/Laguna Pueblos NM U.S.A.) of @emergenceproductions.

Why? We, as Indigenous people stand united through our tribal individuality, symbolically wear our moccasins, honor our ancestors, and indigenous peoples worldwide, during Rock Your Mocs and National Native American Heritage Month.

Where is RYM held? Where ever you may be and wherever your day takes you or there may be an event in your community .

How to join in:
- Wear your moccasins or a turquoise Awareness Ribbon or a T-shirt or organize an event - Take a pic, video or story and upload to social media and with #RockYourMocs or #RockYourMocs2020
- Click on the #RockYourMocs to see what’s happening worldwide!
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.

NEA State Affiliate - Wisconsin Education Association Council

Our state affiliates make it possible for us to make sure every educator has the power to create great public schools.

Join NEA and get current contact information about WEAC

To become a Community Ally, click here. Aspiring Educators, join here.
Ron "Duff" Martin
(8/1/16 - 7/31/19) (R)
W: 608-276-7711 ext 220
Peggy Wirtz-Olsen
W: 608-276-7711 ext. 289
Mr. Kim Schroeder
(8/1/18 – 7/31/21) (R)
W: 608-276-7711 ext 336
Bob Baxter
Retired Program
W: 608-276-7711 ext 218
Bob Baxter
Executive Director

Kim Schroder Asst.
Diane Lange
Katie Vogt
Ron “Duff” Martin
(608) 276-7711 x289
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 releases fall student count and revenue limit information
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Contact: DPI Media Line, (608) 266-3559

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year.
Wisconsin school districts, independent charter schools, and private school parental choice programs reported overall slowdowns or declines in enrollment, particularly in 4K. Districts also reported summer school participation declined by more than half between 2019 and 2020. The data published is unaudited and is based off of enrollment counts performed on Sept. 18, 2020, the third Friday of September, and reported to the DPI.
The student count data includes unduplicated(1) headcounts and membership FTE (full-time equivalent). Headcount is the number of students enrolled for instruction in a given school or district on the count date. Membership is a full-time equivalent value used for school finance purposes, where students in preschool special education, 4K, and part-time kindergarten are counted as less than 1.0 FTE. Membership for school districts reflects residency, not enrollment; a student in the open enrollment program is included in the headcount for the district they attend, but the membership for the district where they reside. District membership also includes an addition of summer school FTE(2).
Wisconsin’s total school district headcount for the third Friday of September 2020 was 818,922, a decline of 3 percent from September 2019. In comparison, from 2018 to 2019, there was a decline of 0.4 percent. The September 2020 district headcount was led by a decline of 15.8 percent in 4K and preschool special education(3). The kindergarten headcount declined 4.9 percent, while first through 12th grades —where Wisconsin’s mandatory school attendance laws apply — were down 1.9 percent.
Total school district membership for fall 2020, which includes summer and September FTE, was 809,104. The decline from fall 2019 to fall 2020 was 3.9 percent, with summer FTE down by 57.2 percent and September FTE by 2.6 percent.

School district membership data are used to determine revenue limits, which, in combination with the general school aids certified today, determine school boards’ maximum property tax levies. As part of the 2019-2021 biennial budget, Wisconsin school districts received a $179 per member increase in revenue limits for the 2020-21 school year, and the per-member minimum for low-revenue districts was increased to $10,000. Students attending other school districts through open enrollment, independent charter schools, or private schools in parental choice programs can affect their resident school districts’ revenue limits and/or general state aids, but the specific details vary by student and program(5).
Click here to read - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year in it's entirety.
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.
Tribal Education Resources

The Bad River Education Department remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department can be contacted at the information listed here for all of your higher education needs. If you are a current student who will be continuing college in the Fall, please send email for a scholarship application and any questions you might have. We are here to help! Education Dept. Bad River Tribe P.O. Box 39 72682 Maple St. Odanah, WI 54861 Phone: (715) 682-7111 ext. 1533


Drum Beats Bad River Monthly News can be found here - Drum Beats

View their newsletter here - WI First Nations newsletter

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.