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Using Culturally Responsive Practices to Support Native American Students

Using Culturally Responsive Practices to Support Native American Students

Date of the Event: September 29, 2020 | Mandy Smoker Broaddus, Bernadette Anderson, and Loverty Erickson
group of three female students laughing outside of a building Show Notes:

How can educators and administrators affirm and support Native American students in schools? In this interactive webinar, presenters discussed strategies for implementing culturally responsive policies and practices to affirm and support Native American students. This webinar also discussed teaching and climate-building strategies.

Karmen Rouland:

Hello, everyone. Welcome. We’re going to get started in a few more minutes. We’re just letting folks come on in. As you’re joining us today, please welcome to today’s webinar entitled, Using Culturally Responsive Practices to Support Native American Students. As you join the webinar today, we ask that you enter your name and where you’re from in the chat box.

Karmen Rouland:

All right. I can’t actually see the chat box, ...

Karmen Rouland:

Hello, everyone. Welcome. We’re going to get started in a few more minutes. We’re just letting folks come on in. As you’re joining us today, please welcome to today’s webinar entitled, Using Culturally Responsive Practices to Support Native American Students. As you join the webinar today, we ask that you enter your name and where you’re from in the chat box.

Karmen Rouland:

All right. I can’t actually see the chat box, so there we go. We have a wide ranging… people from all over. This is wonderful. Well, we really appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. I see Illinois, Arizona, California-

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

There is some Alaska.

Karmen Rouland:

… Alaska, Maryland. I think I saw Washington state there. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us and please, as you’re coming in, continue to say hello in the chat box and add where you’re joining us from. So my name is Karmen Rouland and I’m the director of technical assistance and training for the Center for Education Equity at the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium. And we are located in Bethesda, Maryland. Thank you so much for joining us today. We are going to be discussing strategies for implementing culturally responsive policies and practices to affirm and support native American students. This webinar will particularly discuss teaching and climate building strategies.

Karmen Rouland:

So, I’m joined today by three wonderful patients, might I add, presenters, Mandy Smoker Broaddus, Bernadette Anderson and Loverty Erickson. Mandy, is currently an Indian education practice expert with the Northwest Regional Comprehensive Center. She has almost 20 years of experience working towards social justice, equity, inclusivity and cultural responsiveness, particularly in the realms of American Indian education in rural context. As a practice expert in Indian education at Education Northwest, Mandy is passionate about developing culturally responsive systems that meet the needs of all students, regardless of where they come from or how small the community.

Karmen Rouland:

Next, I’m introducing Bernadette Anderson. She is the Nez Perce Reservation in Lapu. Did I say that right? Lapu, Idaho, where she grew up with her Nez Perce mother and grandmother teaching her the Nez Perce way of living. Watching her mother successfully advocate for native people, she developed a passion to serve native American people with a life devoted to education. She currently is an academic development institute’s chief community and culture specialist. And she has led ADI professional development since 2000 for senior staff at numerous state and local education agencies, the Bureau of Indian Education, Tribal Education Agencies, the Virgin islands and nonprofits and school-based instructional improvement.

Karmen Rouland:

And lastly, we have Loverty Erickson, who is currently the superintendent of schools at Wolf Point School District in Montana. And so, she’s going to talk to us about her experience and being a superintendent currently in today’s environment of COVID. And our two pandemics that are going on in terms of our racial pandemic and also the COVID pandemic. Loverty is also a consultant on native American education for other institutions and organizations. So we thank everyone for joining us today and we’re so happy that our panelists are here. And I’m just going to give you a brief overview of MAEC. We were founded in 1991 as an education nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to a high quality education for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse learners.

Karmen Rouland:

MAEC envisions a day when all students have equitable opportunities to learn and achieve at high levels. And our mission is to promote excellence and equity in education to achieve social justice. We operate the Center for Education Equity with our partners WestEd and American Institutes for Research. We are one of four regional equity assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education. We are the equity assistance center for region I. And this is our region here from Connecticut to West Virginia, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Karmen Rouland:

The goals of the Center for Education Equity are to improve and sustain the systemic capacity of public education systems to address problems caused by segregation and inequities. We increase equitable and educational opportunities for all students, regardless of race, gender, religion and national origin. And we work with state education agencies, school districts, community-based organizations, schools and other organizations within our region at the request of school boards and other responsible governmental agencies.

Karmen Rouland:

So now I’m going to turn it over to Mandy to take it away with our content for today.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Thank you, Karmen. And thank you to the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center for the opportunity today to talk with you all about native education. I think as you’ll hear over the next hour or so, it’s been the light’s work of myself and the two other panelists. It’s a great sense of urgency, especially now with the times that we’re living in. We thought we would… And thank you all for being here, we are excited to spend some time with you. We thought we would begin by something, an act that is a very important acknowledgement and that would be a Land Acknowledgement. As part of an intentional practice to recognize the indigenous peoples on this continent, we would like to offer up a collective land acknowledgement in our virtual setting as a way to honor the enduring relationship among the traditional stewards of this land and their traditional territories and toned lands.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

We participate in this recognition as a way to show respect for the histories, cultures, lifeways, languages and contemporary contributions of native Americans who have lived across this continent since time immemorial. There’s a link in the chat. It is actually a wonderful resource for land acknowledgements. If you wouldn’t mind clicking on that link and scroll around that gorgeous map and really try to zoom into your location and type the name of the tribe or tribes that either lived there currently or that might have been a traditional or ancestral homeland.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Once you’ve located that if you could type it in the chat, that will be our land acknowledgement for today. As you’re doing that, I can share that I’m not currently located in my ancestral homeland, here in Montana, which would be the North Eastern corner of the state, home to my own Assiniboine tribe. I am though located right now in what is called a common hunting and gathering used often by the Shoshone Nez Perce Salish and Crow tribes.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

[inaudible 00:09:04], I see. Cayuga, Gila River. We’ll let a few more come in. [inaudible 00:09:27], Warm Springs, Passamaquoddy. Great. Thank you all for doing that. For those acknowledgements. I think… I hope this can be a tool that you might use in the future in other settings. We can go to the next slide.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Well, that’s just a picture of me. There we go. I think… I hope that exercise and acknowledgement helps to demonstrate that really anywhere you go in the United States, whether there is currently a federally recognized tribe there or not, you are on native ground. So as a way to set the stage and describe really the why, the need for culturally responsive and culturally sustaining policies and practices, I’d like to talk about two recent publications that might be valuable in some of our work. The first is there on your screen right now. This is a remarkable study called Reclaiming Native Truth. It was coordinated and conducted by several strong native organizations, including, IllumiNative, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association and the National Education Association.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

As part of the project, over 14,000 people across the country were surveyed, interviewed or part of a focus group in order to increase understanding of the dominant narrative about American Indians in the United States. I really encourage you to go look over the whole report if you have the time. It has a lot of great information. I’m just going to cover a few highlights today.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. The report highlighted… big picture, that native Americans are vastly misunderstood by the majority of Americans. We’re often connected to stereotypes or tropes. And what it really comes down to, is that there’s an effort, almost intentional effort to paint native Americans in an inauthentic light. And we know that when this occurs that the biases and stereotypes are built over time across social and policy structures, that deeply impact the lives of native Americans today. I really appreciate that quote from Crystal Echo Hawk, who is actually the founder of IllumiNative. And just the basic truth that throughout all of this, we’re rendered essentially invisible in this country. And so I think that really, again, lends itself to the idea that the teaching about American Indians and the teaching for native American Indians is a very crucial issue in our country at this time.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

We’re going to look over… Next slide. It’s just a few data points that highlight that. Almost 60% of Americans believe… only 60% believe that the U.S. committed genocide against American Indians. 36% thought that we experienced significant degrees of discrimination. People have dual ideas about natives, that were often conflicting. Unfortunately, most people didn’t understand tribal sovereignty, which is a very, very critical issue for native Americans in this country. And most lumped us all into one homogenous group, not understanding the incredible diversity among tribes all around the country.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. So again, that first report goes into much greater detail that I think many people would find very interesting and very useful. I’m going to spend a little bit more time today talking more about education and how some of that data was eventually transferred into this report becoming visible. I was able to coordinate and collaborate on this report with a colleague of mine, Deb Holiday. And we did this work for IllumiNative, [inaudible 00:13:50] and the [Wind Corporation 00:13:51] and NCAI.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

We completed a landscape scan of statewide native education efforts across the country. I encourage you to look over the entire report again, if you have time. I’m just going to focus on a few points that look to show what the picture looks like around the country. It’s important to note that this context is always shifting as far as statewide efforts to improve accurate, culturally responsive history and contributions of American Indians. In states like Montana, where I’m from, we’ve been engaged in this work for 30 plus years, including a constitutional mandate that requires American Indian content be taught in all grade levels, all content areas. And there are new States such as Oregon who recently passed a very similar law and they are undergoing that incredible transformation in their education system really, as we speak.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. The landscape analysis yielded some powerful data. You can see there, 87% of state standards in the country don’t even mention native Americans after 1900. And we know we have contributed quite a bit after that period. So the lack of understanding of our contemporary work and lives is missing. Also there, 27 states don’t even mention native Americans in their curriculum at all. So both the reclaiming native truth project and this becoming visible report, have really helped to confirm the need for native education for all. Obviously, that’s serving two purposes, that having culturally responsive, culturally accurate curriculum is good for all students. But in particular for our native students, how affirming that can be. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that here in just a second.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. Dr. Stephanie [Freiberg 00:15:57], is someone I continue to learn about in this work. She’s researched it extensively. The idea that we must correct stereotypes and misconceptions, locate and remove bias in our teaching and in our materials and to really tell the true story of the diversity of experiences of native Americans in this country. And this culturally responsive and sustaining work, again, benefits, not just native students but all. And for native students in particular, who often have to face damaging and harmful representations of themselves in education and so many aspects of school, this is definitely a way, to improve student wellbeing. And again, [Dr. Freiberg’s 00:16:48] work goes much more into depth than I can.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. So if we know, that’s the work that we could be working towards, we should be working towards to improve our education systems overall, we would want states themselves to be contributing to that work. I’m sorry if that slide is a little fuzzy but you can see there that there are only, I think it’s nine states that contribute… eight states. Only a third of those that we surveyed, actually contribute funding over a hundred thousand dollars in their state to this type of work.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. The number of FTE that might be dedicated within a state education agency, it fluctuates widely, as you can see there. There are states such as Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico and Oklahoma that come out on top. And for a long time, dedicated staff members to that work. We can also, I think add Oregon and others as having more folks working in these areas. And in some state education agencies, folks who work on native education have to wear multiple hats, which can often not be a good message out to the community.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Next slide. Thank you. So this is a good breakdown, again, I’m sorry, it’s a little fuzzy in this PowerPoint. If you look at the document itself online, you can get a much clearer picture. But this shows a curriculum really across the states. It maps out those that include native education in their content standards. It maps out those that require that that material be taught. And then it also notes states that don’t do either of those things in various forms. So you can see the dark-brown states, which include Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, all of those states do require it and do have curriculum that can be utilized in K-12 systems.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

So I’ve got just a few resources here based on some of what I just shared. But I hope that through talking about a little bit of that important data, you have a good picture of what some of this work looks like around the country. And really to know that I think, with the strengths-based approach, that there are some really great models for cultural responsive education with native students and native communities that have been around. And there are those that are emerging in this work. And it’s a growing community that is really dedicated to these efforts and these policies and the practices. And now Bernadette’s going to go little bit more into depth with what that looks like as far as student needs.

Bernadette Anderson:

Thank you, Mandy. And thank you to the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center for inviting us to participate in this webinar. And Mandy now has provided a glimpse of what’s going on nationally in the country. So thank you for claiming that for us in this conversation. Today, I’m really going to just share a little bit about the culture and language from the perspective of what student needs are. I’m from Idaho, the Nez Perce Reservation and I’ve been privileged over the years to spend some time working specifically with the Nez Perce Tribe. I’m going to share a little bit about their practices and I’ll share a little bit about some other tribes and what they’ve been doing around these indicators. Okay?

Bernadette Anderson:

Next slide. So in thinking about what student needs are, the Bureau of Indian Education, have what we call the cultural language indicators, which actually were created from the research. And if you want extensive research on each of these indicators, please reach out and we will make sure that you have that information as well. But the first one… I’m going to take each one. And I’m going to just share a little bit about what this looks like. The idea of having these cultural language indicators are so that the school teams at the LEAs are able to have a point of conversation with their leadership team and with tribal leaders as well.

Bernadette Anderson:

So this isn’t something that they can start by themselves but at some point there has to be a dialogue with tribal leaders to get an understanding about, well, what is the tribal history and what is the culture and the customs and values? Because as Mandy explained, there are 576 federally recognized tribes [inaudible 00:22:07] many more state recognized tribes. And each tribe is its own. They are diverse in their own culture. What may be sacred in one culture may not be sacred in another. So it’s really important to just recognize that, you don’t want to try to put everyone in one box and think that all native Americans are the same and all tribes approach their work the same.

Bernadette Anderson:

And so, the information for the second indicator revolves around being able for the school to provide tribal mentors for non-Indian staff and others who request it. And so, this can look a little bit different in the school and that you can invite tribal leaders, tell tribal elders to come into the school and even just begin the conversation. It’s not that we’re really going to dive in and start trying to design some work before we actually have some conversations and some understanding around these indicators and what they mean for that specific group of students.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. The next slide. The third indicator… Waiting for it to catch up there. Hello?

Karmen Rouland:

Bernadette.

Bernadette Anderson:

Did you hear me? Can you hear me?

Karmen Rouland:

Yes. You can see the slide?

Bernadette Anderson:

I can’t see the slide. Are you showing it?

Karmen Rouland:

Yes.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. Well, hold on. It’s catching up. So I’ll just keep going though. Okay.

Karmen Rouland:

Okay.

Bernadette Anderson:

And you guys… Can you see me?

Karmen Rouland:

Yes. We can hear you.

Bernadette Anderson:

But you can’t see me. [inaudible 00:24:18] technical difficulties here. Okay. It’s going to kick me out. Karmen, can you keep going? And I’m going to catch up with the summary-

Karmen Rouland:

Yeah. We can hear you. If you want to keep talking, we can hear you… four… one, three and four. We can’t see you for some reason.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

But that’s okay. We can also just listen if that’s the only way that works.

Karmen Rouland:

Yes. Bernadette, are you still with us?

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. We’ll just listen. Okay. So then I apologize for that. So the third indicator, which you’ll get the slides, it has to do with the physical appearance of the school, reflecting the tribal culture. And once again, it’s not just about putting a tribal flag up or just having a picture of a tribal leader. It’s really about the climate that’s created in that physical appearance, so that the tribal culture is actually truly experienced and not just seen. The fourth indicator addresses how the school provides professional development for teachers on how to integrate native American culture and language into the curriculum.

Bernadette Anderson:

And so, as Mandy explained, there are many state departments that still have not integrated native American culture and language and history into their curriculum. And so, this indicator begins to help schools with their tribal leaders to begin to talk about then what does that look like? So for example, the Nez Perce Tribe worked very closely with their local education agencies and actually designed professional development for teachers. And the development for the teachers was not just a one-time workshop, it was a series of learning that happened over a period of time. And so during the year, teachers have the opportunity to have whole group sessions with the tribal leaders but then it also provided opportunity to have individual coaching sessions with a trained professional around native American history for Nez Perce people. And then also there was a researcher course was provided by the local college that offered the teachers graduate course or credits towards their degree as well for professional development.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. The fifth one, indicator, is that all teachers demonstrate in their lesson plans and materials that they’ve integrated native American culture and language into the taught curriculum. And this goes beyond just having a lesson plan. It goes beyond just one teacher having the lesson plan. It really gets into that all teachers are teaching in their lesson plans about the native American culture that’s actually relevant to their students in their classrooms. And then the sixth indicator, the school includes tribal elders, speakers and leaders in planning and providing school events that feature native American culture, customs and values, so that they’re making sure that they’re having the conversations about when they’re having open house or when they’re having parent teacher student conferences or they’re having native American history month. Whatever those things are that they’re planning in the school, it concerns the tribal leaders and tribal leaders are then able to have a voice at the table.

Bernadette Anderson:

The seventh one, tribal elders and speakers and leaders are encouraged as volunteers in the school and classroom is really important so that the children and the students can see people that are like them, so that they can hear from people that are like them. So that they can have a different perspective about what’s going on in their community, from those people that are living in their community, especially the tribal people. Number eight, the school staff includes one or more speakers of the community’s prevailing tribal language. Tribal language in different tribes is diminishing. And so, preserving the language is very important. And so, having the opportunity as a school official school leader, to sit down with tribal leaders to talk about, well, what can we do to help support the preservation of language? That’s a good place to have a conversation and a place to begin to build relationships with tribal leaders.

Bernadette Anderson:

Number nine, the curriculum for all grade levels includes lessons on the accomplishments of native Americans. It’s very important that native Americans are heard, not only just seen and there [inaudible 00:29:10] things that they have done that have actually have contributed to the success of the local community, the state community and then the national community. And so it’s important that we are all educated about what different tribes are doing so that they can be included.

Bernadette Anderson:

The 10th one has to do with the leadership team. In this school, there are school teams that plan from social and emotional learning to MTSS, to all kinds of interventions. But there also has to be this work that they infuse tribal customs and values into the schools, operating procedures, rituals and activities, such as things as having the language posted in the classrooms, so that students may not only just be learning about the English language but they may also be learning about their tribal language. They may be learning about customs, how they greet each other in the morning, the procedures there, that’s also important.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. So we’re almost done. Number 11. The principal and other school leaders demonstrate an understanding of tribal culture, customs and values. And they model the respect for them. This is really important and I think that their time needs to be spent… really planning, how do we demonstrate we understand the culture? How do we model respect? And what may be a model of respectful one may not be for the other. So it’s really important to be able to have these conversations and design something for that specific school that will meet the needs for those specific students.

Bernadette Anderson:

Number 12. Parent education programs include native American and tribal history, customs, values and languages. An example of this is how parent education goes beyond just helping parents understand how to study. It may go into exactly understanding what their way of learning is. How do native people learn? How do the Nez Perce learn compared to the Muskogee Creek nation? How did those students learn? There’s a difference. And so, it’s really important that parent education programs also include that in their services to their families.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. So wrapping up, number 13. All students receive instruction and the basics of the prevailing tribal language. So as you see through these indicators, you can see there are some that are going to be like early wins. Like you can really get in there and you can start working and planning and collaborating with tribes. But then there’s some of this heavier work that’s going to take a little bit more time. And so, the indicators are not a place where you can just dive in and we’re going to tackle number 13 when we may need to start with another one. Maybe we just need to tackle parent education programs. So they are differentiated in the way that they are designed.

Bernadette Anderson:

And the last one, the 14. The promotion of native American history, culture and customs, is done in a way to engender respect for the history of other people, the culture of other people. So not only are we talking about learning and incorporating native American ways into the operation of the school but we’re also talking about the native American ways and how they respect other cultures as well. And that’s really an important work too. And so, as I share these, I think it’s really important that I’ve seen the work done a couple of different ways with these indicators. I’ve seen where we’ve surveyed students, parents, teachers, around, where do they think their schools are as it relates to these indicators? And then I’ve seen tribes that start working with schools to begin to make progress. And then I’ve seen tribes where they’ve actually looked at each of these that have addressed them and help support their LEAs and have identified best practices around each of these indicators as they’ve been incorporated into their school plans.

Bernadette Anderson:

So with that, I’m going to transition into some resources about these indicators and other things that may be of interest to you. So one of the things that we do at the Academic Development Institute, is that we do a lot of research. We stand between the researchers and the practitioners and we convert that research into procedural knowledge. And we’re always looking to learn from other people. And so, for those of you who are out there, who are actually involved in writing research or interested in submitting research for a peer review journal, we have, what’s called the school community journal, which we’ve been publishing since about 1991.

Bernadette Anderson:

And so, we welcome articles, reports from the field, things of interest that other school communities may be interested in learning about your work. We invite you to visit our website and learn more about that. And then also we also do a lot of work around family and community engagement, addressing student needs, as it relates to native American culture, along with studying and a lot of different diverse topics. So if you’re interested in learning more about our resources that are free, you can also visit us at schoolcommunitynetwork.org. Okay. Thank you.

Karmen Rouland:

Loverty.

Loverty Erickson:

Yup. Hello. My name is Loverty Erickson [foreign language 00:34:58] Good Bear Woman born for [Kurzban Ali 00:35:02] of the Towering House [inaudible 00:35:03] clan. Born of Patricia [Birdsville 00:35:05] of the [inaudible 00:35:07] clan of the Assiniboine nation. I am [inaudible 00:35:10] and Assiniboine. I reside in Wolf Point, Montana. This is where my mother’s tribe is. And I also wanted to thank the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium for inviting me and my colleagues and my peers to present on this topic that we’re also deeply passionate about. What you’re looking at here is a lot of my colleagues were discussing. And how in the field as a superintendent of a pretty large district, I think I have four schools, four principals. I have 830 students and about 129 staff. We like to look at using traditional mindsets in modern contexts.

Loverty Erickson:

And then in my experience working for the Bureau of Indian Education and as a consultant for native American tribal grant schools, I’ve been able to see firsthand how school seamlessly integrate some of the indicators that Bernadette had previously showed you. And so, I love the Academic Development Institute. The indicators are things that come naturally for me in the school systems but also what I’ve seen from tribes across America. And so, I’m just going to speak a little bit about how we can take culturally responsive pedagogy and incorporate positive racial identity for academic success. And there’s a lot of research out there that says when you understand who they are racially, that they are more academic, they have success in academic achievement.

Loverty Erickson:

So I’m going to discuss about some of those things that I’ve seen. Pretty exciting stuff. I’m so happy to see so many people from across many states on today’s call. In Wolf Point, we have cultural initiatives. And Wolf point is located in Northeastern Montana. And they’ve had things that have been here for a really long time but there’s also things that I was able to bring into the school system. And so, I’m just going to talk about some of the cultural initiatives that we have in our school system. So native American week, we have various committees. We have a title six parent committee. We have Johnson O’Malley, parent committee. We have two native American studies teachers in the junior high and high school.

Loverty Erickson:

They teach both Assiniboine language and history. This year, we have worked pretty closely with the Fort Peck Community College, which is a tribal college, about 20 minutes down the road, to integrate their tribal code into our native American studies curriculum. So that when the students leave here at the end of their high school career and they go to the Fort Peck Community College, that that transition is seamless and the college is not reteaching or doing remedial work in the tribe’s history. And so, we’re really trying to align the curriculum with the tribal code expectations.

Loverty Erickson:

[inaudible 00:38:30]. Let’s see. The school supports tribal programs as well. So the tribe assist us to get different grants in. Currently we have what’s called the [Shanti 00:38:42] Program and it’s a program that brings in really neat presenters and they play hand games. They create parent hand game nights with chilly. It’s some of the most involved parent activities that I’ve seen. And so, I think they’re very successful and I really try to couple those programs with the title requirements as well, so that we are seamlessly putting our federal grants and programs together with tribal initiatives. As many of you know, who are in the school systems, we have many ropes to cross and red tape to get through when we receive funding from the government. And so, it’s really nice to be able to put the initiatives together and then get the same outcome with a lot of our programs.

Loverty Erickson:

We have tipi Raisings, as you guys can see in the past two slides and we hold those annually and it’s just a Wolf Point tradition. Every school has a tipi Raising during native American week. And so, some things that we teach our kids during these tipi raisings is the history of the tipi raisings. And I’ll just give you an example. At one time, the Assiniboine women were so proficient in setting up tipis. It would take them less than 10 minutes. They would just… they got out there. They knew there… They used actually a three pole system, as you saw on my first slide and they got it done and they were keepers of everything in the lodge and that was their role. And then traditionally speaking, the men were the hunters and gatherers. And so, what we do is we really try to teach our ways but also make it more contextualized to where our students are today.

Loverty Erickson:

So if you can see the slide, there’s a lot of kids sitting on the grass. So we talk about the gender roles as they are from then compared to modern day roles. The tipis that were set up mostly were set up by our males and the male students and some female students engaged in helping to set those tipis up. And so, we discuss those things. Some of our traditional roles are hunting. And as you can see in the slides, we have girls who went with us to the Buffalo hunt. And all of them participated and some of the girls even took bites of the liver. And so, what we do is we really try to talk about our history but also talk about what we do now. We have a lot of great girl hunters in our tribes now as well.

Loverty Erickson:

And so, what we also like to try to do in the Buffalo hunt is bringing our non-native students as well. So we live in a cultural region that supports agriculture as well. And so there are a lot of farmers and non-native students here. So what we try to do is include all of our students, because what we know is that our non-native kids are as proud to be from the Indian Reservation when they leave Wolf Point. There’ll be off in college or there’ll be off starting their life outside in a different state. And they’re just as proud of Wolf Point and being from the Indian Reservation than any place else. So we really get the context of pride of place. And so, we try to incorporate that in all that we do here.

Loverty Erickson:

So during the Buffalo hunt, we had our traditional ceremony before it and non-natives… the men were able to participate in that. And then the elders taught us the women stand off in the side and watch the men hold the ceremonies. But our non-native students were able to join in this ceremony because they were men. And so, it was really powerful as you can see in the slide, there’s a red cloth tied around the gun because that was what are the ceremony before we all went out. And so, we try to incorporate our regional pride in every student non-native or native. And I think that’s very important to do.

Loverty Erickson:

We’re looking at doing some ceremonial sweat lodge teachings to our students coming up here in the month of November, because it is native American week. And so, what that looks like is we have just like Bernadette was visiting about, not all tribes are the same and not even this tribe. We live on the Fort Peck, Assiniboine and Sioux reservation, meaning there’s two types of tribes here and a lot of tribal intermarriage sense. And so, we want to acknowledge during our teachings that there are more than one tribe here. So in our ceremonial sweat lodge, we are building the lodge so it represents both the Kota but also the Assiniboine ways. And so, we’ll have two different openings depending on the tribe, in which way that they build their openings in the directions. And so, we’re going to build that.

Loverty Erickson:

We have to start now because our willows are going to be stiff here soon. So the kids are having a field trip to where they’re going out and collecting the willows and building it in the month of November. And we’re using this premise as a teaching tool for the kids. So are we going to conduct ceremonies? No, we’re going to teach them the seven different sessions, how they come in, where they sit and we’re going to do it gender-based at first and then integrate them as soon as they’re all comfortable. We’re going to teach the girls how to create tea dresses. And so, that’s one of the initiatives we have going on.

Loverty Erickson:

In the district, we also look at our staff and how we can take care of them. So we have an onboarding process that started this particular year and it is during their paperwork and orientation. They’re required to watch an hour video called Red Road Stories. And it’s a documentary put on from the tribe about the tribe and some ceremonial aspects. And with the idea that, whether they’re from the tribe or not, that these are some very sacred teachings and just to understand the context around them. So there’s so much more to the town that they’re in.

Loverty Erickson:

Another thing that we’re doing is we’re purchasing the history of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes for the Fort Peck Indian Reservations. It’s a book, it’s a pretty comprehensive book that talks about migration and everything. We buy one of these for any teacher, our staff who wants one. And it’s theirs to keep.

Loverty Erickson:

So, you can go to the next slide. So, that’s just the Wolf Point. In a nutshell, some of the initiatives that are happening. I’ve also had the opportunity work as an education program specialist in line officer in the Bureau of Indian Education. A state administrator for about four years, as well as the superintendent and Ed consultant for about another four years. So I’ve had about a decade in the Bureau of Indian Education and where I was able to meet so many neat school systems. There’s 148 schools across the USA. For those of you who don’t know who are, what are considered Bureau of Indian Education schools. They are schools within your state who run entirely, who are not technically public school systems or private but they’re federally funded schools in most states across the United States. There are two types, there’s tribal grant and there’s Bureau of Indian Education ones.

Loverty Erickson:

And the difference is the tribal education grant schools, the tribe has the autonomy to actually run them. And so, the tribe has their visions incorporated right into the school systems. And so, some of the really neat things that I’ve seen… and this is where I love my job so much is because I got to be out in the field for 10 years. I’m seeing what different schools are doing in a lot of different tribal grant schools. And then I get to come home here to Wolf Point and integrate some of those neat things that I’ve seen across the way. And so, some of the things that I’ve seen, were a really wonderful school that I was working with. And it was called Shoshone Bannock School over in Pocatello, Idaho. And they had a wonderful art teacher who centered their art class around cultural seasons.

Loverty Erickson:

And so, in the spring, the students prepared salmon eggs and they gutted and prepared large bounties of salmon for the entire student body. So everyone had a feast. And in the fall they were hunting… they were hiking for these sheds from big horn sheep. And they boiled these sheds and they made longbows out of them. So instead of a traditional art class where they were learning Picasso or… they were actually learning their entire calendar and art and different aspects of that. And so, that was a really neat integration. And one of the other integrations I’ve seen were at St. Stephen’s Indian School, a native American superintendent who was black feet, not necessarily from the area, came back to the tribe when he was hired and said, “What do you want for your children?” And he says Shoshone Arapaho over in the Riverton Wyoming area.

Loverty Erickson:

And they said, “Well, in our traditional ways, we taught students based off of gender and they were actually separated for quite some time and this is how it used to be.” And so, the superintendent thought about it when he said, “Well, why don’t we do that again?” So they actually separated grade seventh and eight based off of their gender and taught them math and reading only and then brought them back together at nine through 12. And so, the superintendent, this was just recently and he’s still there actually. And they are… So they took into account what the tribe wanted and integrated it right there into their system.

Loverty Erickson:

And so, these are some of the ways that we are really trying to provide the racial identity in students so that we can get the academic success that we know research states is good for our kids. So that’s what I wanted to share with you. Just some of the really neat things that I’ve seen across the United States and some of the things that we’re doing. So I’ll go ahead and wrap it up.

Karmen Rouland:

Thank you, Loverty, Mandy and Bernadette for your time today and also for sharing all of these promising practices and ideas. I think we want to open it up to [Nikevia 00:50:12] for our question and answer portion. Oops.

Nikevia:

Hello, everyone. So here are some questions. So one question someone had is, how do we convince non-native teachers and administrators that we’ve worked with and for the importance of our culture and convince them to include it in the curriculum?

Loverty Erickson:

This is Loverty, I can take that question and then see if my colleagues have additional information. Culture is what makes an area unique unto itself. So it’s the sense of being, it’s the sense of doing, it’s the sense of how things are done. And so, is your area, does it have native American history in it? And then that’s a good question to ask and what history. And then the second question is, how do you integrate it back into, like you said, the curriculum? I think my colleagues have provided great resources of comprehensive centers but also ways actually state resources that Mrs. Mandy brought, Broaddus brought up on how to find resources so that you’re not recreating a wheel of curriculum to integrate back into the system.

Loverty Erickson:

And so, that would be one thing that I would suggest rather than starting from fresh, seeing what’s already out there in your area. And then bringing it forth into your leadership teams and then your leadership teams would then visit with the principal or the administrators about the importance of why you guys want this.

Nikevia:

Thank you

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

In Montana, where we are fortunate to have a constitutional mandate and a state legislation and subsequent funding, it’s still hard to build momentum. It’s still hard to generate that sort of sense of urgency and purpose for doing this work among colleagues. I would say that I’ve seen really the greatest momentum among just a small group of teachers, really coming together around the idea and deciding even maybe without administrative support or other policies that might be in place, just that teaching accurate and authentic information is good for all students. And knowing that so much of the native American story has been told from an outside other perspective. That we really owe it to our students to bind and teach those resources that are giving them the real truth and really telling the wonderful and complicated but beautiful history of American Indians in this country.

Nikevia:

Great. Thank you.

Bernadette Anderson:

Yeah. This is Bernadette. I would just add to what my colleagues have shared and that, really examining before you get into the curriculum but examining, what does the professional development look like through the year, through time with the staff. So that there’s a collaborative relationship to build knowledge together before moving forward and addressing some of those curriculum ideas. So, that would be an idea too. Thank you.

Nikevia:

Thank you. So along that same line, someone has a question about funding. Do you know of any funding opportunities or grants that would be available for private schools?

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

I’ll just say that I can’t immediately think of any but I’m sure there is some out there.

Bernadette Anderson:

So I was just wondering, is that a private school that maybe serving native American kids? Is that what, maybe?

Nikevia:

I’m thinking that’s what it is. And so, they’re looking for funding opportunities for that school.

Bernadette Anderson:

Okay. So I would suggest possibly as a resource, NIEA has publication out for charter schools and what that looks like in Indian country, that would be a good resource if you’re looking at creating choice opportunities for native American students.

Nikevia:

Okay. NIEA. I’m going to write that down so we can find that resource. Great. Okay. Another question is, are there any laws that hinder or prohibit the practice of any of the traditions or cultural activities that take place? Loverty, you’re on mute, if you’re speaking.

Loverty Erickson:

I was going to say that’s a really great question. In the state of Montana, as Mandy has spoke about already, we do have a constitution. And so, we are a public school system, with that said, the state also recognizes that we have native American heritage and rights. And so, they don’t… Like for our ceremonial launch, we have to answer to the tribe as far as how we’re doing it on. But the state grounds has the autonomy to do what we need to do in order to achieve academic success when it comes to that because of the constitution. And so, our state and our state know and I’m really thankful for that. I’m in the tribal grant schools. No, because they’re [inaudible 00:57:09]. So it really is up to the state that you’re in and finding out from your state administrators, what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

That’s a really good school perspective for sure, Loverty. For nationally, it wasn’t until the Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, that we could actually practice many aspects of our cultural and lifeways. What some would call religion but what we would call just our general lifeways. And so how restricted we were in being forced to take those things underground and just how damaging but yet enduring our people have been and resilient in fighting to main maintain that part of our way of life. And I would just caution that when you’re using some of those aspects in education, that you want to be very careful with the type of material and the context in which it’s shared. It varies tribe to tribe, honestly, what cultural and lifeways knowledge they would like to have shared or have taught.

Nikevia:

Good. Thank you. So another question is how do we include native students with disabilities in learning about their culture?

Bernadette Anderson:

Oh, okay. I’ll jump in there. So just to kind of clarify maybe roles. So when you’re… We’re talking about including culture into the school, we’re talking about being culturally responsive to the students’ needs, that I’m thinking that we’re not really talking about teaching the kids about their culture per se. I mean, it just going to depend, but I think, you’re teaching people about each other’s cultures.

Bernadette Anderson:

But, just to be really careful about, of how things are being shared and taught in the school is really important, which is why it’s really important that this work is done in partnership and in collaboration with the tribe, with the tribal leaders, having grown up on the reservation and went to school on the reservation product of the reservation. It’s really important that, when we were growing up and I’m saying, we meaning my fellow classmates, we went to school, but we knew who we were because our home life provided those things that shared who we were.

Bernadette Anderson:

Times have changed It’s like Mandy said, things had to go underground things not as open. And so it’s really a delicate dance with how the school engages around needs that Native Americans have and I think that’s why it’s just really important to have people around the table from that local tribe, having that conversation about what that looks like. The Nez Perce tribe, we created Nez Perce educational standard, so that people were clear on, where the tribe was coming from exactly. How they expect kids to be taught. How they learn and so it’s just really important, like I said, to have that conversation with each tribe that you’re working with.

Nikevia:

Thank you. So, another question is, are the languages of Native Americans identified and does any school district actually teach a language as a teacher language? And is there a presence in higher education as well? Not one question.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

I’ll just say Big Picture, that we’re really fortunate that we have many language warriors out there. That are working to sustain and revitalize languages really in community specific efforts. Usually there are native language revitalization organizations, but one of the great things that I see across the country is that many states for high school in particular allow native language. It is also a world language to be included as working towards a graduation standard. So that’s, I think really important. In the region of the country where we live, which is the Pacific Northwest, but I would also include the Southwest. There are many, many schools that have native language instruction K through 12, and that’s more kind of on again, a school or community by community basis

Loverty Erickson:

In some of the work that I do. I know that some of the states and the different tribes have actually language assessments that they use at the end of their high school career. So yes, there are tribes out there who have language assessments already in place. The Dene Nation is one of them.

Nikevia:

Great, thank you. And how can one find a Native American, his history information where they live? Is, anybody want to,

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

The first place I would check is to see if your state has any staff dedicated toward Native American education in your state departments. If not the state might have a State Indian Education Association, which our organizations just made up of native educators who are out there to advocate and promote and be of assistance. They often have annual conferences and that sort of thing. So I would check there, if nothing there then I would pan out a little bit and maybe look at some resources from the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian. I actually put one of their great resources in the chat it’s called the essential understandings. It’s a great document to consider across the country. And then I would also point you to, again, the National Indian Education Association for tribally specific resources that might be helpful.

Nikevia:

Okay, great. Thank you. I think we have answered most of the questions.

Loverty Erickson:

I did see one question in the chat that was asking about, how can they find elders in the community. Some of our principals who come to Wolf Point are non-native and so what we try to do for as district-wide is put together a list of community resources to give to the principals. When they start for Native American week for November heritage month, so that they can contact the elders on their own and set up different presentations within their own buildings. And so that’s what we do for resources.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

I also saw a question two, about how do you find good materials and how do you know if they’re accurate, if they’re they’re the right ones to be using. And I put two links in the chat, one is to a wonderful native woman, Debbie Reese. Who maintains a really incredible and thorough list of Native American literature, including children’s literature and young adult literature. So that’s in the blog and she always tells the 100% truth on her perspective of different texts. And then the other piece was actually a document we created here in Montana. It’s a guide to evaluating film, text, media, you name it. To determine if it’s accurate and authentically portraying American Indians. So both of those are in the chat.

Nikevia:

Wait, we have some more questions.

Bernadette Anderson:

I was just this Bernadette, I was just going to chime in. I did put a link in the chat box to the Congress of Native Americans, which will give you a list of all the federally and state recognized tribes. And then I also saw a question about 21st century and does this apply to 21st century afterschool program? And I can just share that we worked with the Muskogee(Creek) Nation in Oklahoma, and they have a grant designed around the 21st century evidence-based model for after-school programming. And they have made modifications to it to be a little bit more culturally responsive to meet their specific needs of their students and their jurisdiction, well, their reservation now. And so it does apply to afterschool programming and it can applied in terms of best practices to those settings. But once again, it takes that collaborative relationship and planning and actually designing something that works for kids.

Nikevia:

Yes. Thank you, Bernadette. We have a question, another question. How can educators, parents and youth be affective and allies to the Native American community or to Native American communities?

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

I’ll take one little piece of that question and I’m sure Liberty and Bernadette will have a lot more to add on. When it comes especially to educators only a very small… Less than 1% of the teaching force is American Indian. So obviously we need to boost that with through your own programs and other things. But as far as being an ally, I think the best approach I have seen is to first really begin to understand the… Something about the tribal groups from which your students come. Do some of that work don’t ask them to give you all that background and to be your teacher all the time.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

To build relationships with their family members, but ultimately to understand that for Native American families in particular, we’ve often been forced out of the education of our young people. And I believe we have a lot to contribute and we have a lot to say, and we know our students and our citizens the best and just keeping that door open, having a seat at the table and just really, ongoing communication. I just can’t say that enough.

Nikevia:

Okay.

Loverty Erickson:

I’ll go Bernadette. Okay, I know you want to die. Okay. I would say just learning takes place when the student can bring in their own way of being. And so if you’re a teacher who would like to teach this wonderful math lesson or wonderful science or english lesson. That when students are able to bring in who they are and where they come from into your… The curriculum or the lesson at hand, the relevancy of them connecting with the information is going to be more powerful and an actual learning tool for you. And so I would say how can we serve as allies, It’s understanding not just our Native students, but all students and what makes their relevancy in your lesson plan, the impact for their learning.

Bernadette Anderson:

Yeah. And I was just disappointed that I would just chime in there to say that in working with families and Native American communities and as an ally. I think it’s really important to reserve judgment and to listen. Listen to what’s being said, listen to what’s not being said as well and really spending time getting to know the families, the students in a way that maybe you haven’t really spent time doing. Becoming aware of how you’re interacting, creating that warm, welcoming place, that relationship that will, like Liberty was talking about nurturing the student, that’s when that happened. And, I think someone put in there about, in one of the chats about, things that may be inappropriate. Recognizing that history has many inappropriate things about Native Americans that are still being played on TV, and that are still being written about and still are being visually shown so keeping in mind that those things still hurt people and the Native American community and that you’re sensitive to those things and I think that will go a long ways and being an ally.

Nikevia:

Thank you for those rich responses. We have a question that just came up. How does one go about gaining state constitution status? How do you go about doing that, Who would like to answer?

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Well, I think I kind of opened that door By talking about Montana’s unique situation. So our constitution was rewritten in 1976- 1972 sorry.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

And at that time it was a bit… It was weighing heavily on the minds of those delegates that they felt like Montanans didn’t understand their American Indian neighbors and that there weren’t good relationships among Indians and non-Indians. And so they sought to include it in our constitution at that time. And so I’m not quite sure how you would go about creating an amendment to state constitution. But others might have examples of how that’s done.

Loverty Erickson:

I would say it’s grassroots movement. So, I know a lot of the people who are elders today who started those movements for the constitution, and a lot of people are in need an education, now as a superintendent are, think, Oh, I helped write that constitution are my elders that I speak with from different tribal colleges. And so it really is a grassroots movement. When I was working for the Bureau, we looked at changing some statuses on how different Bureau grants got paid through the state. And so it really is a matter of lobbying and creating house bills and just asking the state for consideration of those, by going to the different committees. But it is a lot of lobbying and it is a lot of talking to representatives who might want to carry your bills. So you got to get political, you got to roll up your sleeves, you got to figure out how to write house bills and how to get them passed.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus:

Mario noted that a state statute or Marie, sorry, noted that a state statute might be the place to start and that’s where a lot of other States have began, yeah.

Nikevia:

Okay, great, thank you. So, I think we’ve come to the conclusion of all the questions. There are no new questions in the Q&A box or the chat box. Carmen, you want to close this out?

Karmen Rouland:

Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you everyone for joining us today. Thanks to Bernadette, Mandy and Liberty for your time and your expertise, and just sharing of your knowledge of this particular topic around culturally responsive practices and strategies for supporting Native American students. What I would like to ask is all of our participants today, if you could take our survey to help us understand how to improve on the programmings that we offer.

Karmen Rouland:

The topics that we offer for webinars, give us your feedback about today’s webinar. That would be greatly appreciated. So that link, that survey monkey link should be in the chat box. And our presenters again have included their, I believe their contact information as well in the chat box, should you have specific questions? And we will, as the KVA type in the chat box, we’ll make sure to send out a recording of this webinar, along with the slides, as well as a document with all of the links that were shared today, so that you have those in your, your respective libraries. Thank you again for joining us. And we appreciate you taking the time. We wish everyone health and wellness and the rest of your afternoon. I hope it’s great. Take care.

Bernadette Anderson:

Thank you.

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