ND Indian Education Summit To Bolster Cultural Awareness

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Email: dewetzel@nd.gov
ND Indian Education Summit To Bolster Cultural Awareness

BISMARCK, N.D., July 11, 2018 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said educators will get valuable information about using Native American languages and culture to improve classroom instruction at this week’s Indian Education Summit.

The fifth annual summit is being held Thursday and Friday in the North Dakota Capitol’s Brynhild Haugland Room. Lucy Fredericks, director of Indian and multicultural education at the Department of Public Instruction, said 145 people have registered to attend. The number of summit participants has grown every year, Fredericks said.

The summit will include 24 smaller group breakout sessions about integrating Native American culture, language, geography and tribal histories and legacies into classroom instruction, and the benefits of a Lakota language immersion program for elementary school students at Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.

“In North Dakota, more than 10 percent of our K-12 enrollment is Native American,” Fredericks said. “It is important that we include culturally responsive curriculum in our classrooms. Almost every school in the state does have Native American students within their classrooms.”

Dr. Scott Simpson and Sharla Steever, who have been facilitating North Dakota’s Native American Essential Understandings project, will speak about the progress made in bringing the NDNAEU’s information to all North Dakota classrooms.

The project includes video interviews of North Dakota tribal elders, as well as K-12 classroom lessons and resources, which are rich sources of information about tribal history and traditions.

Alison Traynor, suicide prevention director at the North Dakota Department of Health, and Kora Dockter, a pediatric nurse and educator whose son committed suicide at age 33, will speak about suicide risk and prevention.

Educators also will be discussing the results of the NDDPI’s Native American Needs Assessment survey and how to use the results to improve education. The survey was conducted late last year in 29 schools that have large numbers of Native American students.