U.S. Consults Tribes to Improve AI/AN Education

Four Tribal Leader Education Roundtables have been scheduled over the next few weeks as a result of U.S. Executive Order 13592 – Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, which was signed by President Barack Obama on December 2nd of last year.

Section 3 of the Order establishes an Initiative with the mission of:
Expanding educational opportunities and improving educational outcomes… to help ensure that American Indian/Alaska Native students have an opportunity to learn their Native languages and histories and receive complete and competitive educations that prepare them for college, careers, and productive and satisfying lives.
To that end, the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of the Interior are tasked with developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by March 24, 2012 to address how this mission will be carried out.

The roundtable meetings were organized to gather tribal and community leaders’ input and identify the most effective strategies for improving AI/AN education. Insights shared at these meetings will directly influence the contents of the MOU and the general facilitation of the policy.

The first discussion will take place today, January 20, in Rapid City, SD. Other roundtables are scheduled for January 23 in Norman, OK; January 25 in Albuquerque, NM, and February 16 in Seattle/Tacoma, WA.

For more information, or to register for the free events, click here. Additionally, those who are unable to attend, but still wish to participate, may e-mail their comments to info@indianeducation.org.


  1. Aspenflower Kozoll says:

    Why is so hard to communicate with everyone concerning such an important issue. Our tribal leaders are informed but they do not necessary give out the info to others who are interested in education. In fact, most of their kids are the only ones who gets a scholarship and those who do not have anyone in the governing body are left out. The department of Indian ed is doing a poor job. Even when they are asked to audit. I am not sure why the BIA education is there for. The same time there is a meeting for Elders on Health Issues in Santa Fe, NM. Why can’t they check around prior to setting meeting dates. This is the first time I have heard of it. Our leaders we do not vote in, so we are in the dark as to what is going on. No accountability.

    • Adelina Defender says:

      The round-table discussion should be on site, community to community or district to district for fruitful input of the peoples affected. Tribal Councils and most of the leadership on our reservations attend these out-of-state meetings, sign in and walk out to frequent posh places to drink, purchase sex or participate in sight-seeing tours. Just take a good look at our reservations!

  2. Might I suggest a more thorough process than just 4 educational meetings around the nation?

    Give each step enough time to do a quality job.

    1. Allow each tribe enough time to have their own meeting(s) and ask them to develop 3-5 educational priorities including suggested solutions. [another way to do this is give them suggested list of 5-10 priorities, leaving space for each tribe to add 3 of their own additional priorities], and ask them to come up with a total of 5 priorities. The list sent to tribes could be based on best ideas from the taskforce members.

    2. Then, forward all suggestions to the taskforce and ask them to analyze and categorize all the priorities in terms of themes or needs or ? Then the taskforce could send out the tabulated results to all the tribes listing what they were, how many picked each of the top 10-15 priorities. At the same time it is important to list ALL priorities and the number of tribes who included each priority. Perhaps brief, yet thorough pros and cons could be made for each of the top 5 priorities. Send this and the tabulations to all tribes.

    3. Then set up meetings around the country asking for two delegates per tribe. Maybe have 10 meetings around the country, so regions can hear from “themselves” without 500 people in the room. If individual tribes can’t fund two delegates, the taskforce needs to have travel/lodging stipends available, as attendance by each tribe is important.

    4. Educational tribal leaders, educated tribal members with expertise in the area of Education for Natives, Native State and National Educational Organizations with leaders with expertise in the areas of the listed priorities could be asked to attend the meeting in their area.

    5. It would be important to send everyone the information accumulated from the meetings.

    6. This should be followed up with a plan of action by the taskforce with pleny of communication (with the tribes and other constituents) during the development of the plan. The plan should be based on the top priorities.

    7. Send out the DRAFT plan to all tribes for feedback, hbefore sending out and announcing the PLAN. Please.

    • Adelina Defender says:

      The best solution provided. You should be selected to spearhead this most important issue or provide your offer posted here to the selected sites immedi-ately allowing some substance out of all the scheduled meetings. I knew there were individuals from some of our tribes that are fruitful. We usually see the same bedfellows spearheading vital issues affecting our tribes and usually these bedfellows never accomplish anything concrete.


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