American Indian Education Workshop I


American Indian Education Workshop I

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bemidji High School, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA 

Theme: Promising Education Interventions to Improve the Achievement of Native American Students

The purpose of this workshop is to identify interventions that may benefit educators in their efforts to close the American Indian achievement gap. The workshop focuses on providing strategies in the education of American Indian children. The sessions relate to a broad range of education systems: Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), tribally controlled schools, charter schools, public schools, and colleges and universities. The audience includes all who have a professional interest in American Indian Education including: early childhood to high school educators, administrators and principals, curriculum specialists and directors of instruction, school counselors, home school coordinators, tribal education directors and staff, and college and university students, faculty and staff. 

Check In

8:00 am, Check In, Bemidji High School Commons, Coffee, Tea and Bagels

Welcome Ceremony

8:30-8:55 am, Commons, Dan and Susan Ninham

General Assembly I, Lumberjack Room

9:00-9:55 am, “Zhaawendowsiwin: Transforming Our Schools Into the Greatest by Creating a Culture of Champions”

Ricky White, Superintendent, Circle of Life Academy, White Earth, Minnesota

Description: Ricky White will inspire a movement towards creating positive change in our schools by telling the story about the transformation of Our Circle of Life Academy, which only three years ago was one of the lowest performing BIE schools in America and proudly, now one of its champions of change model schools of success.

URL Link:


Breakout Session I

Educational Psychology, Commons

10:00-10:55 am, “Relations Between Instructional Practices and On-Task Behavior in Classrooms Serving American Indian Students”

Jennifer McComas, PhD, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology Department

Description: MN Department of Education data indicate that American Indian students do not achieve the same academic success as their non-Native peers. Student engagement is a promising intervention target given its correlation with academic achievement. This session will involve discussion of specific instructional practices and their demonstrated effect on engagement of Native students in an urban K-8 setting. Examples will be shared and audience participation is encouraged.

URL Link:


Culture and Language, Lumberjack Room

10:00-10:55 am, “The Medicine Wheel as a School Model”

Joe Rice, Choctaw, Nawayee Center School, Minneapolis, MN

Description: The Executive Director of Nawayee Center School talks about what a vision of an Indigenously focused alternative school in an urban setting could and perhaps should be. I will discuss the vision of Nawayee in terms of overall school design and relate that to instruction and learning, classroom management, staff and community relations and cultural contextualization. It is my hope that participants in this workshop will find something in our time together that is useful in the creation of learning communities that are inspired in their work and will keep moving forward in developing new ways to collaborate effectively for the benefit of future generations

URL Link:


Breakout Session II

Educational Psychology, Commons

11:00-11:55 am, “Relationships Matter: Establishing, Maintaining and Restoring Relationships with American Indian Students”

Clayton Cook, PhD, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

Description: Relationships characterized by a strong sense of belonging are core to promoting student resilience and engagement in school. What is concerning is that American Indian students report having weaker relationships with educators relative to other groups of students.  Longstanding achievement gaps for American Indian students have been argued to be driven in part by these relationship gaps. This session will discuss the Establish-Maintain-Restore approach to cultivating teacher-student relationships that has been shown to increase student sense of belonging, academic engagement, and school attendance.

URL Link:


School Improvement, Lumberjack Room

11:00-11:55 am, “Resiliency as a Response to Historical Trauma”

Rochelle Johnson, PhD, Red Lake Ojibwe, Supt., Cass Lake Bena School District, MN

Description: Description: This presentation will provide a review of historical trauma, an understanding of resiliency and will promote its use in response to trauma.

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Noon-12:55 pm, Lunch, Commons


Breakout Session III

Culture and Curriculum, Commons

1:00-1:55 pm, “Mni Sóta Makoce: The Dakota Homelands Curriculum Project”

Iyekiyapiwiƞ Darlene St. Clair, PhD, St. Cloud State University, Department of Ethnic Studies

Description: With the inclusion of “contributions of Minnesota Native Nations” in state standards, it has become clear that there are not enough rigorous and relevant resources for K- 12 educators. A goal of this project is that the Mni Sota Maḳoce curriculum will be taught to sixth grade students as part of the required sixth grade social studies curriculum. Students will learn about and integrate Dakota values of caring for the land as a relative.

URL Link:


Math and Science, Lumberjack Room

1:00-1:55 pm, “Shushumeg (Snowsnakes): Brings Together Culture and STEM”

Stephan Carlson, PhD, University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources

Description: Snow-Snakes is an ancient game played for centuries in the northern climates of North America. It is a combination of art, culture, science, and strength as participants compete for distance and accuracy. This STEM curriculum explicitly applied mathematics (scaling and data), science (force and motion) to an engineering prototype iteration that used available materials and tools (technology) for success. The White Earth Indian Reservation has had an Annual event for the last 10 years.

URL Link:


Breakout Session IV

Social, Emotional and Behavior, Commons

2:00-2:55 pm, “Personalizing Interventions to Address Social, Emotional and Behavioral Needs of American Indian Students”

Clayton Cook, PhD, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

Description: Some American Indian students exhibit social, emotional and behavioral needs that impact their academic engagement and performance. This session will describe how schools can systematically approach the selection, implementation and monitoring of interventions for American Indian students who exhibit social, emotional and behavioral needs. Specifically, this presentation will describe the Intervention Matching, Mapping, Monitoring, and Meeting (IM4) process that enables school teams to effectively organize the delivery of interventions for students with social, emotional, and behavioral needs to remove barriers to academic success.

URL Link:



Math and Science, Lumberjack Room

2:00-2:55 pm, “Math & Culture: Indigenous Activities & Instruction For Our Students”

Jim Barta, PhD, Bemidji State University, Dean of College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology

Description: Many students dislike math because for them the “numbers don’t dance!” Many students are turned off to math because they never see its value or purpose in their lives or community. During this hands-on workshop, you will have an opportunity to learn how to energize your instruction and invigorate your student’s learning by connecting math and culture in your classroom. You will learn several ready-made activities you can use immediately. You will also learn how to develop your own! You will leave you feeling excited to try these new approaches to learning mathematics! 

URL Link:


3:00-3:25 pm, Refreshment Break


Breakout Session V

School Improvement, Commons

3:30-4:25 pm, “100% Graduation Rate With Seven Grandfathers Teachings”

John Eggers, PhD, Project Graduate

Description: We can graduate 100% of our Native students. Yes, we can! The Red Lake Tribal Council was the first Nation to pass a 100% resolution in support of this courageous goal. The Bemidji City Council and the Beltrami County Commissioners followed in their footsteps. This session is devoted to a new paradigm about how we can ensure our young people leave school with a diploma. We can do it!

URL Link:


STEAM and Culture, Lumberjack Room

3:30-4:25 pm, “Wind, Star, and Water-Powered STEAM: Adding the Art and Science of Native Canoe Voyaging Tradition to Traditional STEM Education”

Vicente Diaz, PhD, University of Minnesota, Department of American Indian Studies

Description: This presentation features the arts and sciences of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from traditional Pacific Islander outrigger canoe voyaging, but in the context of canoe culture revitalization among Upper and Lower Sioux. What can the arts and sciences of Indigenous Canoe-related TEK in an inter-indigenous community-based learning environment have to offer STEM education?

URL Link:


General Assembly II

Culture and Language, Lumberjack Room

4:30-5:25 pm, “Engaging Native American Learners With Rigor and Cultural Relevance”

Susan Ninham, Red Lake Ojibwe, Teacher, Coach, Administrator

Description: This session will describe the importance of the 3 R's and student success. Can educators be effective implementing one but not the other two and impact student success?

URL Link:


5:30-5:55 pm, Refreshment Break, Commons


General Assembly III

Cultural Relevant Physical Education, Commons

6:00-6:55 pm, “Rec and Read/Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Programs for All Nations”

Joannie Halas, PhD, University of Manitoba, Kinesiology and Recreation Management

Description: The Rec and Read/Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Programs for All Nations is a culturally affirming, relationship based mentor program where high school students work with young adult health leaders to plan and deliver an after school physical activity, nutrition and educational program for early years children. Grounded in Indigenous teachings and worldviews, program participants experience a variety of educational and health outcomes that emerge through playful engagement in culturally relevant physical activity.

URL Link:


General Assembly IV, Lumberjack Room

Music and Arts Education

7:00-7:55 pm, “Having a Good Journey: Music and Arts Education”

Annie Humphrey, Leech Lake Ojibwe

Description: Self-expression and freedom of expression are things students can learn to practice. Engaging in the arts can inspire them deep in their souls.  Their art inspires one another. Their efforts should inspire us. It takes courage to put your self out there through a painting, drawing, photograph, sculpture, poem or song. Young people can also learn how to critique, appreciate and encourage one another. They also learn to listen to one another.  In this workshop we will create together.

URL Link: 


8:00 pm, Closing Ceremony, Dan and Susan Ninham


Registration Procedures: Registration includes emailed materials and professional development certificate for each session.

            The pre-registration deadline is June 1, 2018. The pre-registration fee is $99 USD per person. The regular registration fee is $115 USD per person June 2 and 8, 2018. Event day registration is $125 USD per person. Discounted group rates are available from participants from the same institution and pre-registered by June 1st: $79 per person for groups of five or more. If you cannot attend the whole day, there are special prices per person at the pre-registration only fee for $33 per Section A: General Assembly I, Break Out Session I and Lunch; Section B: Lunch, Break Out Session II and General Assembly II; or Section C: Refreshment Break, General Assembly III and Break Out Session III. Attend one section and individual fee is $33, and attend two and individual fee is $66. The student fee is $15 off each of the total workshop fees listed above and $5 off each Section fee listed.

            Mail a sheet of paper with the following information: registrants name, institution, professional title, mailing address, email address and cell number, sessions registered for with the fee in a check payable to American Indian Education Workshop I to Dan Ninham, PO Box 351, Bemidji, MN, 56619. Information: 218.368.6430 or

The First 150 Pre-Registrants For The Full Workshop Will Receive The Free Publication Courtesy of the National Indian Education Association, Native Nations and American Schools: The History of Natives in the American Education System

Online Training Course Option: Additional assignments are available including written reflections for journal article reading, practicum activity and video observation per session. The cost is only $5 per session and will be an additional four hours per session for a total of five professional development hours. Include the session/s registered and additional fee in your registration procedure for the workshop. Online Training Course feedback will be provided by Dr. Dan Ninham.


Lodging Link:

Bemidji Regional Airport: The airport is located 3.2 miles from Bemidji High School.

American Indian Education Workshop Network: Send your name, cell number and email address and state AIEWN today to receive updates of programming

June 09, 2018 at 8am - 8pm
Bemidji High School
2900 Division St NW
Bemidji, MN 56601
Google map and directions
Coach Dan Ninham · · 218.368.6430

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