7th annual ND Indian Education Summit brings educators together from all over the state

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A two-day education summit is bringing educators from around the state together to learn how they can take Native American studies to the next level.

KX News learned about the seventh annual North Dakota Indian Education Summit and how this year is different.

Over 170 people walked to the state’s Capitol doors to have an opportunity to expand their education on Native American culture. That is the most people to attend since the start of the summit.

Each attendee has their own reason for showing up.

“Each year this conference has grown in size, but I think it’s grown in the topics that it offers in meeting the challenges for Native students across the state, whether they’re in the reservation-based schools or in the wider public schools across the state of North Dakota,” said Wayne Trottier, part-time superintendent for Sawyer Public School.

“This is a great opportunity for our leaders and our educators in the state of North Dakota to really get familiar things we are doing with culturally relevant practices,” said Sashay Schettler, the Indian Education Director for Bismarck Public Schools.

One of the main topics of this year’s summit is Senate Bill 2304, which is the implementation of Native American history in classrooms curriculums.

With it going into effect next month, educators want to know how to make it work.

“I have a lot of questions, more specifically to what that means and how that is going to be carried out across the state,” said Trottier.

“I think it’s real important that we provide that support and the resources to assist teachers in making sure that they implement that requirement of Senate Bill 2304,” explained Lucy Fredericks, the Director of Indian and Multicultural Education for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

Other topics that are being covered include the effects of COVID, Native American education for everyone and storytelling.

One of the main goals is to ensure educators across the state have the necessary knowledge to teach Native American studies.

“We’ll try to focus on those smaller schools and those rural schools that may have the capacity to have a person on staff to assist them. So that’s where we come into play, and we will provide training and professional development to those schools that would like us to come in and assist them with training,” explained Fredericks.

The two-day summit ends Friday and parents and families are welcome to attend.

Fredericks says it is important to include everyone in a child’s education.

The summit is also featuring students who are telling the educators what the classroom experience is like from their perspective.

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