Title VI - Native American Education
All Native American students in the Madison Metropolitan School District will be academically successful and meet the district’s criteria for proficiency in core content areas as well as have access to cultural enrichment activities and opportunities.
Title VI Staff will:
- Assist Native American students and their families in finding school and community resources for academic student success.
- Provide afterschool academic and cultural programs in partnership with school and community agencies.
The roles of the staff have been created in collaboration with the Title VI Parent Advisory Committee. Staff will provide direct academic assistance to students in areas of need. They will identify school and community resources for student support (i.e., the practices and programs that populate the Framework) - both those targeted to Indian students and those intended for the general population. Staff will work to link students with appropriate resources and will communicate with teachers and families of Native American children. Thus, they will create a bridge between schools and families.
Native American Teacher Leader
Tara Tindall, Native American Teacher Leader oversees the Native American Education Program, as well as the Elementary and Secondary Education Title VI Program, which serves MMSD students of American Indian descent, from PreK to Grade 12, to meet their unique cultural and academic needs in order to meet state testing standards. Title VI Programming works in close collaboration with the Title VI Parent Advisory Committee for Title VI and Native American programs in the district, and collaborates with MMSD teaching staff around American Indian curriculum to comply with Wisconsin Act 31 requirements.
The AISES coordinator is unique in that they facilitate after school and weekend student groups with a STEM focus. The high school group meets virtually on weekends, and focuses on service learning projects in the fields of Indigenous Food Sovereignty, environment, health, and STEM careers, while incorporating Indigenous language and culture.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.
The vision of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is for the next seven generations of Native people to be successful, respected, influential, and contributing members of our vast and ever-changing global community
Kelli Miner, American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Coordinator
Title VI Tutor Coordinator
2020-2021 school year begins school virtually which applies to all Title VI Programs, including tutoring, therefore, all tutoring will be held online. Due to a vacancy in the Tutor Coordinator position, all tutoring will be managed by the Native American Teacher Leader. UW Work Study Students are being recruited. Community and school volunteers will be utilized. If interested in tutoring on a volunteer or LTE basis, contact Tara Tindall at email@example.com or (608)663-8456.
- Resources and Tips for Educators
- Resources for Parents & Guardians of American Indian Students
- Resources for Madison Native American Students
- First Nations Resources
- Newspapers & Magazines
- Professional Development
- Wild Rice Project
You are to be commended for joining in this critically vital work of educating our future generations around the topic of American Indians in Wisconsin. As you continue this work, keep the following in mind:
- Constantly be seeking to increase your background knowledge about Wisconsin Indians, especially local tribes. This knowledge will boost not only your class time preparation, but your level of comfort, competence and confidence.
- Be aware this is an edgy topic and there will be times of discomfort and emotions may run high. Be patient with yourself and your students, and recognize that the main objective is growth at all levels. Acknowledge the level of discomfort for yourself and students and prepare your classroom to be as positive, inclusive and tolerant as possible.
- Always afford American Indians, past and present, a sense of dignity. When teaching history, ask "Where were the American Indians at this time?" "How are their perspective different from the mainstream?"
- Explore your own biases, preconceptions and prejudices about people from other cultures and ask how did they come about? Only after thoughtful reflections will you be able to fully address the historical, racial, cultural, social issues facing the American Indian population.
- Recognize the unique status of the American Indian student demographic known as "Urban Natives", whose characterizations include often being removed from and rarely able to participate in their own tribal cultural relations, traditions and ceremonies. The term "Urban Native" is used in contrast to the "Reservation Indian" who lives in close proximity to their own or a tribal population and are afforded many more opportunities to experience their own tribal culture.
- Each Native student is a member of or descendant of a specific tribe, even if not in close proximity to it, as seen in the Indian Child Welfare Act, which outlines protocols for foster home placement for Native students. Due to historical trauma of forced adoptions, removals, Indian boarding schools, relocation, etc. many Native families are distrustful of "authorities" and may harbor suspicions toward school officials.
- Large, extended families are common among Native families, each tribe practices their own unique form of kinship. Being raised by or living with a grandparent may be the norm.
- Avoid stereotypical terms, images or items in the classrooms such as: "Indians and Pilgrims", Eagle Headdresses, pow-wows, chiefs, r-word, teepees and buffaloes, and avoid activities such as "Making up a Tribe" or "Assigning an Indian Name" as these are considered special and sacred. Acknowledge the diversity of American Indian tribes, for example, teepees and hunting buffalo are common among Plains Indians, but not among Wisconsin Woodland tribes.
- Explore the following links to come to a fuller understanding of Native People in Wisconsin:
Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature--a blog that features reviews on books by and about American Indians, for educators, librarians, etc.
Quick Note: Parents, always remember you are your child's first teacher, and family engagement makes an incredible difference in your children's lives. Your student's teacher is as close as the nearest phone, computer or a note you can send with your child each day. The Title VI Program is always looking for tutor volunteers as well, so if you or you know someone interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, please complete the volunteer enrollment process here. Additionally, if interested in serving as an LTE Tutor, submit a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process.
Research shows reading to your child, even before they are born is a valuable way to enrich their vocabulary and reinforce your loving bond, especially when done on a routine basis, for example, reading a bedtime story as a nightly ritual.
Regarding adolescence, your teen needs love and support more than ever at this critical time of life, this transition time as your family prepares for the independent years ahead.
Existing as an Urban Native has its unique challenges, one being intergenerational trauma where previous generations have experienced Forced Removal, Indian Residential Schools, Urban Relocation, foster home placement, and possibly "adopting out" as described in the November 2018 MMSD Native American Newsletter.
Despite previous generation's negative experiences within the public education system, along with a variety of social, economic and psychological issues; Urban Native parents are overcoming these barriers and becoming more involved, pursuing goals of graduation and college for future generations.
See the following links for additional information and as you commit your child to school now held virtually, each day, hold close the cultural ties passed down from the ancestors, which can significantly boost your child's identity and self-esteem.
Debbie Reese's Blog on books by American Indian authors, etc.
Dear Madison Area Native Students,
Natives in an urban area, also known as Urban Natives, can have its ups and downs. It can mean life is fun, exciting and there are always things to do, people to visit and places to be, but sometimes it can be challenging, especially when you feel as if you are the only Native in your school. This is why each high school has an opportunity to participate in the Native American Student Association (NASA) and each school has an advisor. If you do not know who it is, contact your school counselor. Having that support is critical and this can serve as a valuable volunteer opportunity for you. Each NASA may also plan fun events, such as field trips and community service projects. This year we started an All School NASA meeting and focused on College Readiness. Look for future meetings and opportunities to make a difference. The United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY.Inc) provides leadership skills and opportunities for peer mentoring, if a NASA student would like to join.
Another opportunity to get in touch with your Native culture is Culture Classes, which are usually held twice a year for six weeks and you can learn how to do beadwork, leather work, sewing applique and ribbon shirts, weaving and more. Maintaining the Native culture relies on oral tradition, which means passing stories down from one generation to the next, so one day, it will be your turn to pass stories down and now is the time to listen and learn. Here is an animated example of the Hopi Origin Story. Always remember to honor the sacred stories by heeding any tribal customs attached, for example, the Ho-Chunk can only tell origin stories when the snow is on the ground. If you know someone willing to be a storyteller, contact Tara Tindall at email@example.com.
If you are concerned about the environment, water for example, or thinking of a career in the Math or Science field, a great opportunity to get involved is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) which meets monthly, usually the third Sunday, in the afternoon. An end of the year field trip will be planned but AISES can only exist with your participation. "The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the respresentation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous people of North America in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) studies and career."
If you are planning to attend college, community involvement is crucial, as is writing your admission letter, which can help you earn scholarships to ease the transition and financial strain.
Here are a few resources which can always be added to:
If you work with middle and high school Social Studies, History or English Language Arts classes, The Ways was designed for you! Engage students in meaningful conversations about language and culture, while learning about tribal history, culture and sovereignty in Wisconsin. Here are links to some of the videos from The Ways' website:
- The Ways: Language Apprentice: Bringing Back the Ho-Chunk Language
- Powwow Trail: Keeping the Beat
- Living Language: Menominee Language Revitalization
- Lake Superior Whitefish: Carrying on a Family Tradition
- Prayers in a Song: Learning Language through Hip-Hop
- Hoocak Academy: Ho-Chunk Language Instructional Videos
- Hocak Worac
- Indian Country Today
- Kalihwisaks-Official Newspaper of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
- Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal News
- Lakota Country Times
- Mohican News Online-Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians
- Native Hoop Magazine - Digital copies are free but you have to create an account.
- Native News Network
- News from Indian Country
- Traveling Times News-Forest County Potawatomi
10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children's Books for Racism and Sexism - Adapted from the original brochure, published by the Council on Interracial Books for Children by the California State Department of Education, 1998.
Guidelines for reviewing books on Native Americans for Culturally Appropriateness - Adapted from Sign of Cultural Appropriateness, "Through Indian Eyes", 2003
Culturally Responsive Teaching, published by ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools Charleston WV. 2003