Native American Education

Contact Information

Native American Liaison
Rob Black
(307) 777-3747
rob.black1@wyo.gov

Save the Date for the 11th Annual Native American Education Conference, Aug. 5-6, 2020, at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyo.

 “Indian Education for All” standards will go into effect in 2021-22 school year

On Aug. 15, 2018, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead approved additions to Wyoming’s Social Studies Content and Performance Standards that resulted from passage of House Bill 76 of the 2017 legislative session. The bill, which became law, required the history, traditional culture and contemporary contributions of Wyoming and regional Native American tribes be included in those standards – which outline what students are required to know at each grade level.

Wyoming school districts will be required to fully implement the new standards in the 2021-22 school year.

BACKGROUND

On March 10, 2017, Gov. Mead signed Original House Bill 76/House Enrolled Act 119, which aimed to educate all Wyoming students about American Indian tribes of the region, including the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes.

As a result, the State Board of Education was tasked with reviewing Wyoming’s social studies standards to ensure the cultural heritage, history and contemporary contributions of American Indians are addressed.

Additionally, the law requires the Wyoming Department of Education, in consultation with the tribes, to make available materials and resources on the agency’s web site to assist school districts in meeting social studies benchmarks relating to the study of American Indian tribes. Some materials and resources have been posted below. More will be added upon vetting by appropriate reviewers.

A Social Studies Standards Review Committee was created in October 2017 and worked from November 2017 to January 2018 to meet the standards review requirement of the legislation. A draft of the committee’s recommendations is available.  The State Board of Education voted April 20, 2018, to promulgate rules that would implement the revised standards.  Gov.  Mead on May 4, 2018, gave permission to the Board to move forward with the rules promulgation process, and public comment was accepted through June 29, 2018.

The State Board of Education on July 13, 2018, formally approved the committee draft, opening a 75-day window for the Governor, the Legislature and the Attorney General’s Office to review the new standards. Following that review, the Governor accepted the new standards in their entirety as part of approval of new Wyoming Department of Education administrative Chapter 10 rules on Aug. 15, 2018.

Administrative rules, which are formulated under a strict public process outlined by Wyoming statute, carry the same weight as statutes. Chapter 10 rules contain all of the state’s educational content and performance standards, including social studies.

Text of House Bill 76

Indian Education Resources

  • The Wind River Education Project (History of Wyoming’s Native Americans) is a series of Wyoming PBS videos and lesson plans about the history and culture of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people.
  • Wyohistory.org, a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society, offers a number of articles about Wyoming’s indigenous peoples, plus “digital toolkits” that serve as lesson plans on a number of American Indian topics.
  • Two Nations – One Reservation” is a pop-up exhibit with related materials on the history of the Wind River Reservation from Wyoming Humanities.
  • The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody offers school programs and resources for teaching Plains Indians history and culture from the premier museum of the American West.
  • The Power of the Powwow Narrative:  A Resource for Teaching Literacy and Cultural Resilience,” developed by Dr. Stephany Anderson from Buffalo Bill Center of the West resources, offers powwow materials to teach historical literacy.
  • The Brinton Museum in Big Horn offers educational resources exploring Plains Indian life and culture through original art and artifacts on display in “To Honor The Plains Nations” exhibition in the American Indian Gallery.
  • The WoLakota Project is a collaboration between the South Dakota Department of Education and Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) to preserve the voices and experiences of the Oceti Sakowin: The People of the Seven Council Fires – the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples – and to help others learn about their history.
  • The Western Educational Equity Assistance Center at Metropolitan State University in Denver offers a number of resources, including materials for revitalizing native languages and native language immersion.
  • Native Knowledge 360 is an initiative of the National Museum of the American Indian.
  • The Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) offers a free online professional learning series on culturally responsive instruction for Native American students.
  • The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education has produced a list of books about Native Americans deemed as acceptable and another list of those not recommended because they present American Indians in a stereotypical, non-accurate and/or Eurocentric point of view.
  • Harvard University prepared a report, “Cultivated Ground,” outlining effective teaching practices for Native students in a public high school.
  • American Indians of Colorado: Snapshots in Time is provided by the Denver Public School’s Indian Education department. It offers classroom material on the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, and Puebloans.
  • Native Village offers articles, essays, educational materials, links and an online newspaper concerning contemporary issues entitled “Native Village Youth and Education News.” Native Village also offers updates on grants and other opportunities. Their Native Library is a wonderful resource broken down into topics such as: Animals Library; Arts and Crafts Library; Books, Literature, Storytelling; Clothes, Food, Shelter; Current Events; Earth and Environment; Elders, Leader and Heroes; European Invasion; Games and Sports; Health, History and Traditions; Media; Music and Dance; Plants; and its award winning Native Language Library.
  • For Field trips: The St. Stephens Mission’s Heritage Center across from the St. Stephen’s School offers historical displays, traditional crafts and bead work, historical photographs, and a replica of dormitory life for Arapaho students during the early days of the mission. You can also make arrangements to see the historic St. Stephen’s Mission Church. Contact the St. Stephen’s Indian Mission & Heritage Center at (307) 856-7806. The Mission’s hours are 9am-12pm, 1-4pm Monday-Wednesday & Friday.
  • Sample Affirmation of Tribal Consultation Form – for meeting requirements of tribal consultation under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.