Native American Education Conference

The 10th Annual Native American Education Conference, will take place Aug. 7-8, 2019, at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyo.


Dr. Lee Francis IV,  the “Stan Lee” of the Indigenous comic book industry, will offer the opening keynote, Aug. 7 at 11 a.m.
Dr. Francis, owner/operator of Native Realities Press and Red Planet Books and Comics in Albuquerque, N.M., will discuss how Native American artists and authors are reclaiming their Native identities through their art – sometimes in amazing combinations of traditional themes and modern pop culture.

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming will offer remarks on education and the U.S. Congressional Award and present the 2019 Youth Pacesetter Awards on Aug. 8 at 8:45 a.m.

Nubia Pena, juvenile justice attorney and advocate for incarcerated youth, will offer a keynote Aug. 8 at 9:45 a.m.: Disciplined Too Young & Too Often: Understanding School Push-Out
Across the country, school systems are shutting the doors of academic opportunity and funneling children into the juvenile and criminal justice systems by using overly harsh discipline practices to address student misbehavior.
This presentation will provide an overview of the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP) and the various intersections of vulnerability that increase a child’s risk of being streamlined into the justice system. In addition, participants will be encouraged to get involved in mitigating STPP issues by increasing protective factors through policy change, discipline reform, and elevating the voices of youth leaders.




PTSB and University of Wyoming credit available.

Native American Education Conference Mission Statement: Instill pride and strengthen engagement in youth through learning Native American history and culture.

A variety of youth activities – including a basketball tournament and ice cream social – will be offered for students entering Grade 6 and up. Parents or guardians must sign a consent form and deliver it to the check-in table at the conference.

  • Suicide prevention skills
  • Understanding of and appreciation for the history and culture of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes
  • Cultural sensitivity for educators and other adults who impact Native American students
  • Instructional and learning needs of Native American students
  • Emotional and social needs of Native American students
  • Successful transitions for students between school levels
  • Empowering youth to develop leadership skills and choose healthy lifestyles
  • Promoting understanding, building relationships and generating ideas for engaging families and the community in education of the whole child

Registration cost is $35, although students may attend for free. 

Rhaelle Curry, of Laramie High School, one of last year’s Youth Pacesetter Award winners, accepts her certificate from Megan Degenfelder, Wyoming Department of Education chief policy officer, along with Willard Gould, of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and John Washakie, of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, during an awards ceremony Aug. 8, 2018, at St. Stephens High School, during last year’s Native American Education Conference.

The annual Youth Pacesetter honorees were chosen based on their academic achievement, attendance, leadership among peers, community service and aspirations for higher learning. Congratulations to all winners and their families!
2018 winners:
  • Jared White, Wyoming Indian High School
  • Jenna Medicine Horse, Wyoming Indian High School
  • Leighanna Shoulderblade, Riverton High School
  • Dayne Bradley, Riverton High School
  • Tiaunna Velarde, Pathfinder High School
  • Taylee Dresser, Lander Valley High School
  • Drew Wyant, Lander Valley High School
  • Martina Brown, St. Stephens High School
  • Roberto Hernandez, St. Stephens High School
  • Katsina Cardenas, Arapahoe Charter High School
  • Kateri Cardenas, Arapahoe Charter High School
  • Rhaelle Curry, Laramie High School
  • Antonia Valdez, University of Wyoming
  • Kailyn Washakie, University of Wyoming

A big thank you to Wyoming Humanities and the Wind River Hotel & Casino for their support of the 2018 conference, along with Fremont County School Districts 1, 14, 21, 25 and 38 and St. Stephens Indian School, as well as the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes!

For more information about the conference, call Rob Black at (307) 630-0797 or email