Educators Attend Native American Education Conference

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Tuesday and Wednesday educators across the state are learning how they can improve education for Native American students at the 5th Annual Wyoming Native American Education Conference.

"How would we expect teachers to teach it to our kids if they don't understand it themselves," says Keja Whiteman, Wyoming Department of Education.

And that is one of the goals of the conference. Teachers, administrators, and parents gather to discuss the different issues facing Native American students and their education.

"It opens up the ideas of tradition and culture being brought into the culture which we really need because you know in most of our, like our school where it's ninety-eight percent Native American and you know I'm just excited that it's become an important issue," says Pamela Gambler, Wyoming Indian Middle School Principal.

Historically, schooling was not a positive experience for Native Americans.

"Children were forcibly removed from homes and sent off to schools by school officials, government officials, law enforcement," says Whiteman.

Whiteman hopes they can change those attitudes.

"So this will be a new generation of kids who are informed about the tribes here with accurate information not only historic but current government practices," says Whiteman.

One of the presentations was on how to deal with unmotivated students.

"Every time you remove a kid out of a classroom, it's going to get worse. So instead of kicking these kids out, create excellent learning opportunities.," says Ron Glodoski, Turn Around Publishing.

"One superintendent says it's all about informing the teachers first.
So they can have more empathy towards our students, they can be more understanding and they'll be able to be more effective in their classrooms," says Elma Brown, St. Stephen's Indian School Superintendent.

The two day conference is the result of a school, community, and government partnership to improve education for students in the Wind River Reservation.