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NEA President Discusses American Indian/Alaska Native Education Issues

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel delivered a message of hope, collaboration and cultural preservation during the American Indian/Alaska Native Issues Conference on June 5. 
During the multiday event at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, participants explored a number of issues that affect Native students and school personnel, including Native genealogy and ethno-mathematics.

President Van Roekel speaks during the American Indian/Alaska Native Issues Conference in Connecticut
Courtesy: Jon Olson for NEA

“There has been encouraging progress, but the fact remains that too many Native American students are still falling behind in school,” President Van Roekel said.  He told participants that NEA supports policy recommendations by the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators. 

Some of the recommendations include:

Van Roekel also talked about the importance of helping members understand the cultural background of students in order to find better ways to engage them.  He highlighted how NEA is taking a role in that effort through the Minority Community Outreach Department, which held a Teacher Resiliency Camp.  

The Abnaki tribal elders welcome conference participants to the region with traditional songs.
Courtesy: Jon Olson for NEA

The American Indian/Alaska Native Issues Conference was co-sponsored by the American Indian/Alaska Native Caucus, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Connecticut Education Association.