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Coeur d’Alene Tribe to be honored for activism, investments in public education programs

Annual awards event to highlight Tribe’s contributions to Indian and non-Indian youth

WASHINGTON - June 20, 2014 -

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been chosen to receive the National Education Association’s Leo Reano Memorial Award because of its contributions to the education of Indian and non-Indian youth in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. The award ceremony will take place on July 2 during NEA’s annual Representative Assembly, being held this year in Denver.

In 1992, the tribe signed a compact to have gaming on its reservation in which the tribe voluntarily committed at least 5 percent of the net gaming revenues to go to financial support of education. This has resulted in $21.4 million invested in education programs to date from pre-K to college. These programs include Head Start, child care, duel enrollment programs that count college courses for both high school and college credit, and tutoring in early grades for children who fall behind.

“Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education landmark decision, we still see dramatic inequities and disparities in resources, programs, and opportunities for students across America,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “The work of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe is even more important each year those inequities persist. We must continue to shed a light on their work as they guide and inspire us all.”

The efforts of the Tribe are certainly paying off for local students. The Plummer-Worley Joint School District Number 44 on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, for example, had a graduation rate of 34 percent 10 years ago and is 90 percent today. The district’s Superintendent Judi Sharrett credits the tribe. The tribe doesn’t just stop at donating resources and funds, but tracks all children to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

“When it comes to making a difference in someone’s life, we believe there is nothing that can have a greater impact than an education. We are proud to support the efforts of the teachers and schools in the region who work every day to give all kids, native and non-native, a hand up and the tools to succeed in life,” said Chairman Chief Allan of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

The National Education Association (NEA) will thank and honor the outstanding work of a dozen of America’s human and civil rights heroes at its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2 in Denver. This year’s theme, “Tonight We Celebrate, Tomorrow We Organize,” will recognize those who fought—and continue to fight—for social justice. Award recipients will also include the past and present with former U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and iconic civil rights leader Coretta Scott King being recognized.

Interviews with honorees are available.
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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,
Heather Keen (Coeur d’Alene Tribe)  208-686-2023,