Indigenous Arts and Sciences, a collaborative initiative between Earth Partnership and five Wisconsin Native Nations (Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, and Ho-Chunk Nations), benefits from the guidance of our esteemed Advisory Board. Every year, advisors, project staff, and community partners gather to discuss approaches to Native education, experiential learning, and building Nation-school-higher education partnerships. Our advisors are:
Dr. Megan Bang (Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy)
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Center for Native Peoples and the Environment)
RunningHorse Livingston (Mathematize, Inc.)
Dr. Patty Loew (Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism; Center for Native American and Indigenous Research)
David O’Connor (WI Department of Public Instruction, American Indian Studies Program)
This year, the group was hosted by Bad River. The meeting opened with a ceremony by Bad River Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Edith Leoso. Advisors presented on a range of topics, including university-tribal community partnerships, Native youth-led media, principles of indigenized pedagogy, reframing ecological restoration as reciprocal restoration, and the status of Act 31 in Wisconsin. Bad River elders and tribal staff (including Bad River Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr.) and local school district partners joined us for lunch and discussion.
Each Nation in the initiative has a person serving as IAS coordinator in their community. The group heard about project progress over the past year from Lori Lemieux (Bad River IAS), Alex Breslav and Chad Abel (Red Cliff IAS), Michelle Cloud and Bethany Redbird (Ho-Chunk IAS), and Celeste Hockings (Lac du Flambeau IAS). Coordinators were able to share about highlights as well as brainstorm about programming, from recruitment through implementation.
After brainstorming in small groups, our group stopped for a breath of fresh Lake Superior air. We met IAS-partnering teachers from the Ashland and Bayfield school districts at a local restaurant for dinner, where they shared about their experiences integrating Native culture into the classroom. Each of the four teachers shared different stories, but they all acknowledged their role as learners and expressed appreciation for the connections they have made with local tribal members.
Before project planning on our second day, the group stopped by the Bad River Fish Hatchery for a look at some walleye eggs and fingerlings. It was amazing to see the beginning of so many lives. We ended the day and parted ways inspired, and ready to do more work together to improve education for Native youth.
Miigwech, Pinagigi, Thank You to all of our advisors and partners!