The Northwest Tribal Educators Alliance (NW TEA) grew out of earlier work with Indian educators of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and REL Northwest. Comprising tribal leaders and Indian educators who participate in the ATNI, the alliance is dedicated to using culturally relevant data and evidence to promote Native student academic success.
In accordance with the ATNI education committee’s mission, the alliance uses culture-based education to empower and shape tribal sovereignty, unity, and self-determination by:
- Respecting elders, traditional leaders, and indigenous ways of knowing and being
- Promoting unique Native languages and cultures from intergenerational and holistic perspectives
- Advocating for a holistic approach to policy and legislation that promotes self-sufficiency
- Increasing access and opportunity for career readiness, lifelong learning, and the protection of Native cultural and intellectual property rights
Through face-to-face meetings, webinars, and online collaboration, the alliance is currently examining the inquiry topic, “How might we assess Native student identification policies and practices that do, or do not, fulfill the principles of Indian treaties and self-determination?”
To answer this question, the alliance is:
- Gathering legislation and guidelines related to identification of Native student eligible for in-school support systems (e.g., Title VII, Johnson O’Malley programs, Migrant Education, and Impact Aid)
- Discussing related federal, state, and institutional policies and practices (K–12 and postsecondary) in the context of tribal sovereignty
- Highlighting and sharing local practices and initiatives to improve the identification of Native students for services and opportunities such as scholarships or internships
Over the course of the year, the NW TEA will continue probing this question, as well as explore and share current research and promising practices that promote Native student success.