Over 400 attendees across Wyoming gather for the 2022 Native American Education Conference

(Riverton, WY) Central Wyoming College hosted the Wyoming Department of Education’s 2022 Native American Education Conference, with 437 educators, professionals, teachers, and organizers gathering from all over the state for an intensive three days of presentations and workshops dedicated to better outcomes for Wyoming’s Native American students.

Importance was placed upon knowledge of best teaching practices and understanding of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people.

Dr. Brad Tyndall said that he was inspired by the theme this year, and said that for the last 20 years, the college has done a lot of work and had conversations in creating a new Mission and Vision statement that “sounds like pretty much like the same thing,” he said. “Transforming lives and strengthening communities…CWC cultivates vibrant, resilient communities…” The key here is “community” and “relationships”. Together we can do important things.”

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“There is a long history,” Tyndall continued. “There’s a lot of bad history…there’s a lot of work to do. No matter what we should accomplish at the college, it will just never be enough. If you look at intergenerational trauma, it is real. There is so much more we need to do.”

Opening the conference on Tuesday was Keynote Speaker Dr. Shane Doyle with his presentation entitled “Strengthening Resilience Through Relationships”, providing his 17 years of experience and best practices in implementing Montana’s “Indian Education for All” Act throughout the state. Doyle also helped lead the commemoration of Yellowstone Park’s 150 birthday with the installation of an intertribal Teepee Village near Gardiner, Montana.

Dr. Shane Doyle was a Keynote speaker at the Native American Education Conference on Tuesday, August 2. h/t Carol Harper

Wednesday’s Keynote Speaker was Sandra Su’Sana (Redpath) Ashley, who addressed American Indian history missing from today’s social studies classrooms with her presentation, “What is a Proper Education?” 

“Historically, the problem with Indian education has been how to survive,” Ashley said. “Look at the numbers. Over 830,000 children as young as three years old were taken from their parents and placed in boarding schools. Even as these schools closed, Native American children entering the public school system came uninvited by a society that still labeled them as savage, conquered, wards of the government, then as a vanishing race, who for over a century has remained invisible.”

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Dr. Sandra Su’Sana (Redpath) Ashley speaks on Native American historical and generational trauma. h/t Carol Harper

Thursday’s Keynote was TEDx speaker Ryan Wetzel of the Blackfeet tribe and Actions Speak Louder. Wetzel, a former professional basketball player, shared his story of being headed for stardom, spoke candidly about the injuries that prevented his dream and the deep, suicidal depression he experienced…then a resurrection and hope to help others forge through their own trials and journeys.

Shown was a screening of “Never Too Late“, Wetzel’s inspiring documentary project about a plumber from Stevensville, Montana Shad Blair, who, at 36 years old, sustained a severe injury to his hand while playing at a junior college that nearly ended his athletic career, but didn’t let his dream end in playing professional basketball.

Inspirational speaker Ryan Wetzel speaks out about hope and fortitude at the NAEC at CWC. h/t Carol Harper

Other film screenings shown during the 2022 NAEC were Home from School: The Children of CarlisleRACE to be Human, and More than Frybread.

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A comprehensive agenda of NAEC classes over the three-day conference included:

Creating a Village of Support in Educational Communities

How to Start a Nonprofit in a Native Community

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Junior Achievement: Inspiring Students to Own Their Future Success

Indigenous Studies through Computer Science

The Sand Creek Massacre

Finding Flow to Boost Resilience

Say Something: Your Voice Matters

Strengthening the Circle: Integrating Culture and Community into our Classrooms

Assistive Technology & Developing Resiliency at School, at Work & Home

Instructional Practices for Pre-Services & All Educators

The Importance of Collaboration Between Parents and Educators in Special Education

Building Community: The Buffalo Bill Center of The West Indian Education for All Programs

Adapting Assistive Technology Approaches: How We Can Work Together to Improve Services

Wyoming PBS Native American Educational Teaching Modules

Indigenous Instructional Practices to Achieve Equity in Your Classroom & School

Teaching Hiinonneitiit in Pre-K through Second Grade

Active Shooter Protocol: Proactive Measures for Prevention

Culture as a Healing Tool

Cross-Curricular Collaboration to Engage Students

State Assessment Data Results: Pandemic Effects

Sharing Cultural Knowledge: The Next Generation

Coming Together through Cultural Activities

How to Build Common Ground with Your Student

Horses and the Power of Communication

Sources of Strength

Career Opportunities in the National Park Service

Exploring Wyoming Giant Floor Maps

Healthy Pathways

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Putting Family First

Culturally Responsive Learning Pathway

Safe to Tell Wyoming: Make a Report. Make a Difference

Active Shooter Table-Top Exercises: A Necessity for Schools, Businesses and Communities

Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy: Discover Your Own Awesome!

University of Wyoming: Native Recruitment, Retention and Community Outreach.

Click here for more information on the Wyoming Department of Education’s 2022 Native Education Conference.

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