American Indian Studies Support from

Place-based education is one effective way to teach students about Wisconsin tribal culture, history, and sovereignty.<

A coordinated effort among Wisconsin agencies and organizations has created the new website — designed to help school districts live up to the statutory requirement of teaching and learning about the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin’s American Indian nations and tribal communities.

In the more than 25 years since those requirements — collectively known as Act 31 — were passed by the Wisconsin Legislature, implementation has been uneven.

A 2014 survey of public school districts conducted by the DPI in conjunction with multiple partners confirmed that administrators and teachers needed more guidance and assistance finding useful resources and materials around Act 31. That was particularly true of the tribal sovereignty piece of the requirements.

David O’Connor, the DPI’s American Indian Studies consultant, says the resources and materials provided on the website offer “a way to help all of us gain knowledge and understanding about our tribal neighbors’ histories, cultures, and tribal sovereignty.”

In addition, the survey indicated administrators and teachers wanted more professional development opportunities for teaching and learning with this content. To that end, the DPI American Indian Studies Program is collaborating with the 12 Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs) to provide educator workshops titled “American Indian Studies: Implementing Act 31.” These opportunities began this past spring and continue through 2015.


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