Three members of UW-Green Bay’s First Nations Studies faculty will represent the University during a Tuesday (Aug. 19) event marking the 25th anniversary of Wisconsin Act 31. Lisa Poupart, Forrest Brooks and JP Leary will be on hand for the Madison event, which celebrates the passage of legislation requiring instruction in American Indian history, culture and tribal sovereignty at both the K-12 level and in teacher education programs in Wisconsin. The award-winning program’s collaboration with the University’s Education program, through the Education Center for First Nations Studies, has been lauded for its approach to infusing Act 31 in teacher education. Leary is one of the event’s featured speakers. A video in which he discusses Act 31’s origins, purpose and requirements will debut at the event. Visit www.wiea.org for more info.
The 18th Annual Wisconsin American Indian Studies Summer Institute is scheduled to take place July 28 through Aug. 1 at the Lac du Flambeau School District Offices in northern Wisconsin. The event is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in cooperation with the First Nations Studies Program and the Professional Program in Education Center for First Nations Studies at UW-Green Bay. The week is designed to increase participants’ understanding of issues related to the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the eleven federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin. Undergraduate and graduate credits are available, as well, with UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. JP Leary of First Nations Studies the instructor. Read more.
Internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist Winona LaDuke will offer a free public presentation on food sovereignty at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15 in Room 250 of Rose Hall on the UW-Green Bay campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
LaDuke (Anishinaabe), a graduate of Harvard and Antioch universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities. In 1994, Time Magazine named her one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age, and in 1997 she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. Other honors include the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Thomas Merton Award, the Ann Bancroft Award, the Global Green Award and the prestigious International Slow Food Award for working to protect wild rice and local biodiversity. LaDuke served as Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s running mate in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections.
In addition to numerous articles, LaDuke is the author of “Last Standing Woman” (fiction); “All Our Relations” (nonfiction); “In the Sugarbush” (children’s nonfiction) and “The Winona LaDuke Reader.” Her most recent book is “Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming” (2005, South End Press). LaDuke is an enrolled member of the Mississippi band of Anishinaabe. She lives with her family on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.
LaDuke is founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, a reservation-based nonprofit devoted to restoring the land base and culture of the White Earth Anishinaabe. She helped found the Honor the Earth organization in 1993 and has served in a leadership position since its inception.
LaDuke’s presentation is sponsored by the UW-Green Bay Education Center for First Nations Studies, Environmental Management and Business Institute, and First Nations Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs.
Prominent author, orator and activist Winona LaDuke will make a free public presentation on “Food Sovereignty” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, in Rose Hall 250. Of Anishinaabe heritage, LaDuke is a graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development. In 1997 she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year, and she twice ran on national tickets to be vice president of the United States. We’ll have more detail in a future posting. Her free public presentation is hosted by the UW-Green Bay Education Center for First Nations Studies, the Environmental Management and Business Institute, the First Nations Studies Program, and Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
The Professional Program in Education Center for First Nations Studies will host an Open House event from 2:30-4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the center in Wood Hall 420. Everyone is welcome to come and check out the Resource Center and community! Refreshments will be served, so stop on by!
(As appeared in the January 2012 Institute for Learning Partnership newsletter)
By Terry Anderson
UW-Green Bay is helping current and future educators learn more about the history, culture, sovereignty and contemporary issues of American Indians, helping them learn so they can also teach.
A Wisconsin law, “Act 31” requires that K-12 students learn about federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin. To help schools meet these requirements, the Center for First Nations Studies, under the direction of the Education program, was created. Additionally, UW-Green Bay offers students the opportunity to major or minor in First Nations Studies.
Its commitment to First Nations Studies was one of the reasons cited in naming UW-Green Bay’s Education program the top undergraduate program in the state by the UW System Board of Regents.
“We’re the only school in the UW System that requires pre-service teachers to complete a three-credit course in First Nations Studies,” said Prof. Lisa Poupart, who chairs the First Nations program, and co-chairs the First Nations Center with Prof. Tim Kaufman, Education program chair.
Poupart said this may be the only program in the nation that has four tribal Elders, from different regional tribes, who are part of the teaching staff. Each Elder is a scholar with considerable experience, and teaches in the tradition of First Nations oral teaching and learning. Students and practicing teachers gain a deeper knowledge of American Indian history and culture, and in turn are better prepared to teach students.
“It’s integral to the way we prepare successful educators,” said Kaufman. “It gives our pre-service teachers an advantage in more fully understanding this culture and the impact it has on teaching and learning.”
The First Nations Studies program is of interest to both American Indian and non-Indian students who wish to learn more about the traditional cultures and knowledge of indigenous people as well as the changes experienced by American Indian nations as a result of Euro-American contact.
The program offers a major and a minor. The minor strengthens numerous degrees including those in business, history, social work, etc., The degrees prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse community and also equip students with skills to work cooperatively and effectively with tribal governments and businesses.
Through the Center for First Nations Studies, UW-Green Bay Education students and faculty offer consultation and services to teachers and school districts regarding curriculum, materials and instructional methodology in American Indian studies.
For example, a recent day found Poupart in Madison, participating in an in-service program for middle school teachers. A few days’ earlier students from UW-Manitowoc visited UW-Green Bay to learn from Elder Shirley Barber.
The Center for First Nations Studies not only serves as an Act 31 resource center for professional and pre-service educators, it also has the mission of helping UW-Green Bay retain American Indian students, said Poupart.
While tribes and bands have their own history and traditions, there is a core set of values that extend across each — respect, reciprocity, responsibility and relationships.
“It seems to me that more people are starting to appreciate the unique approach in using Elders and teaching,” Kaufman said. “The bottom line is these Elders are the highest authority and teachers in regards to knowledge about Native American culture. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a buy-in to the (First Nations) programs from students to staff to faculty.”
Spending an afternoon with an Elder introduces students to forms of teaching different from a typical lecture hall that may hold 200 students. In fact, non-Indian students are sometimes uneasy in their first encounter with a tribal Elder, Poupart said. They worry they may inadvertently say something politically incorrect. But soon the apprehension evaporates and they can engage in honest education about Wisconsin’s First Nations.
Neither Poupart nor Kaufman is satisfied with the number of University students with American Indian heritage (120), trailing UW-Madison (178) and UW-Milwaukee (141). “We should have a number that reflects the proximity to the American Indian population. Sixty percent of Wisconsin’s American Indian population lies within 100 miles of Green Bay,” Poupart says. Kaufman sees an opportunity for growth.
“I think the work we’re doing through the center will have an impact on increasing the enrollment of Native American students in the University and Education program,” he said.
For more information call 920-465-2185 or visit their website.
The front-page story in the Feb. 8 Green Bay Press-Gazette celebrates the success of the Center for First Nation Studies, a place where future teachers and other students can meet with faculty and tribal elders to learn about Native American history and culture.
The center, a collaboration of the First Nations Studies program and the Education unit, will be recognized with a UW System Regents award for excellence in diversity. The Press-Gazette news story quotes faculty members Lisa Poupart, Tim Kaufman and David Turney. To see the newspaper story, click here.
In earning the 2012 UW System Board of Regents Diversity Award in the Institutional/Unit category, the program is being recognized as one that fosters access and success in university life for historically underrepresented populations.
In partnership with UW-Green Bay’s Professional Program in Education, the First Nations Studies program also has created an innovative model to teach teachers how to deliver culturally relevant instruction about the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of First Nations people. For more on the Regent Award, click here.
Finally, for a 2011 UW-Green Bay news bureau video on the program, click here.