Native Alliance Initiative summit held in Rapid City

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The Teach for America Native Alliance Initiative held its 4th annual summit in Rapid City this weekend.

The Native Alliance Initiative was launched in 2009 – continuing the goal of teaching America – which is to recruit diverse leaders to expand opportunity and access for all children.

The summit brought 150 current and former Native American teachers together to build a support network to confront the challenges of incorporating Native American culture into the classroom.

The attendees came from as far away as Hawaii and New England, and took part in a variety of workshops to develop new strategies for better cross-cultural communication between Native and non-Native Americans.

“There’s Native children in schools across this country,” said Robert Cook, senior managing director of the Native Alliance Initiative. “But many of them face a lot of hurdles and obstacles because our curriculum doesn’t address indigenous issues in history. So, having teachers who understand that, and building that network can create, I think, some really good cross-cultural sharing.”

When they have completed their service, members of the Native Alliance Initiative take the new skills they’ve learned in the schools they serve – and at the summit – back to their home communities to improve educational opportunities for Native American children.

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