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53rd Annual Conference and Trade Fair hosted by National Indian Education Association

OKLAHOMA CITY — The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) held its 53rd Annual Convention and Trade Show Thursday at the Oklahoma City Convention Center to thousands of registrants. This year’s theme is “Educational Sovereignty. Our Choice” and focuses on Native American educators who advance education for Indigenous students.

The meeting officially started on Wednesday, but the opening plenary session was not convened until Thursday morning. Leaders from national organizations, White House advocates, and local leaders approached the convention with announcements and words of encouragement.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said Thursday about the NIEA: Holt is a registered citizen of the Osage Nation and the first native American mayor of Oklahoma City.

Larry Wright, Jr., executive director of the National Indian Congress (NCAI), said at the opening ceremony on Thursday. , and defend sovereignty as a whole. ”

At the conference, NIEA aimed to create a framework that incorporates the mental, spiritual, physical and emotional needs of Indigenous students to address needs such as substance abuse and suicide prevention, Announced the development of the Whole Child Initiative.

“The Whole Child Initiative is the next step in our journey to restore Indigenous knowledge and values ​​for children and families,” NIEA Executive Director Diana Cournoyer said in a statement. Through the Sovereignty and Whole Child Initiatives, as we move into a new era of Indigenous education, we are committed to healing our school communities and engaging the hearts, souls and minds of our students in practical and sustainable ways. increase.”

Educators want to address trauma in school and the needs of children through four pathways: prevention, support, building resilience, and developing protective factors.

“Our initiative framework is based on four pathways developed by the Center for Educational Improvement,” said Melanie Johnson, director of NIEA’s All Children Initiative. “The Whole Child Initiative focuses on prevention, support, building resilience, and developing protective factors to restore the strengths of Indigenous students and harness their innate talents through the power of educational sovereignty. .”

The convention continues through Saturday and features workshops by experts from all over the country, youth events, powwows, awards banquets, trade fairs, and the election of NIEA leaders.

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About the author

author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. JavaScript must be enabled to view.

Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online based in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Thompson reports on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and indigenous issues for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online,, and his Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international dialogue. He holds a BA in Criminology and Law from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.