Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Aerial view of the N A U campus.

American Indian Indigenous Teacher Education Conference

Returning to Our Languages and Ways of Knowing

June 21–22, 2024

Northern Arizona University’s College of Education will host the 14th American Indian/Indigenous Teacher Education Conference (AIITEC) on June 21–22, 2024. This conference for preschool, K–12, Tribal, college, and university educators, as well as concerned community members, includes panels, workshops, and papers to share ideas for improving the lives and education of American Indian children, especially regarding the revitalization of their Indigenous languages and cultures.

Join your colleagues for two and a half days of career-empowering knowledge, practices, networking, and practical teaching solutions. The conference is designed with your specific needs in mind and will provide strategies you can use immediately across all grade levels and subjects. NAU’s College of Education has worked with Tribal Nations to improve the education of American Indian students for decades. It has hosted a variety of American Indian teacher and administrator preparation programs.

Conference goals

  • Bring together American Indian and other Indigenous language educators and activists to share ideas and experiences on how to teach and revitalize American Indian and other Indigenous languages in homes, communities, and schools.
  • Share resources for early childhood educators in Tribal schools and communities.
  • Disseminate recent research and thinking on best practices to promote, preserve, and protect American Indian and other Indigenous languages in the spirit of the 1990 Native American Languages Act and the United Nations 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Conference schedule

2024 NAU Stabilizing American Indian Languages/AIITEC

All times are Pacific Daylight Time.

4:00-6:00 Welcome Reception Eastburn 190 Host Jon Reyhner

8:00-8:40 Welcome and Opening General Session Cline Library Assembly Hall Host: Joseph Martin Blessing: Evelyn Begay

8:40-9:30 Keynote Presentation: Jason Cummins (Apsáalooke Nation) Leading in a Resiliency Centered School: working to provide a relevant, respectful and authentic educational experience for students in a public school setting

9:30-9:45 Break

9:45-10:45 Breakout Sessions

Cline Library Jennie de Groat (Diné) Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Language

COE 190 Jason Cummins (Apsáalooke Nation) School Leadership experiences and lessons learned in promoting culturally sustaining, trauma sensitive practices.

Stories, experiences, and lessons learned from implementing practices to best serve students of Sovereign Tribal Nations in a public-school setting.

COE 174 Noekeonaona Kirby, Sunshine Aiona (Native Hawaiian) ha’ale a ka Wai: Aina and Cultural Values in Teacher Education

Kaho’iwai’s mission is to empower post-secondary students through hybrid educational experiences grounded in Hawaiian knowledge and values. Teacher certification is achieved through online and residential camping experiences. Teachers are empowered to be leaders in their community through reflective practices related to land and cultural values.

COE 205 Stephanie Jackson (Diné), Anne Hamlin Co-Design with NASA Curriculum writers to create Inclusion, belonging and relevance to Indigenous learners

In this workshop, learn how the PLANETS curriculum writers co-design with NASA and educators to promote inclusion, belonging, and relevance ith indigenous learners in and out of school time STEM programs. The curriculum incorporates practices such as storytelling, indigenous language prompts, visual aids, and culturally responsive strategies to create equity in STEM education.

11:00-12:00 Breakout Sessions

Cline Library Shawn Secatero (Diné), Bernard Chimoni (Pueblo of Zuni), Marnita Chischilly (Dine) Kyla Powell (Dine), Verlena Livingston (Dine) The Corn Pollen Model Honoring our Indigenous Epistemology

The Corn Pollen Model is an Indigenous based holistic framework that encapsulates Spiritual, Mental, Physical and Social well-being attributes. Our interactive workshop will introduce these attributes along with 12 well-being sub-pillars which serve as a framework in Indigenous based educational programs. Participants will receive an updated Corn Pollen Curriculum Guide.

COE 190 Roseyphen Sells, Genarita Yazzie, Camilla Hosteen,Valencia Edgewater (Diné) Strengths and Challenges in Implementing a Diné Immersion program at the Pinon Elementary School

In the school year of 21/22, the Pinon Elementary School began its first Diné Immersion Kindergarten class with eight students. The Diné Immersion School ended this year with K-2nd grade-level classes and plans to add a 3rd-grade classroom. The presenters will share the strengths and weaknesses of implementing an immersion school within a public school on tribal land. They will also present a timeline of events from the start to the present, the Johnson O’Malley Program student and community needs survey results, the Diné Immersion School parent feedback, and the Kindergarten Diné Language Proficiency Assessment results. This presentation explicitly targets public schools interested in starting an immersion school

COE 174 Kamil Ozerk (Sami) Language Revitalization in Sameland, Norway

Geographical proximity of the members of indigenous peoples is an important factor for language maintenance and language revitalization. I will present new data from my recent research in the core area of Sameland, Norway. I will also discuss the conditions for a solid geographical proximity and the consequences of weakened geographical proximity for indigenous language survival and revitalization.

COE 205 Sig Boloz Writing in the Native Primary K-3 Classroom

If you want to improve reading scores, then you must improve your writing program. Reading and writing instruction are reciprocal processes and must not be taught in isolation. But what about our youngest-grade classrooms? In this presentation Dr. Boloz will provide videotapted classroom examples and outline what still needs to be accomplished in many primary-grade schools serving Native children.

12:00-1:15 Lunch on your own

1:15-2:15 Cline Library: Keynote Presentation Debbie Bordeaux (Lakota)

The Great Plains Tribal Education Directors from all nine tribes in South Dakota work together to design, develop and implement Commission for Oceti Sakowin Accreditation (COSA). Our journey has been inclusive of all stakeholders who were interested in making sure our schools are of the highest quality

2:30-3:30 Breakout Sessions

Cline Library Continue the conversation with Debbie Bordeaux

COE 190 JoLynn Begay-Lewis (Tohono O’oodham/ Navajo) Setting High Expectations: Integrating Tohono O’odham language and culture in the curriculum

With 17 years in education, Principal JoLynn Begay-Lewis will share how she sets high teacher expectations. She will discuss classroom norms and how she integrates the Tohono O’odham language and culture in the curriculum. She successfully manages cultural diversity within her team and empowers her staff and students to be successful as a school.

COE 174 Vangee Nez, Lauren Lefty (Diné) Christine Lemley Better Together Learning Community: Building Community with Faculty and Students

The Better Together Learning Community (BTLC) initiative focuses on professional development to build community through and with students. In this presentation we describe an intentional focus on including student voice, NAU Indigenous and Latine students and Leupp High School studens to influence our ways of knowing and ways of being in service, scholarship and teaching.

COE 205 Glenebah Martinez (Taos and Diné) Leola Tsinnajinnie Paquin (Dine/Filipina & traditionally accepted into Santa Ana Pueblo)The Yazzie Case Proclaiming the Rights Connected with the cultural, spiritual and linguistic identity of Indigenous Peoples

In a 2018 ruling, Martinez and Yazzie v. State of New Mexico, the court ruled that the state was violating NM students’ constitutional rights to a sufficient education. We contend further that UNDRIP was also violated: Proclaiming the rights connected with cultural and linguistic identity. Our paper will address the current status of enforcing the ruling.

3:45-5:00 Breakout Sessions

COE 190. Pedro Cuevas (Chicano Azteca) Cultural Storytelling and Art for Social Justice: An Art Exhibit with students from Leupp Schools Inc., Ponderosa High and Coconino County Juvenile Courts

The Restorative Practices, Cultural Storytelling and Art for Social Justice workshop is an experimental session where the participants will be able to connect via Tier 1 Restorative Practice Circles and share from their personal and ancestral narratives. The workshop will culminate when participants create a collective art piece based on their narratives.

COE 174 Jon Reyhner, Louise Lockard, Joseph Martin (Dine) Revitalizing Indigenous Languages Challenges and Opportunities

Colonization, mass media and globalization are killers of indigenous languages. This presentation describes what is being done to revitalize indigenous language and examines ways social media is being used to promote Indigenous languages and how revitalizing Indigenous languages promotes students’ mental and physical health, as well as promoting academic success.

COE 205 Sigmund Boloz Raising the Standardized Reading Test Scores of Native Children

While concerns exist regarding the efficacy of the use of standardized test scores as a reliable measure of the reading achievement of native children in this session Dr. Boloz focuses on what research and practice say about the practical school-wide and classroom methods that we can control which can be used to raise reading achievement scores for all children.

8:00-8:40 Welcome and Opening General Session Cline Library Host Dr. Darold Joseph (Hopi)

8:40-9:30 Keynote Presentation: Lance Twitchell (Tlingit/Haida) Cline Library

The Tree That Does Not Break: Being a Changemaker in Apocalyptic Times

This presentation covers some of the spiritual, emotional, and mental labor that is required to maintain language reclamation movements while recovering from attempted genocide. Instead of providing answers, this talk aims to give hope and energy to one another in order to keep the focus on language use and healing. Many language movements implode, so lateral kindness, respect, unity, and self-care serve as the islands in a stormy sea of colonial violence. We are the strength and we are the answers because we are interconnected with Our Ancestors, Our Descendants, and each other.

9:30-9:45 Break

9:45-10:45 Breakout Sessions

Cline Library Sandra Gover (Pawnee/Choctaw) Dr. Joseph Martin (Moderator) Melody West (Dine) Jay Hosteen (Dine) Ina Sanchez (San Carlos Apache) Challenges of Leading an Indian-Serving School

This session is about the challenges of leading an Indian-Serving school while offering simple solutions and discussions embedded in concepts of self-determination. In this session, four Indigenous principal candidates will discuss the successes of their current leadership roles that are preparing them to lead an Indian-Serving school and how to promote academic achievement while offering suggestions for other leaders.

COE 190 (v) Cheyenne Cunningham, Leah Meunier, Abigail Cunningham, Lilly Cunningham (Katzie First Nation Canada) Language Learning through Family Traditions

My family and I have been on a language learning journey together in a community and more recently in University. We have gained fluency through stories and sneps. Sneps is defined as advice consiting of genealogies and family traditions. We created stories and how-to guides for harvesting and weaving.

 COE 174 Lance Twitchell (Tlingit/Haida) Continuing the Conversation Being a Changemaker

COE 205 Vangee Nez (Diné), Robert Macias DinéTeachers Gain Confidence and Efficacy

The follow-up study highlights the implications of the Dine graduate students’ experiences during and after their program revealed the impact of the courses they completed and the transformation of acquiring higher teacher confidence and efficacy for teaching the Dine traditional cultural knowledge and revitalization efforts of language and culture.

 11:00-12:00 Breakout Sessions

 Cline Library Augustine Romero, Rosie Guttierrez, Thomas Cupis, Diane Molina (Yaqui) Our Heritage Tree: Our Knowledge, Culture, and Language and Brilliant Young Ewame (Yaqui Thinkers)

Our Heritage Tree is the foundation for our curriculum development, mission, and vision, strategic and operational plans, and community empowerment and ownership processes. We are using these processes to create a trilingual and Yaqui-centric knowledge nest that will foster the growth of Yaqui intellectuals and agents of hope.

COE 190 Rosa King (Oneida) How language acquisition contributes to academic success

This workshop session will detail the stages of language development using indigenous based research froma Haudenosaunee perspective and how language acquisition contributes to academic success. This presentation will provide an overview of the historical context of Indian education from an Iroquoian practitioner’s understanding and the future goals of education as a framework for Indigenous language revitalization and educational approaches like language medium education and immersion.

COE 174 Martha Austin (Diné) Advice for Expectant Parents from the Ethno-Medical Encyclopedia

A pregnant woman is told not to do certain things. A pregnant woman who obeys all the things she is told not to do will have a healthy birth. An expectant father should be taught not to do certain things while his wife is pregnant.

COE 205 (v) Melanie Graham The Significance of Long Hair to Indigenous Males

We will discuss the legacy of boarding schools on indigenous communities by reading a letter about a boy’s long hair. Utilizing personal stories from people all over America the presenter will discuss the significance of long hair to indigenous men and how growing long hair can heal deep wounds.

12:00-1:15 Lunch on your own

1:15-2:15 Keynote Presentation Cline Library Mansel Nelson (Moderator) Student Panel

2:30-3:30 Breakout Sessions

Cline Library Tom Tomas, Etta Shirley, Wilphina Becenti, Albert Brent Chase, Rosebelle Nelson, Tanya Tso Teaching Diné Language through STREAM

Little Singer Community School, an elementary school located on the Dine Nation uses innovative teachings to bring the Dine language alive. Interdiscliplinary these across the Dine lunar and seasonal calendars provide spaces for Dine and English dual language equity while drawing forth STEM content embedded in the Dine culture.

COE 190 (v) Albert Pooley (Hopi/ Diné) Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

As more grandparents assume responsibilites for parenting their grandchildren, they struggle with a range of difficulties in recognizing and addressing issues that the younger generation will be confronting from new technologies, to school concerns, to contemporary social problem. This session will offer suggestions to help overcome these concerns.

COE 174 Royd Lee (Diné) Student Naat’aani Leadership System

Mr. Royd Lee’s Navajo Language Class will be presenting on how his classroom is run by the student Naat’aanii (Leader) system that is modeled after the three branches of government of the Navajo Nation Bee Haz’aanii (Rule/Law)

COE 205 Allyson Brinston Digital Landscapes of Language Revitalization through AR/VR

Indigenous landscapes are more than physical spaces; they are vital expressions of cultural identity and language. This presentation delves into AR/VR’s transformative role in indigenous language preservation, merging technology with cultural landscapes for immersive learning. By integrating digital landscapes with language revitalization efforts, there is a promising horizon for supporting indigenous communities, preserving cultural heritage, and enriching global cultural diversity. The presentation advocates for a collaborative, respectful approach that positionsl indigenous knowledge and perspectives at the forefront of technological innovation in language learning.

 2:45-5:00 Breakout Sessions

 Cline Library Poki Seto (Native Hawaiian) Impacts of Literacy on Indigenous Knowledge

American English grammar, syntax, literary devices and pedagogical approaches were used to translate and teach the Protestant Bible and Calvinist ideologies to the Native population in 19th century Hawaii. This significantly modified Kanaka Hawai’I communication, epistemology, cosmology, axiology and ontology that are still impacting ‘olelo Hawai’I teaching and learning today.

COE 190 (v) Savita Kaushal Indigenous Language Revitalization in the East Indian Context

This paper addreses the challenges and strategies involved in promoting the revitalization of indigenous languages within the realm of early childhood care and education (ECCE) focusing on the Indian context.

COE 174 Lucinda Begay, Cheryl Tsosie (Diné) Culturally Responsive Principles for Academic Success

The goal of this session is to describe how a culturally responsive school system closes the achievement gap. This presentation will provide success stories and data for math and reading K-12 from the Chinle Unified Schools.

Conference co-chairs

Keynote speakers

Deborah Bordeaux wearing hat, black shirt, and necklace.

Deborah Bordeaux

Dr. Jason Cummins standing in front of tree.

Dr. Jason Cummins

Dr. Lance Twitchell wearing blue buttoned up shirt.

Dr. Lance Twitchell

Past AIITEC conferences

Additional information

Call for presentations

The AIITEC is no longer accepting calls for presentations for the 2024 conference. Please check back in early spring for participation information.