The Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) was established in 1985 by a group of concerned Indian Educators to carry on the efforts of the former Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) Education sub-committee.

The GLITC Education Committee began in the early 1970’s but was disbanded around 1983 because of a lack of funds.

A group of concerned Indian Educators began meeting in 1984 and after a series of meetings during that year, developed By-laws and a mission statement.

The group was formally organized in 1985 as the Wisconsin Indian Education Association.

The Association has seven regions throughout the State. Each region elects/appoints two representatives as WIEA Board members for a two-year term.

Each Region’s Board members are responsible for hosting a meeting in their region throughout the year to share and gather information for the Board to either act upon or disseminate to all other WIEA members.

The Board meets every month except December. Meetings are held in the various regions throughout the state in an effort to get input from the general membership regarding their issues and concerns.

A Message From Our President Mr. Brian Jackson

bjacksonwiea-conferenceBoozhoo (Hello),

Welcome to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association’s website! Here you will find a plethora of information and resources on Native American Indian Education.

First things first – some simple “Indian” (Native American) rules of etiquette: We do not pass judgement. We all experience the ups and downs of life, and the best way to make all of our lives better is through compassion and tolerance. Secondly – the terms “Native American,” “Indian,” “Indigenous,” “Native,” “Tribal” and “American Indian” are most always interchangeable. In today’s progressive world, it’s good to know the most acceptable and respectful way to address each other. Third – all Indians are NOT the same. Each tribe, each community, even each family, may have a unique set of values, traditions and customs that guide their beliefs and systems. Although we do share many great things among our tribal cultures, each tribe (or band) has specific customs and beliefs that shape their collective tribal culture. We have a mixture of tribal affiliations and cultures here in Wisconsin but for the most part, the tribes indigenous to the state are Woodland People.

A common misconception is that all Indians lived in teepees. Not so.  The Sioux (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota) people lived in teepees, which are indicative of the Plains Cultures (the Sioux moved to the plains from the woodlands, where they once lived). These dwellings were conical and made of long tree poles and buffalo hides. For the most part, Woodland People such as the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk and Oneida lived in dome shaped dwellings, of which the frames were constructed of saplings and covered with the wood, bark or fiber of local trees (and some tribes even used animal hides as coverings). As Indian people, we respect and honor each other’s customs and beliefs, and in that, we are bound by more similarities than differences. Fourth – there are 11 federally recognized tribal nations living today in Wisconsin and one nation that is still pursing federal recognition. They are the Ho-Chunk, Ojibwe/Chippewa  (which consist of six separate bands; Red Cliff, Bad River, Sokaogon (Mole Lake), St. Croix, Lac du Flambeau and the Lac Courte Oreilles), Menominee Indian Tribe, Potawatomi (Forest County), Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, Oneida Tribe of Indians and Brothertown Indians. Fifth –  if a Native person offers you something to eat or drink, please kindly accept. This is a long held tradition among American Indians and a great sign of respect when accepted.

Our communities are often the largest employers in the counties in which they are located and provide jobs, critical infrastructure services and resources to both Indian and non-Indian people. One popular belief is that all Indians have casinos and therefore are “rich.” While we are certainly rich in our culture and heritage, our gaming revenues are largely funneled back into our communities to support tribal government and those critical infrastructure services previously mentioned. Our communities often have unmet needs, which create special challenges for our people. As Indian people, we hold dear to our traditional ways while trying to balance the progress of 21st century living.

In today’s world, we as tribal nations believe in providing the best opportunities for our children, young adults, working and single families, professionals and our elders. This includes education and the ability to pursue the “American Dream.” Our mission at WIEA is to advocate for the advancement of our tribal members and descendants through legislation, political avenues and legal approaches with education at the heart of our effort.

I hope you take your time looking around our website and are open to learning about our organization and the people we serve. I guarantee with you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how rich and colorful our culture and people are.

Until we see each other again.

Kindest regards,

Brian Jackson
Wisconsin Indian Education Association

Statement of Support to End the Use of Native American Mascots by Wisconsin School Districts

The Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) supports the recent Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) resolution recommending the elimination of Native American mascots from all Wisconsin schools and calls upon school districts still employing the use of American Indian referents to take action and develop change plans to discontinue their further use.

Since 2005, the American Psychological Association has asserted that the use of Native American mascots is detrimental to all students, regardless of background. Indian mascots interfere with student ability to develop comprehensive understandings related to human diversity by creating, supporting, and maintaining overly simplistic and inaccurate views of Indigenous peoples throughout North America and perpetrating derogatory stereotypes —also causing harm to the social identity development and self-esteem of American Indian students.

For 34 years, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association has advocated on behalf of children and tribal communities through encouraging the implementation of best practices in education that contribute to positive educational outcomes for students of all backgrounds. WIEA encourages district and school administrators across the state to support the WASB resolution, including advocating for the creation of state legislation that provides compensation to assist districts with implementation of changes by defraying associated costs such as changing logos on facilities, uniforms, and other associated items.

Our children are our future. We must be proactive and work to maximize educational development opportunities that foster our children’s growth and development, particularly those efforts that focus on creating and maintaining inclusive learning environments conducive to understanding and respecting differences, both inside and outside of the classroom. The elimination of stereotypes is a key milestone on the path to building a better future for all of our children, and continued education and open dialogue will underscore our success.

It is time that we end the use of Indian mascots in Wisconsin school districts and unite under our shared goals of teaching our children respect, understanding, and love.

Respectfully submitted by the WIEA Board of Directors.

Brian Jackson
Board President,
Wisconsin Indian Education Association

2020 WIEA Legislative Breakfast Announced

The Wisconsin Indian Education Association is pleased to announced the date of the 2020 Legislative Breakfast. The annual event will be held on February 12, 2020, at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel in Madison, WI.

You can register now for the Legislative Breakfast by visiting the registration page. Simply click here to register!

We’ll see you at the Breakfast!

2020 Conference “Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math”

The Wisconsin Indian Education Association has announced the theme and  date for its annual conference. The 2020 Conference titled “Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math”, will take place April 16 – 18, 2020, at the Potawatomi Hotel Casino in Milwaukee, WI.

Conference planning committee chairwoman Brittany LaMere says the committee is working diligently on organizing this year’s conference.

“This year’s conference will focus on how STEAM learning impact our youth and opens pathways to post-secondary education and possible careers in those fields,” said LaMere. “We are pleased to partner with both Potawatomi Hotel Casino and Indian Community School in Milwaukee.”

The Conference will feature daily keynote speakers, conference workshops, Youth Day Track and annual awards banquet. Additionally, there will be a pow-wow on Friday, April 17 hosted by Indian Community School in Milwaukee.

“We’re looking at bringing some dynamic speakers from across Indian Country and will announce names as we solidify our conference schedule,” said LaMere.

Act 31 Celebration: Celebrating 30 Years of Act 31

The Act 31 Celebration, which has come to be an annual event, will take place August 19, 2019, in Lac du Flambeau, WI, at Lake of the Torches Resort Casino Convention Center. This year the Wisconsin Indian Education Association celebrates 30 years of the existence of Act 31. After an ugly period in Wisconsin history in the late 1980s and early 1990s saw Ojibwe men, women and children come under attack by non-Indian protesters for exercising their inherent right to hunt, fish and gather off the reservation, many saw the need for increased accuracy in public education as a way to mend relationships and dispel myths and stereotypes. Much of the protests were fueled by racism and misinformation.

This year’s event will feature interactive activities, speakers and a viewing of Lighting the 7th Fire, a PBS documentary on the Ojibwe Treaty Rights struggle.

Invited guests include WI Gov Tony Evers, Superintendent of WI Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford-Taylor, Senator Lena Taylor, Tribal Leaders and many others! Mark your calendars now!

Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council announces the 2019 Pre-College Camp in Milwaukee

Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, in partnership with multiple groups interested in the health of American Indian people, has designed a student development program to support students who are interested in health care research and occupations. Through this program, students are provided with academic support, career guidance, and opportunities for hands-on learning experiences from middle school through their Bachelor Degree. The camp runs from July 7 – 17, 2018, in Milwaukee at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin. Click the link below for more information and click here for the Camp Flyer!

Click here for more information on the GLITC website.

Click here for the application.