Press Release: National Congress of American Indians releases new report featuring a landscape analysis on the availability of education about Native Americans in K-12 schools

Published on Oct 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released a new report today summarizing the landscape of current efforts by states to bring high-quality educational content about Native peoples and communities into all kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) classrooms across the United States. The report was completed in partnership with IllumiNative, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the National Education Association (NEA), and Wend Collective.

The report, Becoming Visible: A Landscape Analysis of State Efforts to Provide Native American Education for All is being released today in conjunction with NIEA’s Annual Convention and Tradeshow in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“NCAI works to advance the inherent sovereign rights of tribal nations and we know that tribal leaders and advocates must spend a huge amount of time educating policymakers and their staff about the sovereign rights of tribal nations and issues Native Americans face,” said Kevin Allis, Chief Executive Officer, National Congress of American Indians. “Our landscape analysis report provides information and tools to help address the lack of quality and accurate education in the K-12 system about Native Americans.”

The purpose of the Becoming Visible report was to determine the extent to which states require or provide support for Native American K-12 curricula for all public school students and to review the policies, laws, and practices that states currently use to authorize, provide, or improve the delivery of their Native American K-12 curriculum. The report includes the following results:
  • Almost 90 percent of states surveyed said they have current efforts underway to improve the quality of and access to Native American curriculum; and
  • A majority of the states surveyed indicated that Native American education is included in their content standards, but far fewer states require Native American education curriculum to be taught in public schools;
“Reclaiming Native Truth found that the K-12 education system in its current form largely serves to perpetuate and institutionalize invisibility, stereotypes, and misinformation about Native peoples today that fuels misinformation and bias. This landscape analysis shows there is momentum across the majority of the country to improve the quality and access to Native American curricula,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, Executive Director of IllumiNative. “This is consistent with findings that 72% of Americans support significant changes to K-12 education to ensure accurate Native history is taught in schools.”

The Becoming Visible report is intended to inform key stakeholders about the current state of Native American education for all students in K-12 schools and provides recommendations for catalyzing the implementation of meaningful Native American education policies, curricula, and professional development.

“We thank NCAI for conducting this landscape analysis because the findings reveal that efforts are happening around the country to bring high quality educational content about Native Americans into all K-12 classrooms in the United States, yet much more work needs to be done,” said Jodi Archambault, Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives, Wend Collective. “We hope that tribal nations and education advocates will take these findings and tools and work in their state towards Native American education for all K-12 students.”

NCAI's release of this report comes on the same day that the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is announcing its launch of Understand Native Minnesota, a $5 million, three-year strategic initiative and philanthropic campaign to improve the Native American narrative in Minnesota schools.

“This new research validates what Native leaders in Minnesota have increasingly come to realize – that our state needs to work harder to provide students and educators with modern, comprehensive education about Native Americans,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Secretary/Treasurer Rebecca Crooks-Stratton. “This is a priority for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and we are proud to be launching our own new strategic initiative and philanthropic campaign dedicated to improving the Native American narrative in Minnesota schools.”

In order to raise awareness about the findings and galvanize action to advance Native American education for all K-12 students, the report includes a tool kit of resources for those working to advance state support and implementation of Native American education curricula. In addition, special breakout sessions will be held today at NIEA’s Annual Convention and at the 2019 NCAI Annual Convention and Marketplace in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. These sessions will provide information for tribal leaders, Native education specialists, and other stakeholders to coordinate and effectively advocate for Native American education for all K-12 students in their respected states.

You can view the report and other research and data resources from NCAI’s Policy Research Center at Please direct any questions to NCAI Press at
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promotes strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promotes a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people, and rights. For more information, visit
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