Support for the Establishment of a Native Educator Workforce Development Proposal

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The National Congress of American Indians
Resolution #PHX-16-012

TITLE: Support for the Establishment of a Native Educator Workforce Development Proposal

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, through the unique relationship with Indian nations and tribes, the federal government has established programs and resources to meet the educational needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives residing on and off their reserved or non-reserved homelands; and

WHEREAS, education officials across the nation report educator shortages and enrollment in educator education programs has declined 36% since 2009; and

WHEREAS, Native educators constitute only 0.5% of the educator workforce; and

WHEREAS, educators shortages are even worse in Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools due to low salaries, insufficient resources, lack of incentives, and poor working conditions; and

WHEREAS, these problems are exacerbated due to the need for culturally competent educators; and

WHEREAS, research suggests that Native students taught by Native educators who are grounded in language and culture experience increased student performance; and

WHEREAS, tribal leaders report difficulty certifying and hiring effective Native teaching candidates; and

WHEREAS, the best solution to recruiting and retaining Native educators is the development of a pipeline that includes a streamlined process for qualified candidates to become certified through adequate training and develop a community of mentorship.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians supports the efforts of NIEA to convene other national organizations in requesting the incoming Administration to establish a working group of government officials, tribal leaders, Native educators, and educator advocates within the first 180 days to develop a national Native educator workforce development proposal; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI urges the incoming Administration to develop an implementation plan for the educator tracking proposal, including congressional action, executive measures, and the development of a policy at the Department of Education, Bureau of Indian Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and other federal agencies as necessary on building an educator track for a Native educator community; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.


The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2016 Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, October 9 to October 14, 2016, with a quorum present.