The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Indian Education and the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) will host a roundtable with Native youth on Friday, July 22, in the Department's library. Youth from the Pathkeepers Indigenous Knowledge Native Youth Culture Camp in Culpeper, Virginia, will meet with Department officials and WHIAIANE staff to discuss the importance of tradition, culture and Native languages. They also will discuss issues related to school environment and how schools can be more culturally sensitive to their needs.
Last October, the Department released the School Environment Listening Sessions Final Report on the first-ever tribal listening tour to hear from schools and communities on ways to better meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of Native American students. The report was a result of the nine school environment listening sessions in seven states. Participants in the listening sessions included Native youth, educators, parents and community advocates. Information from the sessions has been a bright light in guiding WHIAIANE's future work and goals—to address the unique and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students and to ensure that they receive an excellent education.
The Department has awarded more than $5.3 million in grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready. Under the Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) program, the Department has awarded grants that are impacting more than 30 tribes and involve more than 48 schools in nine states. These awards are a demonstration of President Obama's strong commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native children and a key element of his Generation Indigenous "Gen I" Initiative to help Native American youth.