Tribal Education Priorities

These priorities are the result of interviews with 18 of the 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State during 2019. Additional care should be taken to continue these conversations and prioritize legislation, policy, research through formal tribal consultation, planning, etc. Furthermore, the Tribal Leaders Congress would like to express our deepest gratitude to all who contributed to this process.

Expand resources for tribal curriculum and education professional development.

Assist tribes in seeking funding to cover costs incurred when working with school districts to implement SB 5433 including costs of technical assistance for curriculum development and teacher training.

Streamline and/or improve process for tribes to certify educators and administrators.

Prepare the next generation of Native policy leaders through internships, research fellowships, and other career development opportunities.

Support implementation of social emotional learning standards that further the healing of Indian Tribes and Nations.

Improve methods of data collection and evaluation related to tracking Native students’ educational opportunities and outcomes.

Eliminate discriminatory policies and practices that lead to misidentification of Native students including improper use of 506 forms.

Remove barriers for Indian Tribes and Nations to track progress and outcomes for tribal students.

Develop more appropriate methods of assessment of Native students, especially students with special education needs.

Ensure data is disaggregated in a way that does not contribute to the misidentification of Native students & evaluate impacts of current n-Count settings, etc. on district and statewide reporting of Native student data.

Continue to develop culturally responsive educational opportunities for Native students.

Create a culture of timely and meaningful tribal consultation to identify and address gaps in educational opportunities for Native students.

  • Increase technical assistance for tribes and school districts to successfully navigate tribal consultation and MOU development.
  • Advocate for restructuring the Office of Native Education to oversee consultations with all 29 federally recognized tribes in WA State.

Bridge critical transitions in education and lifelong learning emphasizing the importance of the earliest stages of development from 0-3 years old and incorporating appropriate mental health/social emotional healing at all stages of development.

Increase access to high-speed Internet and education-based technologies in tribal communities.

Provide a forum for Indian Tribes and Nations to share promising practices, and additional resources for creating culturally responsive educational opportunities for tribal members.

Form an ESD for STECs to provide services including:

  • Increase access to resources and supports available to schools in WA State.
  • Research feasibility and funding to support long-term development and sustainability for new and existing STECS.
  • Ensure students from STECs are meeting/exceeding graduation and postsecondary admission requirements.


Tribal Leaders Congress Planning Team

Leonard Forsman, Chairman, Suquamish Tribe

Bernie Thomas, Education Director, Lummi Nation

Sally Brownfield, Education Liaison to Council, Squaxin Island Tribe

Joe Davalos, Superintendent of Education, Suquamish Tribe

Planning Funding 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Participating Tribes

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

Kalispel Tribe of Indians

Lower Elwha Klallam

Lummi Nation

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Nisqually Indian Tribe

Port Gamble S’klallam Tribe

Quileute Nation

Quinault Indian Nation

Shoalwater Bay Tribe

Skokomish Indian Tribe

Snoqualmie Tribe

Spokane Tribe of Indians

Squaxin Island Tribe

Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians

Suquamish Tribe

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!