Southeastern News

Southeastern presents program at National Indian Education conference

Dr. Alistair Maeer, left, makes a point during his presentation at the conference.

Dr. Alistair Maeer, left, makes a point during his presentation at the conference.

DURANT, Okla. – Four representatives from Southeastern Oklahoma State University attended the 46th annual National Indian Education Association (NIEA) conference Oct. 14-17 in Portland, Oregon.

The trip was sponsored by the Native American Institute at Southeastern.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Building Education Nations through Traditional Foundations.”  In keeping with this theme, Southeastern’s  group submitted a workshop proposal and presented, “Teaching Space, Place, & Identity: Mapping and Counter-mapping Native America’’ — a workshop based on curriculum, instruction, and effective teaching methods.

Presenters included: Brooke Glory (senior History student and Chickasaw Tribal Member), Dr. Alistair Maeer (Associate Professor of History), Sharon Morrison (Director of the Henry Bennett Memorial Library), and Chris Wesberry (Executive Director of the Native American Institute).

The purpose of presenting the workshop to fellow Native American educators was to demonstrate how collaboration among three distinct areas on a university campus can positively impact Native American students.

The workshop highlighted the trans-disciplinary and collaborative approaches that the Institute takes in teaching and assisting native students and developing courses with faculty and staff input.  Specifically, the workshop was the product of a course – “Geography of the Homelands’’ — and its evolution between the Native American Institute, the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library, and the Native Studies Minor.  The course requires students to confront the past as a means to understand the present by investigating Native American’s relations to space and place until the modern era.

Wesberry began the presentation by describing Southeastern’s location, demographics and student population (30% Native American), and why a collaborative effort was developed to facilitate effective teaching of topics related to Native American students.

Morrison followed by elaborating on the Library’s role in this collaboration.  She discussed efforts to facilitate the partnership by identifying resources such as primary documents (including maps) for student access and describing the creation of library guides (libguides) for Native Studies courses.

Maeer then discussed the foundation of the course and spoke about his experience teaching a class that consisted of a majority of Native American students. He elaborated on how this unique environment required him to make adjustments as needed in delivery and assignments, while maintaining a focus on the exploration of mapping and counter-mapping as it relates to Indian removal. In doing so, he presented a brief tutorial on how to deconstruct maps as cultural artifacts and defined the perimeters that students used to complete the course with their own map deconstruction on Native American experiences in the U.S .

Glory concluded the workshop presentation by describing how this collaborative effort impacted what she learned and more importantly how she learned. She expounded on the amount of student support that she encountered while taking the class and explained how this enriched her experience as a student in the Native American studies minor program.

As part of the Connect2Complete grant, the group participated in the conference for professional and cultural development.  Members of the group attended in hopes of sharing the successful practices that Southeastern has developed in regard to Indian Education.

More than 1,800 Native American students and educators attended the conference.

The NIEA provides professional development opportunities to attendees who work in various fields of Indian Education and regularly works with the U.S. Department of Education and Indian Affairs to ensure the best practices. These fields include K-12 public and tribal schools, tribal colleges and universities, as well as public and private colleges and universities.