Tribal consultation creates the conditions for thriving communities — but how do agencies create resources that support meaningful consultation?
The Office of Indian Education (OIE) at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) launched ODE’s revised toolkit for Tribal consultation on November 1, 2023.
Understanding the ESSA Law and How to Support Educational Sovereignty: A Toolkit for Tribal Consultation is designed to support local education agencies and Tribes as they engage in consultation.
The toolkit, initially published in 2019, was revised by OIE Assistant Superintendent April Campbell, Indian Education Coordinator Brent Spencer, and Education Program Specialist II Stacy Parrish, with support from Region 16 Comprehensive Center’s Oregon project team.
Through our collaboration, we’ve compiled three recommendations for developing Tribal consultation materials for education agencies:
Lead with Native Voices
Incorporate resources that help education agencies get to know the Nations that they serve in their own words. Include stories and insights from Indigenous scholars, Native education leaders, and Tribes.
What did we do?
- Started the first section of the toolkit with links to websites and resources developed by Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes
- Included a story of successful consultation told from a Tribal representative’s point of view
- Co-wrote content with Indigenous scholars and Native education consultants
See this recommendation in action in Section 1: Tribal Consultation Overview.
Center Educational Sovereignty
Educational sovereignty means that Nations have “the right and responsibility to educate their Indian children in [a] manner that supports their cultural and traditional belief systems” (Bureau of Indian Education, n.d.). Share how educational sovereignty informs current education policy on Tribal consultation, including Section 1111 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
What did we do?
- Retitled the toolkit to include “educational sovereignty”
- Reproduced definitions and analysis from the Native Education Collaborative, a project of the National Comprehensive Center
See this recommendation in action in Section 2: Federal and State Laws Relating to Tribal Consultation.
Build Shared Understanding
Clearly establish the rights and responsibilities of both education agencies and Tribes in consultation. Develop resources that help all representatives come to consensus on a plan to monitor data, goals, and outcomes.
What did we do?
- Defined the legal and ethical responsibilities of local education agencies in Oregon
- Shared suggested questions for Tribes, developed from the priorities of the American Indian/Alaska Native Advisory Committee at ODE
- Established clear processes that local education agencies can follow every time they engage in consultation
See this recommendation in Section 3: Responsibilities of Local Education Agencies.
Are you working on a resource for educational agencies in your state or region? Consider:
- Beginning resource development from a wise practices approach that “incorporate[s] local knowledge, culture, language, and values” (Warne, 2023)
- Communicating with Tribes or Nations named in your document to verify term, language, and style preferences
- Collaborating or contracting with Tribally owned consulting, education, or design firms
Bureau of Indian Education. (n.d.). Tribally controlled schools. bie.edu/topic-page/tribally-controlled-schools
Warne, D. (2023). Walking through truth: Indigenous wisdom and community health equity. Stanford Social Innovation Review. doi.org/10.48558/V0R9-6492a
The publication of Understanding the ESSA Law and How to Support Educational Sovereignty: A Toolkit for Tribal Consultation was a key milestone in our 2022–23 Oregon State Service Plan. Learn more about how we’re supporting the Office of Indian Education at r16cc.org/projects.