Native American Heritage Month
A note from Superintendent Hoffman
In this role, I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with educators, school leaders, and community members from all corners of the state. Before COVID-19, I had the fortune of visiting many of these communities, making more than 100 school visits in all 15 counties and 8 Tribal Nations. Each visit highlighted something unique about the school communities in our state. And during this year’s Native American Heritage Month, I am particularly reflective of what I’ve learned while working alongside our tribal schools and leaders.
On one of my first trips, I visited Window Rock Unified and Chinle Unified Schools, where they expertly blended Navajo culture within daily activities. Students from a dual-language kindergarten class sang in Diné while school leaders and teachers demonstrated how they mixed culture with academic standards. It was clear that despite any challenges, these schools made their campuses a welcoming center rooted in heritage and culture.
On the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, I was impressed by a group of students who initiated the high school’s traditional music group, using customary Apache songs and instruments. In the kitchen, Career and Technical Education students prepared traditional dishes and drinks using ingredients native to their lands.
And here at the Arizona Department of Education, I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with and learn from indigenous leaders, including our own Serena Denetsosie. From our Office of Indian Education to the Indian Education Advisory Council, our Tribal Nation partners' voices and expertise strengthen our work.
As I continue to reflect on the how and what I learn as our agency elevates native voices, I want to end with a San Carlos Apache High School student’s poem: I am from a place where the cool breeze goes through your hair. I am from a place where the people have a tragic and yet beautiful history. I am from a place where even the tallest mountains have a beautiful story.
On behalf of the first-ever Arizona School Safety Task Force, the Arizona Department of Education released its School Safety Task Force Report, including legislative and administrative recommendations and a Model School Safety Plan. You can find the reports from the School Safety Task Force HERE.
NEW: Office of Indian Education FAQ
Collecting information from a variety of areas of focus, the Office of Indian Education made a COVID-19 FAQ specifically for Tribal Nations. View HERE.
2020 Tribal Health Virtual Town Hall: Standing Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 10:00 AM (MST) – Registration: https://bit.ly/3pCOzzc
Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Inter Tribal Association of Arizona in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona are hosting a virtual, interactive town hall to bring together diverse stakeholders to examine the impact COVID-19 is having on tribal communities in Arizona.
Resources and Updates from OIE Partners and Stakeholders
11 Arizona tribes among broadband license winners
The Federal Communications Commission has granted broadband spectrum licenses, at no cost, to 11 Arizona tribes. These licenses which can be used for high-speed wireless broadband are usually auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Read more on Indian Country Today.