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KU tribal law conference to explore future of Indian education

Friday, March 13, 2015

LAWRENCE – Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn and experts from across the country will discuss the status quo of Indian education and how it might change in the future based on President Obama’s recent commitment to reform during the University of Kansas School of Law’s 19th annual Tribal Law & Government Conference today in Lawrence. 

The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the Burge Union, 1601 Irving Hill Road. The conference is open to the public, but registration is required.

The federal government began rolling out plans last summer to overhaul the Bureau of Indian Education. Through reform efforts, the administration hopes to increase educational and employment opportunities for Native people across the country.

“This is a significant time for Indian education within the United States, as the Obama administration is committed to improving upon the status quo,” said Elizabeth Kronk Warner, associate professor of law and director of KU’s Tribal Law & Government Center. “Given the recent push for reform, this topic is particularly relevant to Indian country and legal communities throughout the United States. Further, given Lawrence’s historic connection to Indian education and Haskell Indian Nations University, it is particularly appropriate that the University of Kansas host a conference on this important topic.”

Washburn will open the conference with a survey of Indian education and the federal government’s role, along with an exploration of proposed reforms. Panel presentations on the history of Indian education at the collegiate and K-12 levels, and a nationwide survey of proposed legal reforms to Indian education will follow. Kronk Warner will close the conference with an examination of the ethical quandaries that typically face tribal lawyers and judges.

Panelists include:

  • Dawn Baum, senior attorney and Indian Education team leader, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Bureau of Indian Education
  • Mandy Smoker Broaddus, director of Indian Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • Venida Chenault, president, Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Jill Eichner, attorney, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Education
  • Melody McCoy, staff attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • William Mendoza, executive director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
  • Connor Warner, instructor for Urban Teacher Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Two-and-a-half hours of CLE credit are approved in Kansas and Missouri. Register and preview the schedule on the conference website.