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Idaho Indian Summit Underway in Boise This Week

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School may be out for the summer but that doesn’t mean innovation in education has slowed down. A prime example: the annual Idaho Indian Education Summit, running today (Wednesday) and Thursday, June 11, attracting educators, students, and officials from private and public sectors from every corner of the Gem State. The summit, which rotates among various Idaho cities each summer, is sponsored by the Idaho State Department of Education's Office of Indian Education. The summit is designed to “invite Indian culture into the classroom,” said Dr. Margaret Kovach, professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), one of many summit presenters.

“The goal is to revamp it," said Idaho State Department of Education spokeswoman Beth Spinner, adding that while the summit is designed for state educators, the event is open to the public. “We really tried to tailor it to meet the needs of everybody.”

The two-day conference, with a theme of "Equity in Education," includes more than 20 sessions, including topics as varied as “Cultural Value Differences” to “ Apache Bee Math” (a unique application of merging native American culture and arithmetic. 

Kovach said her lecture, titled "From Where We Stand: The You, Me and We of Indigenous Knowledge in Higher Education," and will focus on the relationship between individual identity and fostering a positive Indigenous presence in post-secondary education. Kovach has published extensive research and authored the award-winning book, Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. She said her research's major goal was to identify “what kind of work we have to do as educators,” adding that she was a proponent of the notion that, “No Indigenous child should leave their culture at the door whenever entering a classroom.

The summit continues through Wednesday and begins a second day of presentations and lectures early Thursday, June 11 at Boise's Red Lion Downtown Hotel.


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