Supporting American Indian and Alaska Native Students
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Microcredential ID : 2627
Educational Equity
0.5 USBE Credit


This microcredential represents educators' use of supportive practices for American Indian and Alaska Native students by operating from an evolving understanding of AI/AN students’ circumstances, considering culturally aware practices for supporting students, and ensuring AI/AN students are acknowledged and reflected in classrooms, policies, and initiatives.

No standards provided.
How To Earn This Microcredential

To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items to demonstrate your use of supportive practices for American Indian and Alaska Native students. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Earn This Microcredential button for more information.

A fee of $20.00 will be assessed once the microcredential is submitted for review.

We acknowledge there is immense diversity within the “American Indian” and “Alaska Native” population, and this microcredential is not meant to achieve a blanket understanding of the population, but instead, considerations for modeling culturally sensitive approaches. Though much of this guidance is carefully pulled from AI/AN-authored resources, it is not meant to replace localized outreach and guidance from Native communities.

To promote inclusive and equitable pedagogical practices, this badge's requirements extend beyond mere cultural exposure to emphasize understanding of the AI/AN community through historical and systemic contexts.

Important Terms

Authority over one’s people and territory. Sovereignty gives tribes the right to be self-governed. Though this sovereignty existed prior to European arrival, tribal sovereignty has been reaffirmed in the treaties, Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court Rulings, and U.S. Congressional Legislation.

Generational Grief:

Cumulative grief across lifespans and generations based on shared group historical trauma (see work by Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart; USBE Trauma Informed Professional Learning Modules and “Trauma Informed Care” under Resources).


The relational position and value one has within varying contexts (e.g., social, political, historical, economical, etc.). Positionality helps account for the limits of one’s own subjectivity.


The equitable distribution of resources based upon each individual student’s needs. Equitable resources include funding, programs, policies, initiatives and supports that target each student’s unique background and school context to guarantee that all students have access to a high-quality education.

Culturally Responsive Teaching:

A pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994).

Systems of Oppression:

Systems of oppressions help us to identify inequity by calling attention to historical and organized patterns of mistreatment. Systems of oppression examples include sexism, racism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and anti-Semitism. Our institutions such as government, education, and culture all contribute or reinforce the oppression of marginalized groups while elevating dominant groups.

Background Scenario / How This Will Help You

Case 1: A fifth grade teacher wants students to understand the concept of sovereignty and how the government-to-government relationship between the state and tribal nations operate. Students begin by watching an AI-authored video on the formation of American Indian tribes’ political relationship with the U.S. government. The teacher then develops a list of key vocabulary as a form of discussion and assessment of students’ understanding of sovereignty and associated cluster of terms from the video. For their activity, students are split into groups and given media reports on a recent issue concerning Utah’s AI community. The teacher asks the groups to explain the tribal issue(s) to the class and practice the new vocabulary by discussing the process of how the Utah state government and tribal governments addressed the issue.

Case 2: A K-12 teacher wants to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing in order to open more pathways for students’ inquiry and reflect some of her AI/AN students’ worldviews. The teacher does research on First Nations curriculum and consults with a counselor from a local tribe for guidance. Based on this guidance, the teacher incorporates circle sharing into her lessons to promote AI/AN values of interdependence, community, and oral storytelling as legitimate forms of knowledge-making.

Case 3: After learning about the concept of generational grief specific to the AI/AN student population, an educator decides to lead a workshop to train district staff on ways to address dysregulated student behaviors from a trauma-informed lens. His three-part workshop first discusses the high rates of adverse childhood experiences among AI/AN youth and the collective impacts that historical trauma and generational grief has had on their community. After describing the negative effects of generational grief on AI/AN students’ learning behaviors and outcomes, he guides staff in recognizing symptoms of trauma within educational settings. The workshop ends by providing evidence-based strategies for supporting AI/AN students in the classroom, and for building a larger network of support by extending mental health resources that specialize in culturally informed ways of healing.

Evidence Options
Be sure to submit the type and number of pieces of evidence specified below.
Category: Preparation and Planning

Select ONE of the evidence options below to demonstrate your preparation and planning to support American Indian and Alaskan Native learners.

Lesson Plan:

Submit a lesson plan that teaches about the five (5) significant American Indian Federal Legislations that have impacted all the Native Tribes and how this change affected their perception of belief and value of their culture. This should be a lesson plan that you have implemented in your instruction.

Unit Plan:

Submit your plans for at least two professional learning sessions educating on tribal issues and educational partnerships. These sessions must be content-specific, reflecting takeaways from personal engagement and consultation with guiding members of AI/AN communities. Be sure to include (1) a description of your consultation experience, (2) how those takeaways were translated into the unit plan, and (3) how the learning experience was received and resulted in shared outcomes. This should be a unit plan that you have implemented in supporting educators.

Category: Implementation

Select ONE of the evidence options below to demonstrate your implementation of support for American Indian and Alaskan Native learners.


Submit a video of yourself teaching a lesson that (1) teaches content related to AI/AN history, and (2) exhibits culturally aware practices that demonstrate either yours or the learner’s acknowledgement of cultural forms of knowledge-making. Videos should follow all LEA and FERPA guidelines.

Student Work:

Submit three examples of student work that demonstrate understanding of sovereignty, social structure, tribal issues, and/or generational grief. These may be drawn, photocopied, photographed or video recorded. Examples should demonstrate learner’s developing awareness and reflection of forms of advocacy for tribal issues.

Survey Results:

Submit pre- and post-survey results demonstrating a positive shift in AI/AN knowledge from a learning session you taught. Include both the survey items and results.

Observation Results:

Submit observation results of a learning session you lead on AI/AN history and current issues. The observation should comment on the use of materials (slides, boards, markers, etc.), research and feedback from tribal communities, and interactive discussion to demonstrate your nuanced understanding of AI/AN loss of culture and lifestyle and ability to strategically transfer this understanding through scaffolded activities.

Category: Supplemental

Select ONE of these evidence options instead of a Preparation and Planning evidence to demonstrate your support for American Indian and Alaskan Native learners.

Survey Results:

Submit pre- and post-survey results demonstrating a positive shift in AI/AN knowledge from a learning session you taught. Be sure to include both survey items and data.


Submit a testimonial from one of the participants in your learning session. The participant should describe how their orientation and understanding of AI/AN students’ circumstances and needs have changed as a result of the learning session, followed by how they intend to implement this understanding in future practice or advocacy work.

Web Site:

Submit a link to a publicly accessible website you created which includes a library of AI/AN educational materials for continued professional growth and background information for further study. Submit a link to a publicly accessible website you created which includes a library of AI/AN educational materials and contextual information for further study.


Submit a screencast of a multimedia presentation demonstrating research and professional knowledge of one of the five (5) significant events that impacted the American Indian. Be sure the screencast includes audio narration aligned with visual cues.

Candidate's Choice:

Provide any other form of evidence you feel demonstrates a developing awareness of AI/AN students’ circumstances, and implementation of culturally aware practices and/or AI/AN inclusion in classrooms, policies, and initiatives (e.g. completion of an AI/AN certificate, followed by a reflection of learning and practice).


Attend or host a culturally relevant event with your students. Write a 1-2 page reflection or submit a 3-5 minute reflective video about the event. Discuss why this event was culturally relevant for your students, what you and your students experienced during the event and how it showed an awareness of AI/AN students’ circumstances, and describe your future plans to implement what you learned.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates that the educator acknowledges AI/AN communities as authoritative sources for AI/AN population issues and needs, and uses this input to inform lessons, advocacy work, policies, or initiatives.

Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates that the educator provides critical historical context when presenting AI/AN concepts and issues.

Criterion 3: Evidence demonstrates that the educator is familiar with culturally aware instructional practices that support AI/AN learners.

Reflection Prompts

Describe how your work positively affects learners. Provide specific examples from your submitted form(s) of evidence.

Reflect on the successes and challenges of your experience. Which practices would you like to do more of, to modify, or to pursue further inquiry about? How have these conclusions or resulting questions impacted your pedagogical practices?

Considering your positionality, describe the process of shifting from expert to facilitator or advocate for native needs and issues? How might you continue to stay attentive and build ongoing communicative relationships with native communities?

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: The reflective analysis indicates an understanding of the differences between traditional methods of instruction and culturally diverse forms of instruction, knowledge-making, and assessment.

Criterion 2: The reflective analysis demonstrates understanding and importance of AI/AN concepts such as sovereignty, social structure, learning styles, and generational grief, and how this understanding transferred into successful learning outcomes.

Criterion 3: The reflective analysis focuses on future action. It indicates the educator critically examines best practices and uses that to inform necessary changes for future sessions.

Title VI: American Indian Education Website

USBE’s Title VI website provides resources for teaching, scholarships, programs, and relevant contacts as it relates to public education goals for American Indian/Alaska Natives in Utah.

American Indian Heritage Resources Website

UEN’s website provides educational resources on American Indian history and heritage. The site comes equipped with lesson plans, information on Utah tribes, and links to AI history and heritage for teachers to incorporate into their classrooms.

Thai-Huy Nguyen, Rose Ann E. Gutierrez, and Patrisha Kahnekakʌ:lé: Aregano. “Drawing Inspiration From American Indian Student Success Frameworks: The Role of Family.” New Directions for Student Services, no. 167, 2019, pp. 63-74. doi:10.1002/ss.20321

The article presents three frameworks intrinsic to American Indian students’ values. Though intended for higher education settings, it provides practical applications for incorporating these frameworks into any institution and classroom that serves AI students.

Utah Division of Indian Affairs

This website offers detailed events, resources, and contact information for Utah’s tribal communities.

Sandy Grande. Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought.

The seminal book centers Native educational issues within broader pedagogical discourse. Grande provides a historical overview of American Indian education in the United States, reframes democracy from an indigenous perspective, and concludes by offering the concept of red pedagogy to incorporate Native and marginalized perspectives and educational needs.

Kathleen E. Absolon (Minogiizhigokwe). Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know.

Though American Indian knowledge systems and structures are diverse and localized, Absolon provides a broad and accessible overview of how Indigenous worldviews influence learning and the search for knowledge.

Gary R. Howard. We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools (Multicultural Education Series).

Best-selling book on how to embrace culturally responsive teaching.

San Juan School District. Heritage Language Resource Center.

Collection of teaching and language resources, visitation information for the Reading and Resource room, as well as a list of upcoming events.

USBE Trauma-Informed Professional Learning Modules

The Utah State Board of Education’s Trauma-Informed Learning Modules are available through Canvas and are designed to help participants develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become trauma-informed and trauma-aware.

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

The NCAI “serve[s] as a forum for unified policy development among tribal governments in order to: (1) protect and advance tribal governance and treaty rights; (2) promote the economic development and health and welfare in Indian and Alaska Native communities; and (3) educate the public toward a better understanding of Indian and Alaska Native tribes.” The site also includes resources for Native Youth.

Forest S. Cuch. A History of Utah’s American Indians.

This book provides introduction to the rich heritage of Utah’s native peoples from the American Indian perspective. Chapters cover the history of Utah’s first residents, belief systems, lifestyles, and current issues.

Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

This book explores how indigenous wisdom and knowledge-making processes can enrich western approaches to science.

Y.W. Dennis, A. Hirschfelder, and S.R. Flynn. Native American Almanac: More than 50,000 Years of the Cultures and Histories of Indigenous Peoples.

Organized by ten regional chapters, this book traces the heritage and history of Tribal Nations and peoples through a mix of biography, stories, history, and current issues.

National Indian Education Association (NIEA)

The NIEA “advances comprehensive, culture-based educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.” The site provides resources, information about events, and programming to improve educational opportunities and promote national discourse around AI/AN educational needs.

Association of American Indian Affairs

As the longest serving non-profit in Indian country, the Association’s site provides information about their annual conference, “Red Hoop Talk” which is live-streaming commentary from Native speakers, and resources for Native Studies.

National Indian Child Welfare Association

Considered the most comprehensive source of information on AI/AN child welfare, this site provides information and resources to “support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children.”

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

This site provides information and resources from the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

First Nations Development Institute

This site has pages for grantseekers, supporters, and communities to help support economic development of American Indian communities, invest in Native Youth, strengthen Tribal and community institutions, advance household and community asset-building strategies, and nourish Native foods and health.

Indian Health Services (IHS)

This site provides information on federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives to support the AI/AN communities’ physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

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Kaitlyn Blackham
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Abbie Chambers
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