News Release

National Indian Education Association

On Friday, April 23, 2021 Governor Doug Burgum signed the flagship education act, North Dakota Senate Bill 2304, into law requiring all elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools in the state to include curriculum on Native American history that will become effective on August 1, 2021.

Passed by the 67th Legislative Assembly of the State of North Dakota in a 76-16 vote on April 19, 2021, the Bill sets a new precedent in the state of North Dakota and serves as an example of tribal-state partnerships in advancing Native education for all. The Bill includes an active timeline for implementation of the new curriculum integration with the high school requirement for graduation becoming effective in 2025.

MHA Nation and Mr. L. Kenneth Hall, President of Kingdom Business, a 501 (c)3, in partnership with Ms. Diana Cournoyer, Executive Director of National Indian Education Association (NIEA), have taken the lead role to coordinate the immediate next steps following the Bill passage and are gathering leaders, educators, administrators, elders and veterans to begin framing the work for curriculum writing.

A “Working Session” on SB 2304 has been set for May 4-5, 2021 at the North Dakota Heritage Center to be facilitated by Dr. Clayton Small. A celebration dinner will take place at 6:00 pm on May 4, with Special Guest Speaker NIEA Executive Director Diana Cournoyer in the Heritage Center Atrium with five Tribal Chairman and Governor Burgum and guests attending.

The Working Session will be the critical laying of a framework, timeline, and coordination for the work required to support the full implementation of SB 2304.

Looking to tribal communities to drive the curriculum and conversation, the working group leads have partnered with Dr. Jeffrey Stamp of Bold Thinking and created a space for capturing ideas or sharing content with the group at any time in an online landing page: Anyone interested is invited to visit and upload relevant resources at: https://www.boldthinking.com/sb2304

Representatives and Leaders from the five Federally Recognized Tribes, and these Organizations, are attending the two-day event: MHA Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Nation, Sisseton Wahpehton Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, State Legislative Leaders, United Tribes Technical College, University of Mary, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, North Dakota United, North Dakota School Boards Association. ND Council of Education Leaders, Educators, Teachers, Native American Students. Sponsors of the event include MHA Nation, National Indian Education Association, and N.D. United and Kingdom Business.

A celebratory reception will be held in the Northern Lights Atrium with special guests and participants. UTTC Color Guard and the Mandaree Singers will greet the group at the dinner.

National Indian Education Association, NIEA - logo