Welcome to a replay of our virtual Urban Education Conference that occurred from May 14-15, 2021. All sessions are listed below. Thank you for viewing and feel free to connect with us! https://chicagoaicc.com/education/

A special thank you to all of our sponsors for without their support, this conference would not have been possible:

Visionary Ventures, Chicago Public Schools American Indian Education Program, Northwestern University: Center for Native American and Indigenous Research; Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, University of Illinois- Chicago Native American Support Program and St. Kateri Center of Chicago.

– Education Subcommittee, Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative

Friday, May 14, 2021

Healing Our Heritage through Birth (1-2pm CST)

Presenter: Robin Ross (Seneca-Cayuga and Chickasaw)

Session Description: Build excitement and understanding of the birthing process through this informative and motivating session. Reclaim your birth right! Have a more positive pregnancy, labor, and post birth experience.


My Family and Heritage is My Strength (1-2pm CST)

Presenter: Maria DesJarlait (Arikara and Ojibwe)

Session Description: My journey through racism, poverty, cultural appropriation, early childhood educator cancer and heart disease. I am overcoming this through the guidance of my elders from the Anawim community and through spiritual healing now.


Using SOAR to Access Social Security Disability Benefits for Children in Native Communities (2:30-3:30pm CST)

Presenters: Abigail Kirkman and Kim Vigue (Menominee/Oneida)

Session Description: SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a specialized, culturally appropriate training and technical assistance initiative designed to increase access to Social Security Disability Benefits for eligible Native adults and children. Children with disabilities and their families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness often struggle to access resources. Approval rates for benefits among children can be very low, however SOAR assisted applications have an average approval rate of 72% in 109 days!


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Conference Keynote Presentation and Q&A (12:00-1:15pm CST)

Presenter: Cheyenne Kippenberger (Seminole)

Cheyenne is a former Miss Florida Seminole, and uniquely the first Seminole woman to hold the prestigious title of Miss Indian World. She is passionate about sustaining Indigenous culture and healing her community. After an intense struggle with her own identity, mental health issues and the continuous battle against the public prejudice of those conditions, she now openly speaks about her experience with radical acceptance, depression, struggling in school, seeking help, and proudly embracing the challenges of her life. Through her platform, she aspires to break down the stigmas of mental health conversations, empower and encourage her people, and share her experiences as a young, mixed, Indigenous woman. As the founder and Co-Chairwoman of the “Healing The Circle In Our Tribal Communities,” a trauma-focused healing symposium, she sought out to create a safe space to discuss the many common traumas present in our Tribal communities. She was also chosen to serve as a Peer Guide for UNITY’s (United National Indian Tribal Youth) Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative program, which supports and enhances Native youth engagement with a focus on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention in Indian Country. Cheyenne strives for authenticity and to live a healthy life physically, mentally, and spiritually through her culture and teachings. She plans to continue her advocacy work in wellness, healing and empowerment for Indian Country and pursue her higher education in communications and public health.


Towards Building Chicago’s American Indian Futures: CAICC Report on Education and COVID-19 Data Plenary Session (1:30-2:30pm CST)

Presenters: Carrie Stallings (Mescalero Apache), Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), Roxanne LaVallie- Unabia (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians)

Join Chicago American Indian Collaborative Community (CAICC) leaders and researcher, Carrie Stallings (Mescalero Apache), as they introduce and discuss CAICC’s recent report on Urban Native Education and COVID-19. Ultimately, CAICC sees this report as one way to disrupt the far too common deficit narratives related to community organizations serving American Indians. In doing so, we hope to paint not only a more remarkably beautiful but also a more accurate portrayal of the ways in which urban American Indian focused organizations, particularly in Chicago, work successfully to nurture its resilient community. The report highlights the importance of data and data-driven decision making for American Indian community organizations. Our own communities are a rich source of information that can inform new, more precise interventions and encourage community collaboration.


Indigenous STEAM: Resources for families, teachers and communities (3-4pm CST)

Presenters: Forrest Bruce (Ojibwe), Nikki McDaid-Morgan (Shoshone-Bannock, Paiute)

Session Description: The Indigenous STEAM Collaborative is a group of researchers and educators that engage in cognitive and community co-design research to advance general knowledge, develop pedagogical approaches for engaging youth in land- and water-based learning, and provide learning materials to Indigenous families. In addition to reviewing the ISTEAM Summer Program we will share family learning materials that can be downloaded for free from our website (https://indigenoussteam.org/learning-activities/). These learning materials are based on ISTEAM activities and were developed in collaboration with community co-designers so that families can facilitate land-based learning at home.


College and Beyond: Chicago Native Students (3-4pm CST)

Presenters: Tol Foster (Mvskoke) and Jacob Adams (Colville) 

Student Panelists: Camille Billie (Oneida Nation), Noemy Sandoval-Skeet (Diné [Navajo]), and Izayotilmahtzin (Izayo) Mazehualli

Session Description: In this workshop, we will have an open panel discussion with undergraduate American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous college students and graduates, where they will discuss their profession pathways. They will share current or previous obstacles/barriers that they experienced and community support resources that have influenced their professional journey. This workshop is for prospective, continuing, and recently graduated students who want to understand better how to best support them through the college to career pathway.


Closing Session/ Networking Reception (4:30-5:30pm CST)

Facilitator: Jennifer Michals