Earlier this week, Bruce and I had the honor of attending day 1 of a 3-day summer institute for area educators and UW-Madison undergraduates designed “to engage educators in ecological restoration and water stewardship rooted in Indigenous knowledge”. We convened at Edgewood College on a beautiful summer day, where Janice Rice, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, kicked off the institute with an inspirational Morning Thought. We then spent time exploring plants native to the surrounding area, observing them carefully, naming them based on their unique properties, and learning how indigenous communities utilize their medicinal properties. Ultimately, institute attendees will explore ways they can apply these new learnings to their own classrooms.
The summer institute launched a new partnership between the Indigenous Arts and Science initiative and AIW, a partnership made possible by a $75,000 grant awarded through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Grand Challenges Initiative. This year, IAS is expanding its reach into urban communities, and AIW coaches will support teachers' development of rigorous, authentic lessons that address Wisconsin's American Indian Studies/Act 31 requirements. Bruce and I are thrilled to support this important project and the participating teachers, and we are excited to see how it will evolve.