By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education

PULLMAN, Wash. – A 2008 report shows that K-12 Native American students perform better when they have native teachers, yet Native Americans are only one percent of Washington’s teachers. To provide more, Washington State University will host the Future Native Teachers Initiative (FNTI) March 5-7.

The event will provide Native American students with a series of activities to help them consider teaching as a career, partly in response to the 2008 Native Achievement Report, “From Where the Sun Rises.”

“I think representation is a really important factor,” said renée holt, co-director of WSU’s Clearinghouse on Native Teaching and Learning in the College of Education.

The keynote speaker will be Iris PrettyPaint from the Blackfeet Tribe. A former higher education administrator, she is a leading authority on cultural resilience, student retention and indigenous evaluation.

“She has done a great job addressing native healing, along with unresolved grief and trauma,” holt said.

The FNTI is an annual, rotating workshop organized by statewide education and tribal groups who advocate for more culturally and linguistically diverse teachers.