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Tribal Sovereignty: Why it Matters for Teaching and Learning about Native Americans
Native Knowledge 360° is the National Museum of the American Indian’s initiative to transform teaching and learning about Native Americans. This free, two-part webinar series is for education professionals looking for a content-rich professional development experience that provides foundational knowledge about tribal sovereignty in the United States. Participants will learn about different aspects of sovereignty, including non-political components such as cultural autonomy. Participants will then hear from museum education staff about ways to teach tribal sovereignty to their students.

Participants are strongly encouraged to register early and attend both sessions! Attendance is limited to 1000 and available on a first come first served basis.

Webinar 1: Wednesday, July 20
Defining Tribal Sovereignty
Learn why defining tribal sovereignty in the United States requires a consideration of both cultural autonomy and tribal self-governance. Hear from a museum scholar and education staff on the complicated nature of tribal sovereignty and why that nuance matters. Finally, learn about the history of treaty making in the United States to see how tribal sovereignty has changed over time.

Webinar 2: Thursday, July 21
Applying Tribal Sovereignty to the Classroom
Participants will gain awareness about current local-level actions by Native communities to affirm and exercise cultural autonomy. Then, museum education staff will show different NK360° classroom resources that participants can use to teach about both cultural autonomy and tribal self-governance.
You can choose to attend one or more of the following webinars.

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Cynthia Chavez Lamar
Director @National Museum of the American Indian
Cynthia Chavez Lamar is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She is the first Native woman to head a Smithsonian museum. Chavez Lamar is an accomplished curator, author and scholar whose research interests are focused on Southwest Native art and the methodologies and practices involved in collaborating with Indigenous communities. She is an enrolled member at San Felipe Pueblo, and her ancestry also includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo on the maternal side of her family.
Mark Hirsch
Historian @National Museum of the American Indian
Mark Hirsch is a historian at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), where he has worked since 2001. He has done research for numerous NMAI exhibitions, including most recently Native New York (opening at the George Gustave Heye Center, in New York, in 2021) and Nation-to-Nation: Treaties Between the U.S. and Indian Nations. He is the co-author (with Alexandra Harris) of Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2020), and the author of “Race and Sovereignty in the Cherokee Nation,” an essay that was published in Indivisible: African-American/Native Lives in the Americas, Gabrielle Tayac, ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of the American Indian, 2009). Mark received his Ph.D. in American history from Harvard University in 1984.
Renée Gokey
Teacher Services Coordinator @National Museum of the American Indian
Renée Gokey (Citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma) is the Teacher Services Coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. She develops creative classroom resources and has created new professional development formats for teachers and collaborations with organizations to amplify access of quality resources and teaching strategies through the Native Knowledge 360° National Education Initiative. Through her position at NMAI and in her work with her own tribal nation, Renée Gokey has worked in social justice and education issues for Native peoples and in promoting tribal knowledge systems and cultural practices.
Colleen Call Smith
Museum Program Specialist @National Museum of the American Indian
Colleen Call Smith serves as an Education Specialist in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Office of Education. She earned her master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Kentucky and taught middle and high school social studies in Kentucky, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. She joined the National Museum of the American Indian in 2015 as a writer for the Native Knowledge 360° initiative. In developing materials for the museum, she works closely with Native scholars, writers, educators, and cultural experts to ensure that Native voice and perspectives are at the forefront of NK360° resources.
Ashley Minner
Assistant Curator, History and Culture @National Museum of the American Indian
is a community based visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland and an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She earned her MFA in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art and her PhD in American Studies from University of Maryland College Park. In addition to maintaining her artistic practice, Ashley works as an Assistant Curator for History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Johanna Gorelick
Supervisory Museum Program Specialist @National Museum of the American Indian
Johanna Gorelick joined the Museum of the American Indian (now the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian) in 1989. She currently serves as the Manager of the Education department. She received her BA in Art History from Vassar College and her PhD. in Anthropology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.