Annual American Indian education summit returns to University of Nevada |

Annual American Indian education summit returns to University of Nevada

By Fredina Romero by Melissa Melero-Moose | Special to First Nation's Focus

Editor's note:

This story was first published in the inaugural edition of First Nation's Focus in February 2017.

RENO, Nev. — The Nevada Department of Education, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Nevada Indian Commission will host the 10th Annual American Indian/Alaska Native Education Summit on March 20-21 at UNR.

This year’s theme, “From Accountability to Native Innovation: Celebrating a decade of work, and venturing toward a bright future,” not only acknowledges the work and growth that has occurred in the past 10 years, but also looks ahead to opportunities that provide change and expansion of new and established AI/AN student achievement and programs.

One particular focus will be on the Every Student Succeeds Act and how it provides a unique opportunity for states, districts, and tribes to work together to strengthen the education for AI/AN students.

The Summit will feature well-known keynote speakers from tribal communities, as well as professional educators that work with American Indian students who will share resources and strategies.

Invited guest keynote speakers are Christian Parrish Takes the Gun, also known as Supaman, and D.J. Vanas.



An Apsáalooke rapper from Seattle who had a troubled childhood, Supaman began his career as a DJ in the 1990s.

According to an interview with NPR, Supaman was close to signing with a Seattle record label when he had a religious experience that led him to return to the reservation and begin writing Christian-oriented hip-hop.

Supaman takes his passion on the road and shares his story, along with Native American history and culture, with students around the country.


D.J. Vanas

D.J. is a tribally enrolled member of the Odawa Nation of Michigan, a former military officer and author.

His expertise is in leadership and personal development and he has delivered over 7,000 programs to clients such as Intel, P&G, Indian Health Service, Costco, Subaru, U.S. Department of Education, Mayo Clinic, National GEAR UP, Boston Children’s Hospital, NASA and almost 500 tribal nations in their businesses, governments, communities and schools. He’s also been twice invited to speak at The White House.

He’s primarily a keynoter and workshop presenter and his focus is inspiring the use of traditional warrior spirit principles with people and organizations to stay resilient, fiercely solution-oriented, create clarity from chaos and get better results as leaders and service providers.

He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.S. from University of Southern California and has served on the Board of Directors on the National Board of Certified Counselors.  He’s also the author of “The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement” (which is printed in six countries) and his newest book and first novel, “Spirit on the Run.”

This year will feature a youth track, in collaboration with UNR’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and the Washoe County School District.

American Indian youth are encouraged to attend the youth summit to take advantage of activities focused on leadership development, self-advocacy, academic skills enhancement, self-empowerment, strengthening traditional knowledge, health and wellness, and college and career readiness.

The 10th Annual American Indian/Alaska Native Education Summit that will provide educators an array of resources that can be used to increase student achievement for AI students.

For registration information, contact Fredina Drye-Romero at the Nevada Department of Education,


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