The La Crosse area Hmong and Native American communities have increasingly started to recognize that despite broad differences in their respective histories, they share many similarities in culture and social issues as Indigenous Peoples.
Widening the Circle Indigenous Education Symposium: A Gathering of Traditions: Hmong And Native American Communities Come Together to Teach Critical Education
Widening the Circle Symposium – ACT 31
La Crosse, WI – Nov 8-11th 2012 — The La Crosse area Hmong and Native American communities have increasingly started to recognize that despite broad differences in their respective histories, they share many similarities in culture and social issues as Indigenous Peoples. This is especially striking when confronting educational issues and language and culture revitalization. As such, for the past decade, among many other events, both communities have come together to develop the Widening the Circle Indigenous Education Symposium on November 8th through 11th in La Crosse WI. The Symposium follows traditional Hmong and Native American values in bringing people together to build relationships and learn from each other. While the symposium is focused on education and contemporary issues, everyone is encouraged to attend and participate in what has become the country’s only collaborative effort between the Hmong and Native American communities.
The Symposium seeks to be a resource for teachers, future educators, and community members and to give educators and gives participants the opportunity to meet Native and Hmong elders and educators, build relationships, learn about Native and Hmong cultures, contemporary and historical issues, Indigenous educational practices. This year will see an expanded symposium starting on Thursday with plenary sessions about language revitalization and crafting a Hmong Education Bill and the amazing Rethinking Thanksgiving traditional foods dinner with Keynote Dr. Gregory Cajete presenting “An Ecology of Indigenous Education.” There will be over forty workshops on Friday and Saturday with presentations by such notable educators and advocates as Dr. Anton Treuer, Patty Loew, JP Leary, Tou Saiko Lee, Kabzuag Vang and MN State Senate candidate Foung Hawj. Friday night will highlight performances by regional hip-hop and spoken work artists Tall Paul, Tou Saiko lee and others.
There will also be a daylong training on historic trauma, and the Young Artists Workshop for youth. Widening the Circle Indigenous Education Institute was formed as a consortium of the La Cross Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, Ho-Chunk Nation, UW-La Crosse, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Viterbo University, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.