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Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones”
Early Childhood Education Initiative

Creating Systems of Care and Learning for Native children

Wakanyeja News

Foundation received more than $500 million in funding requests for promising family engagement practices and tools

After receiving a foundation record-setting more than 1,130 requests for family engagement funding, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) today announced that a group of 46 innovative organizations from across the country will compete for possible funding of up to $500,000 for one to three years to implement effective family engagement models in early childhood education.

WKKF announced in August 2013 that it would make a $5 million investment to identify and cultivate innovations in the growing field of family engagement that support children’s educational success from birth to 8 years old. The submissions, the most ever received for a single funding opportunity in the foundation’s 83-year history, totaled more than $500 million in requests, illustrating the demand for funding transformational family engagement models that address obstacles faced by low-income families and work to achieve equitable learning outcomes for children.

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Conference/Program Events:


March 7, 2014

Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development, UCLA American Indian Studies Center: Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Wakanyeja ECE Initiative Program Officer to serve on panel, “Innovative Research in Education – Educating Tomorrow’s Tribal Leaders”

March 18, 2014

33rd Annual American Indian Higher Education Consortium – Student Conference: To become a teacher of the next generation: Counting coup with education in honor of our youngest tribal members, Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Wakanyeja ECE Initiative Program Officer

March 26-28, 2014

2014 Native American Conference on Special Education: Engaging community-based partnerships to strengthen early childhood educational opportunities, Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Wakanyeja ECE Initiative Program Officer

April 3, 2014

American Educational Research Association: Special Interest Group – Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: The circle never ends: Investigating the impact of new curriculum instructional practices in a tribal head start, Cyndi Pyatskowit & Dr. Lauren Candy Waukau-Villagomez, College of Menominee Nation

April 5, 2014

American Educational Research Association: Toward Culturally Relevant Teacher Education Within the Tribal College: Examining Safe and Unsafe Spaces in Early Childhood Education, Dr. Danielle R. Lansing, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute


May 2014:

World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii Conference Presentation: Imagining our Indigenous knowledge within reach of our children: Lessons from the Wakanyeja "Sacred Little Ones" ECE Initiative

June 2014:

Annual Convene – College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, WI

June 2015

Annual Convene – Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque, NM


2015: Family Engagement Institute

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