In this video, Associate Professor J P Leary shares the history of Wisconsin Education Act 31, as well as what it requires and how it impacted teacher certification. Leary also discusses how American Indian studies should be taught in social studies as well as across the curriculum.
Leary has a long history in working in PK-16 education in Wisconsin. He served as the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s American Indian Studies Consultant for the for 15 years until he completed his Educational Policy Studies doctoral degree, which focused on Wisconsin Education Act 31. This 1989 educational mandate requires the teaching of the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in the state of Wisconsin.
To extend the reach of professional learning and technical assistance to educators and educational leaders, Leary co-created the American Indian Studies Summer Institute with American Indian history scholar Dr. Ronald Satz. The institute aids PK-16 educators in learning collaborative approaches for partnering with First Nations and assists educators in developing action plans for integrating American Indian Studies into their instruction.
A faculty member of the Humanities, First Nations Studies, and History departments at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay since 2012, Leary seeks to “not only value and teach indigenous studies,” but also for his work to model and to live it as well. The needs of First Nations people and communities continues to guide Leary’s student-centered research and scholarship.
Leary’s research and instruction on Wisconsin Education Act 31 teach how the public’s lack of awareness and understanding of First Nations can incur a significant cost for our society. He contributes to teacher training through the Professional Program in Education and the Education Center for First Nations Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.