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New Director of UWM Elekta Queenie Institute on Indigenous Language Education, $3 Million Grant | WUWM 89.7 FM

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The Elekta Queenie Institute for Native American Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a new leader.

Mark Freeland came to UWM from South Dakota State University. He is a member of the Barwetting His Anisinaabe tribe who is federally recognized as Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa.

Freeland will succeed Margaret Noodin, who has led EQI since 2014. Freeland said Noodin laid a strong foundation, especially with respect to indigenous languages.

“There is so much interest in revitalizing languages ​​right now that we can forge very good partnerships with regions and local communities who look to us for that kind of leadership in education,” Free said. “And that’s what Margaret has been doing very specifically, and that’s her expertise,” Rand says.

According to Freeland, UWM plans to add Potawatomi to its indigenous languages ​​in the fall. UWM already offers Ojibwe, Oneida and Menominee.

In addition to language activation, EQI focuses on supporting Native American students at UWM and training Native Americans entering K-12 education as teachers and administrators.

“Starting with the problems of boarding schools, our children being stolen from us and brutalized in effect, and the ethnic cleansing taking place within these boarding schools, is a generational problem especially regarding education. “One of our strategies is to train more Native Americans as teachers and administrators. That’s one of our main missions.” [of EQI.]”

Freeland also wants to incorporate traditional knowledge into UWM coursework. He gives the example of processing maple syrup.

“It’s one thing to talk about the sugarbush in the classroom, it’s one thing to actually process the sap into maple sugar and syrup, and it’s one thing to show students that those processes are hands-on,” he says.

Freeland cites EQI Elder Vernon Altiman as someone who can lead these efforts. With his new $3 million grant from his Bader Philanthropies to support EQI’s work, Freeland says he’ll be able to keep someone like Altiman in the long run.

“Our elder now has a stable fund for him over the next five years, so he can plan beyond ‘what am I going to do next semester? increase.”

A press release announcing a $3 million grant from Bader Philanthropies cites it eroding state funding that adversely affects EQI. According to Freeland, the humanities are not always a priority at universities with limited funding. Bader Philanthropies funding “takes the pressure off”.

“You can focus on the mission and goals you’re trying to achieve and dream really big,” says Freeland. “Rather than trying to figure out what our next cash flow will be.”

Editor’s Note: Margaret Nudin is currently Associate Dean overseeing WUWM, a service at the University of Milwaukee.

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