Pre-service Students Learn About Virginia Indians
On October 30, 2010 graduate and undergraduate students in Dr. Gail McEachron's Elementary and Middle Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction course gained new insights into accurately teaching about Virginia Indian history and cultures as they prepare for student teaching. Dr. McEachron collaborated with Ms. Lisa Heuvel, an EdD candidate in the EPPL Higher Education Administration program, in planning this pilot class session.
Guest speakers were Dr. Helen Rountree, noted expert on Virginia Indian history, and Ms. Karenne Wood, enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation, director of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program, and former chair of the Virginia Council on Indians. Dr. Rountree has authored seven academic books to date on the historical and modern Powhatan Indian tribes, and taught at Old Dominion University from 1968 to 1999. Heuvel's opening presentation, "Creating a Historical Context for Teaching about Virginia Indians," introduced students to modern and historical visual perspectives on the state's Native peoples. Dr. Rountree then presented an overview of Virginia Indian history focusing on the impact of European colonization and cultures and the persistence of Virginia Indian identity and traditions into the present day, despite segregation laws and other challenges. Karenne Wood, who is a PhD candidate and Ford Fellow at the University of Virginia, is working to revitalize indigenous languages and cultural practices as part of her studies. She explained current revisions to the Virginia Standards of Learning related to American Indian and Virginia Indian history and cultures. Thanks to the efforts of Virginia Indians who served on the SOL revisions committee, the new standards are more inclusive of Virginia Indian perspectives, are more correct, and reflect the contributions of Virginia's Native peoples past and present.
During the three-hour class, students took part in question and answer sessions with Rountree and Wood. They looked at pottery, bone tools, and other reproduction artifacts as well as educational resources that challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about Virginia Indians. In a follow-up session, students watched a videotaped interview of Mattaponi Indian tribal historian Samuel McGowan describing his own teaching methods. They did more advanced artifact analysis with Dr. McEachron and Ms. Heuvel in preparation for student teaching. This series of presentations gave the future teachers in Dr. McEachron's class an opportunity to learn about more on the subject of Virginia Indians than just the Pocahontas myth. They will be able to incorporate more authentic knowledge into their own curricula.
Collaborating with the Virginia Indian tribes in educating teachers and students about their heritage and cultures is part of a new initiative within the School of Education. Lisa Heuvel's dissertation research focuses on the Beyond Jamestown: Virginia Indians Past and Present summer seminar for Virginia K-12 teachers. This innovative teacher development program, directed by Karenne Wood, provides teachers with accurate information on Virginia Indian history and cultures. The School of Education hosted the Beyond Jamestown seminar at the College for the first time in 2008.
Also in 2008, William and Mary was invited through the School of Education to join the Virginia Indian Summit on Higher Education (VINSHE) as a partner institution to Virginia's Indian tribes, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia. VINSHE members annually meet to address K-16 education needs and initiatives within the Virginia Indian communities.
In 2008, William and Mary joined Virginia Tech and UVA in working on the Virginia Indian Pre-College Outreach Initiative (VIP-COI), a three-year, grant-funded project led by Virginia Tech. VIP-COI provides admissions and scholarship information to the state's Native students at powwows around the state and summer camps held at tribal centers. Heuvel, who serves as a VINSHE and VIP-COI representative, will attend the 2009 Virginia College Access Network conference on student access in December as part of a Virginia Tech panel on the VIP-COI program's first-year success.
Dean McLaughlin and the School of Education will host the 2011 Virginia Indian Summit on Higher Education in its new facility. This is the first time the Summit will be held at William and Mary and reflects the growing educational connections between the School, Virginia's Indian communities, and collaborating institutions in higher education.