Departments

Native American Education

Washington State Native American Heritage Month and Date Proclamation

The State of Washington Proclamation Whereas, Native Americans have inhabied the area now known as Washington State since time immemorial, and today, 29 federally recognized Indian Tribes, out-of-state Tribes with treaty reserved rights, and other tribal communities reside in Washington; and Whereas, members and descendants of tribes around the United States and First Nations of Canada also reside in the state of Washington; and Whereas, Native American contributions and values have shaped the social, political, environmental, and economics fabric of the state, while also enhancing freedom, prosperity, and cultural diversity; and Whereas, state law RCW 43.37, directs the Governor and state agencies to establish government-to-goverment relationships with Indian Tribes in order to enhance and formalize working relationships with the Tribes through collaboration and consultation; and Whereas, state law, RCW 28A.320.170, mandates the teaching of tribal history, culture and government in common schools; which will contribute greatly to improving school's history curriculum and enhance awareness for a better cultural understanding; and Whereas, Substittue House Bill 1356, prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American Names, symbols or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names, was signed into law on April 2, 2021, thus rmoving harmful stereotypes and barriers to racial equity, cultural awareness, and an equitable education; and Whereas, the state of Washington has designated the Friday immediately following the fourth Thursday in November as a state legal and school holiday, known as Native American Heritage Day; and Whereas, Washington joins other states aacros sthe nation in celebrating native American Heritage Month, honoring the uniqure heritage of this continent's First People and reaffimring the committment to respect each Tribe's sovereigty and cultural identity; Now, Therefore, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the state of Washington, do hereby proclaim November 2021 as Native American Heritage Month and November 26, 2021 as Native American Heritage Day in Washington and encourage all people in our state to join me in this special observance. Signed this 25th day of November, 2021 Governor Jay Inslee

SPS’s Native American Education Program Is a Referral Service

Welcome To Huchoosedah

We work with students, parents and guardians, teachers, principals, and SPS departments on a case-by-case basis to address the broad scope of needs our Native students face. We want every family to understand how to navigate the district’s resources and support all schools in understanding the unique experience Native students face interacting with our system. Our goal is to ensure all Native students have a high-quality educational experience and reach the goal of graduation.

Please call or email Gail Morris gtmorris@seattleschools.org We are here to help, problem solve, and inspire.

Seattle Public Schools’ 2021 Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation

See Indigenous Peoples’ Day Proclamation

Resources for Students and Families

COVID-19 Rental Assistance

Please call ahead for Rental Assistance to see if the organization continues to have funds available.

UPDATED: January 4, 2021

Up-to-date information: 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number to connect with services that can help with rental assistance, shelter, legal referrals, housing assistance, transportation, food, and other needs.  

Red Eagle Soaring
King County area Native families who have been impacted by COVID-19 with a loss of income.

For Rental or Food Assistance, please email Nicole Suyama (Program Manager): nicole@redeaglesoaring.org

Homeless Prevention Offered at Mother Nation 
Provides case management and housing search assistance for Native Americans and their families.

  • Address: 4250 South Mead Street, Seattle 98118
  • Phone: (206) 722-2321
  • Websitehttps://www.mothernation.org
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. 

United Indians of all Tribes Homelessness Prevention Program
Serves families and young adults (under 24 years old) who are at imminent risk of eviction.

Chief Seattle Club Homeless Prevention
Call in advance to see if you qualify for assistance:
Tina Berkley, Homeless Prevention (206) 473-7770.

UNEA Community Outreach/Rent Assistance
We are now able to provide limited assistance with rent to qualifying King County families. If you are interested, please email markseattl3@aol.com.

Due to funding limitations, our Community Outreach program is only able to serve Seattle families, with youth and/or Elders in the household.

Financial Assistance offered by St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle King County
Provides financial assistance for needs such as rent, bus passes, utility bills and other needs through local neighborhood chapters.

Rental Assistance offered by Salvation Army’s Social Services Department in White Center
Message states weekly availability.

Rental Assistance offered at United Churches Emergency Fund
Provides rent assistance to North Seattle residents in zip codes 98105, 98115, 98125 and 98103. Eviction notice not required. Move-in assistance may be available for people moving into or within the area served. 

  • Address: 4515 16th Avenue NE, Seattle 98105
  • Phone: (206) 524-7885
  • Websitehttps://www.ucef-seattle.org/
  • Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Project Self Sufficiency offered by YWCA Seattle King Snohomish The Willows
Provides case management and financial assistance for rent and utilities to those within Seattle city limits. Call to leave a message.**EVICTION NOTICE / SHUT-OFF REQUIRED**

Utility Bill Relief

If you would like support to pay a utility bill (water sewer garbage, Seattle City Light, or PSE) please contact Gail Morris, gtmorris@seattleschools.org, telephone (206) 252-0948. You will need these items: lease/rental agreement, current bill, and student must have a 506 Form on file with us and be Native American/Alaska Native.
Has your income changed? Click HERE to see if you qualify for the City of Seattle Utility Discount Program.

Remote Learning Resources

For information about SPS’s remote learning during COVID-19, updates and resources, please visit these webpages: 

Technology Support

Technology Supports for Families

Please call 206-252-0100 or email laptops@seattleschools.org for student and family technology support or visit a SPS Technology Resource Center. Technology support includes:

  • Laptop and SPS device support
  • Internet WiFi hot spots support
  • Support with remote learning software (e.g., Seesaw, Schoology) and other educational resources
  • General technology resource information and support
  • Support with the following translation software:
    • Microsoft translator
    • Talking Points
    • Linguistica
  • Additional English Language instructional support

Learn more:

If your student needs help getting a laptop, please contact their principal, teacher or email Gail Morris: gtmorris@seattleschools.org.

Family Resources

Need support with food, housing, child care, Internet access and other services? Click HERE to get help at the Crisis Connection.

Not quite sure what resources are available? Click HERE to search the King County 2-1-1 Database. You can also dial 2-1-1 to speak with someone.

Click HERE to see if you qualify for free or low-cost Internet Resources for Seattle residents.

As part of a collaboration between the Western Washington Native American Education Consortium (WWNAEC) and Seattle Public Schools, we invite SPS Native American student(s) in grades 8 – 12 to apply to the Native American Youth Leadership Academy (NAYLA.). This wonderful opportunity brings together over one hundred 8-12th grade Native American Youth from across Western Washington to take part in activities that support and promote positive academic outcomes, meaningful leadership development and cultural identity. Students will come together throughout the academic year, connect, build positive relations with other Native American students and adults, participate in a variety of culturally responsive leadership development, and engage in personal as well as academic activities that promote continual constructive progression.

The first cross-district NAYLA session for the 2021-2022 school year will be October 7, 2021.  

Transportation to and from each NAYLA session will be provided by SPS Native American Education Huchoosedah Program.

Applications are due by Wednesday, September 29 at 3:00 pm, and invited participants will be notified by October 1. All applicants must have a valid 506 form on file with SPS Native American Education to be considered.

Contact SPS NAYLA Coordinator and Native American Education Re-entry / Intervention Student Specialist Lauren Nabahe for more information: lmfonoimoana@seattleschools.org


Meet the Native Artist Whose Work is Featured on the SPS Public Websites

The story behind the artwork on our websites: Andrea Wilbur Sigo, Squaxin Island

Boo Balkan Foster Named Regional Teacher of the Year 2022

Boo Balkan Foster

Washington State Regional Teacher of the year 2022.

We are thrilled to announce that the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) has recognized Boo Balkan Foster of Seattle Public Schools as the Regional Teacher of the Year!

Boo Balkan Foster is a šəqačib teacher in the Native Education Department. She teaches a leadership class, working in partnership with Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School, serving students in grades 6-12. She is a veteran educator with 26 years of experience as a teacher.

Boo Balkan Foster Honored by Enduring Spirit Award, Native Action Network

Boo Balkan Foster poses for a photo holding an award

Congratulations to Boo Balkan Foster who received the 2021 Enduring Spirit Award!

Presented by the Native Action Network, award recipients are honored for their lifetime commitment to building strong, healthy Native communities and intergenerational connection.

Leaders like Boo have advocated powerfully for environmental protections, access to quality education, holistic health and wellness, cultural preservation, traditional knowledge, tribal sovereignty, strengthening of treaty rights, tribal economic development, and beyond.

SPS Native Education Commended for Since Time Immemorial Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum

On 4/7/2021, a team from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) completed a review of federal and state programs in which Seattle Public Schools participates. In the review, OSPI stated, “Seattle Public Schools is to be commended for adoption of policy and for providing high quality, consistent, and comprehensive professional learning for staff to fully implement the Since Time Immemorial tribal sovereignty curriculum.”

Seattle Public Schools would not have been able to achieve such high praise were it not for the unyielding efforts of Native Education Program Manager Gail T. Morris and her staff. Morris’s efforts yielded a blue ribbon program model that not only tells the truth about the past, present, and future of tribal people, but also “re-indigenizes” history and civics in a way that promotes pride and genuinely values the identities of our Native students. We are excited that her vision continues to expand and gain momentum into the future, and all SPS students and staff will continue to benefit.

Native Youth Summit – September 2021

The national Native Youth Summit will amplify and elevate the voices of 100 Indigenous youth, and showcase their resilience, creativity and leadership in coming together for their community amidst the pandemic. It’s also an opportunity to connect them with leaders and experts in film. View this year’s work:

land acknowledgement - We would like to acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands and traditional territories off the Puget Sound Coast Salish People

Explore Our Native Knowledge Resources!

Explore our selection of resources focused on Native American and Alaska Native knowledge curated by SPS Native American Education staff. Our aim is to make it easy for teachers to integrate teaching about contemporary culture and people as well as Washington State tribal history with their lessons all year long.

View Native Knowledge Resources

I Am Native: A Video Highlighting Native American SPS Students and Leaders

I am Native is a short film (7:38 minutes) showcasing Seattle Public Schools’ Native high school students and staff sharing their stories, hopes and dreams for their future. 

March 9th is Billy Frank Jr. Day

Billy Frank Junior

Billy Frank Jr., a Northwest Native American (Nisqually) activist, played a key role in the “Fish Wars” of the 1960’s and 1970’s, resulting in a landmark decision affirming tribal fishing rights. Join us in honoring him on March 9th!

On February 24, 2021, the Seattle School Board approved a resolution designating March 9, 2021 a day of observance recognizing and honoring the life and legacy of Billy Frank Jr.

Learn more about this influential leader in our Billy Frank Jr. collection of resources: Billy Frank Jr. Online Collection

Recognizing Our Students

We are so proud of our students! Below, watch Rose Glen and Wes Calf Robe receiving a custom wool blanket and Huchoosedah paddle necklace to honor and celebrate their achievements.

Huchoosedah Paddles made by Louie Gong
Eighth Generation, a Native-owned Seattle company founded by Louie Gong (Nooksack), created the blankets and paddles.
8th generation warehouse
Pictured right: Louie Gong (center) with Native American Education staff Lauren Nabahe Fonoimoana (Paiute-Shoshone, Navajo, Mono), high school re-entry/intervention specialist (right), and Renée Remlinger-Tee, librarian (left).
Gail White Eagle Blanket
The wool blankets were specially designed by Gail White Eagle (Muckleshoot, Chehalis), pictured left, who has been weaving for 25 years.  

Nathan Hale Student Creates Film about Climate Change Affecting Indigenous Nations

Interconnected: The Effect of Climate Change on Indigenous Nations is a film produced by Rosie Port, a graduate of Nathan Hale (2020), and her brother Gabe. Rosie created and beautifully produced this powerful film for her Hale Senior Action Project. It is an important piece of student work about issues facing indigenous culture and what individuals can do to reduce their environmental impact.