Aug 8 2024

Toward Languages of Liberation in Learning Environments

Grantmakers for Education

Virtual

August 8, 2:00 pm ET

What would it take to support all children and youth to flourish in both their home or native language and English? What is lost for our democracy when children lose their family’s languages? How can early childhood and youth development programs affirm positive cultural identities that build resiliency and honor cultural traditions?

Join us for an insightful discussion on these and other questions as Dr. Shantel Meek connects the dots on how children's earliest experiences in their native, heritage and English languages shape their identities while shaping a truly multicultural vision of democracy’s future in the United States. Panelists will share insights from the practitioner’s lens about the critical importance of affirming positive cultural identities and incorporating home languages when working with children and youth.

This is the second installment in the series co-hosted by Early Childhood Funders Collaborative and Trust for Learning. The first session in this series, From Neurons to Nation, can be accessed here.

While others are welcome to attend, this event is intended for members and education grantmakers.

There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. By registering for this program, you agree to our Learning Environment Commitment. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.

Thank you to our cohosts, Early Childhood Funders Collaborative and Trust for Learning.

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About the Speakers

Vanessa Goodthunder

Vanessa Goodthunder
Director
C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi (CWOO)

Vanessa Goodthunder, Sna Sna Wiƞ (Snah-Snah Weeƞ) comes from C̣aƞṡayapi (Chahƞ-shah-yah-pee), which means where they paint the trees red also known as the Lower Sioux Indian Community. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor’s in U.S History and American Indian Studies-Dakota Language, and with a Master of Education. Her passions are education, revitalizing the Dakota language, and working with Native youth.

Vanessa believes that language can be used to heal from historical trauma and has dedicated her life to learning and teaching her languages (Dakota and Dine). Vanessa has worked with the nonprofit organization called Daḳota Wic̣oḣaƞ (Dakota Way of Life) as both a youth participant and later, a language instructor supporting Dakota language curriculum development. She was the Aide to the Chief of Staff and Tribal Affairs Policy Advisor in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. She sits on the board of the National Indian Head Start Directors Association, the Lower Sioux Indian Community Education Committee, and serves on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She helped opened and currently serves as the Director of the C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi (CWOO)-A Birth-5 Dakota Immersion School, the first Dakota Head Start in the State of Minnesota.


Dr. Shantel E. Meek

Dr. Shantel E. Meek
Executive Director
Children’s Equity Project

Dr. Shantel E. Meek is the Executive Director of Children’s Equity Project (CEP) and a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. The CEP is a multi-university initiative that aims to close opportunity gaps between children from historically marginalized communities and their peers. Dr. Meek previously served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. Dr. Meek holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. She is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, and her personal experiences as a Latina and first-generation college graduate from a small border town inform her work and contribute to her drive to improve the learning conditions of children from historically marginalized communities. Today, she lives in Phoenix with her husband and two babies, both of whom are growing up bilingual.

Other confirmed speakers:

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