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Partnering with Yakama Tribal Leaders to Improve Native Education In ESD 105

Henry Strom holding flag
Jose Cervantes

Earlier this month more than 80 district and tribal leaders met at Heritage University for the first Tribal Convening of the 2022-23 school year. Together, they shared insight on Since Time Immemorial, land acknowledgements and ways our districts can continue to support the awareness of the history of our local tribes and the futures of our Native students.


This partnership between tribal leaders and our public school districts is just one of the unique ways districts in our region are supporting awareness of our local Native culture and embarking on enhanced learning opportunities for Native students.


  • Earlier this school year Ellensburg School District made history when it became the first district in Washington State to name a school after a local Indigenous female leader, Ida Nason Aronica, the granddaughter of Chief Owhi, who was significant in shaping the history of the Kittitas Valley. In cooperation with the Kittitas County Museum, many items from the Ida Nason Aronica family collection were on display for the dedication of the Ida Nason Aronica Elementary School, including baskets, beadwork and photographs. Among the items on display was the beaded dress Ida’s mother wore when her father, Chief Owhi, signed the Treaty of 1855. 
  • In Wapato School District, students can earn the Seal of Biliteracy in several languages, including the Yakama Ichishkin language. In fact, the Class of 2021 had four graduates earn this distinction, marking the first time in Washington State history that students earned the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy in a Native, Tribal or Indigenous language.
  • In Yakima School District, the Yakama Tribal flag flies proudly beside the Washington State and United States flags at the central office, paying respect to people and the land that its schools reside on. 


We are excited to continue to watch this partnership evolve in the future and to be able to share more ways our districts are engaging in this essential work.