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State Statutes for American Indian Studies in Wisconsin

American Indian Studies in Wisconsin (often referred as Wisconsin Act 31) refers to the requirement that all public school districts and pre-service education program provide instruction on the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin’s eleven federally-recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities.

Thus, the references mentioning American Indian Studies in Wisconsin or Wisconsin Act 31 in the context of education are likely referring to the state statutes listed below.


Statutes and Rules

§115.28(17)(d), Wis Stats.
General duties.
The state superintendent shall:
(d) Develop a curriculum for grades 4 to 12 on the Chippewa Indians' treaty-based, off-reservation rights to hunt, fish and gather.

§118.01(2)(c)(7.and 8.), Wis Stats.
Educational goals and expectations.

(2) EDUCATIONAL GOALS. . .each school board shall provide an instructional program designed to give pupils:
7. An appreciation and understanding of different value systems and cultures.
8. At all grade levels, an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans, Hispanics, Hmong Americans, and Asian Americans.

§118.19(8), Wis Stats.
Teacher certificates and licenses.

(8) The state superintendent may not grant to any person a license to teach unless the person has received instruction in the study of minority group relations, including instruction in the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of the federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in this state.

§121.02, Wis Stats.
School district standards.

(1) Except as provided in §118.40 (2r)(d), each school board shall:
(h) Provide adequate instructional materials, texts and library services which reflect the cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of American society.
* * *
(L) 4. Beginning September 1, 1991, as part of the social studies curriculum, include instruction in the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of the federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in this state at least twice in the elementary grades and at least once in the high school grades.

The following videos discuss integrating or infusing content around American Indian Studies Wisconsin Act 31 in Wisconsin public school districts.

  • A teacher at Black River Falls High School, Paul Rykken is known for his innovative approach in using Culturally Responsive Teaching when integrating American Indian Studies into middle and high school classrooms.  Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Paul Rykken
  • A social studies teacher at Prescott High School, Jeff Ryan witnessed the challenges faced by Wisconsin’s Native people, which influenced his passion for infusing American Indian Studies in his classroom. Wisconsin First Nations is a rich collection of classroom, library, and professional learning resources provides PK-12 educators with high-quality materials for the teaching of American Indian Studies in Wisconsin. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Jeff Ryan
  • A third grade elementary teacher at Bowler Elementary School, Lori Mueller partners with the community and connects with the Wisconsin Native nations to teach her students about American Indians. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Lori Mueller
  • A former teacher at the Tomah Middle School, Priscilla Cleveland, has a passion for teaching American Indian Studies. She teamed with her school’s social studies committee to develop curriculum to fulfill Wisconsin Act 31 requirements. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Priscilla Cleveland
  • A Native American Studies and Ojibwe Language instructor in the Bayfield School District, Reggie Cadotte advises teachers to connect historical context about Wisconsin’s First Nations with modern life today. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: Reggie Cadotte
  • As American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, David O’Connor connects with educators to provide support for their understanding of history, culture, and tribal sovereignty. Wisconsin First Nations | Exemplar Profile: David O'Connor
For questions about this information, contact David O'Connor (608) 267-2283