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Since the 19th century, the American education system has not evolved much in the way it teaches Native content.  As a result, our system graduates students nationwide who lack the basic tools to engage with the complex histories and contemporary existence of Native peoples.  The effect of this failure ripples outward beyond the classroom to all educational spaces including museums, media, and especially pop culture. Akomawt is the Passamaquoddy word for 'snowshoe path' and the symbol driving the mission of Akomawt Educational Initiative.  Co-founder Chris Newell will talk about the work of AEI and their success in forging new paths for educators and the system of education to engage with Native content in today's world and the benefits of this work for all students.

Chris Newell is co-founder/director of education for Akomawt Educational Initiative; a majority Native-owned educational consultancy based in Connecticut and author of Scholastic's If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving. He is a multi-award-winning museum professional born and raised in Motahkmikuhk (Indian Township, ME) and a proud citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the New England Museum Association, Tides Institute, and Maine Public. Chris is a long-time singer with the acclaimed Mystic River singers based out of Connecticut and has travelled the US and Canada singing and participating in cultural celebrations, pow wows, and live stage performance. Chris was the Senior Advisor for the Emmy-award winning documentary Dawnland and co-director of the short documentary Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) (2022) chronicling a historic sunrise concert collaboration in 2021 with Wabanaki musicians/storytellers and 18-time Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

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