2020 Native American Critical Issues Conference

Date: March 5-7, 2020

Location: Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Click here for driving directions)

Theme: Mother Earth

We are taught that the earth is our mother, Shkaakaamikwe, and the first teacher. The Anishinaabe term used for education is Kinomaage which literally translated means “the earth will show us the way”. Humans were the last of the beings to be placed on the earth. We are dependent on her and our older plant and animal brothers and sisters for our survival. We have a covenant with the Creator to live harmoniously in balance with nature and to reciprocate the love given to us every day by our Mother Earth. As humankind it is incumbent upon us to care for Shkaakaamikwe and protect all the beings that live here. Our future depends on it.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Devon Mihesuah

Keynote Speaker Bio: 

Devon Mihesuah is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and is the Cora Lee Beers Price Professor in the Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. A historian by training, she is the author of numerous award-winning non-fiction and fiction books, including Ned Christie; Choctaw Crime and Punishment: 1884-1907; American Indigenous Women: Decolonization, Empowerment, Activism, and Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness. Her 18th book, Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health, co-edited with Elizabeth Hoover, was published last fall. She is former Editor of the American Indian Quarterly and the University Nebraska Press book series, “Contemporary Indigenous Issues.” She oversees the American Indian Health and Diet Project at KU and the Facebook page, Indigenous Eating.

Agendas at a Glance: 

Every year, the MIEC Board selects a group of highly skilled and interesting speakers to present at our Native American Critical Issues Conference. Presentations are selected based on their alignment with the theme of the conference and their relevancy to Native American education related issues in the State of Michigan. This year we are featuring three conference tracks. The General Track is intended for the general public, the Youth Track is intended for supervised youth and their chaperones, and the NASA track is intended for college age students involved in Native student organizations across Michigan. Please note that the NASA track covers only one day, but the registration is for the entire conference which they are encouraged to attend when not involved in NASA Summit activities.

Click here to download the General Track Agenda at a Glance.

Click here to download the Youth Track Agenda at a Glance.

Click here to download the NASA Student Summit Tentative Agenda.


Due to the great interest in our conference this year, and the limited space available, we are no longer able to accept any more registrations by check. There are currently only two general track tickets remaining available through the online registration. Chi-miigwech (many thanks) for supporting MIEC!

Organizations and individuals that have previously made arrangements to pay for their registration with a check should submit them to Michigan Indian Education Council. Send checks to: Michigan Indian Education Council C/O Melinda Hernandez, 101 Loree Dr., East Lansing, MI 48823 

If you are registering as a participant in the NASO Student Summit, you don’t need to register through Eventbrite. Students who participate in the NASO Student Summit will have lodging, travel, food, and conference fee covered, which will be taken care of by filling out the alternative form here. After students fill out the alternative form, Juri Sanchez will reach out with a confirmation email with additional information.  If you have any questions, you can contact Juri Sanchez at juriys@umich.edu.

Click here for Online Registration for general and youth tracks.

*Note: The registration fee is $150 each for all attendees. The fee is non-refundable. If you have questions about registration fees, please see MIEC staff onsite at the Conference, or contact Dr. Martin Reinhardt at mreinhar@nmu.edu.

Donations and Sponsorship Opportunities: 

If you or your organization is interested in making a donation, or co-sponsoring the conference, there are multiple ways to do this. For more information about donating or sponsorship opportunities click here. 

Vendors: Contact Dr. Martin Reinhardt to reserve space at the conference. Limited spaces available. First come/first serve. mreinhar@nmu.edu

Vendor forms click here.


Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown (Closest to the Conference). The conference rate for this hotel is $138 per night until Feb 18, 2020.

City Flats Hotel (Close by across the river). The conference rate for this hotel is $135 per night until Feb. 3, 2020.

Presentation Proposals:

Presentation proposal forms click here.

Conference Date

March 5-7, 2020

Conference Location

Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan

General Track Conference Schedule At A Glance

Thursday, March 5, 2020

4-6pm Reception Dinner

6:30-8:30pm Tour of Grand Rapids Public Museum


Friday, March 6, 2020

7-9am Breakfast

8:30-10am Plenary Session

Opening Ceremony


General MIEC Election

Keynote Speaker

10:15-12:45pm Breakout Sessions

12:45-1:45 Lunch

1:45-5:15pm Breakout Sessions

5:15-6:15pm Plenary Session


Saturday, March 7, 2020

8:30-9:30am Plenary Session

9:45-Noon Breakout Sessions

12-1:30pm Plenary Session


MIEC Distinguished Service Award Presentation

Keynote Speaker

Closing Ceremony



© 2014 - MIEC.org. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress and Design by We Create Web Designs