At center, Travis Clark of the Bureau of Indian Education answers questions from educators from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, seated, during a tribal consultation meeting Dec. 5 in Bismarck.

UNITED TRIBES NEWS photo Dennis J. Neumann

BISMARCK (UTN) – The U.S. Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) briefed tribal educators Dec. 5 on a draft strategic plan containing strategies and goals for BIE-funded schools nationwide.

The meeting at United Tribes Technical College was the third of five tribal consultations scheduled around the country to introduce the agency’s first-ever strategic plan for education to tribes, schools and Native education partners it will serve for the next five years.

“We are not trying to sell a document,” said Travis Clark, a BIE Management and Program Analyst who helped develop the plan along with 30 other education leaders from within the agency. “We’re trying to get critical feedback to make this a strong document.”

Clark and BIE Director Tony Dearman distributed copies of the nine-page draft plan and described its contents and the planning process with slide illustrations. They emphasized that the draft is a working document and input from tribes and tribal educators is the next step of the strategic planning process.

 â€œYou’re not Going to hurt our feelings,” said Clark, explaining that comments, suggestions and changes would be incorporated before the plan is finalized. “We need the help of tribes to set the priorities.”

Questions and comments were offered from some of the 20 people at the meeting. Attending were educators from BIE schools that serve the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe at Eagle Butte, SD; United Tribes Technical College; and the North Dakota Dept. of Public Instruction.

The draft plan can be accessed at this BIE website:

Two additional tribal consultation meetings are scheduled for Dec. 12 at the National Indian Programs Training Center in Albuquerque, NM, and a teleconference and webinar set for Dec. 14.

Written comments may be submitted by January 13, 2018 to the comment coordinator: Paulina Bell,