POSTPONED Symposium to Feature Brock Prize Laureate’s Work With Indigenous People


POSTPONED Symposium to Feature Brock Prize Laureate’s Work With Indigenous People

Update: As a precautionary and protective measure against the spread of COVID-19, this event has been postponed.

In many indigenous communities, barriers like poverty and unhealthy living environments prevent children from accessing the educational opportunities necessary for future success. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D. and enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, has made it her life work to find ways to overcome these obstacles in often-overlooked indigenous communities. 

Educators, administrators and tribal leaders, as well as students and faculty, will want to be there when Yazzie-Mintz is honored as the 2020 Brock Prize Laureate on OU’s Norman campus. The Brock Prize in Education Innovation, which comes with a $40,000 cash prize, is given out annually to reward ideas proven to enhance education.

Yazzie-Mintz will discuss how her efforts have led to the development and implementation of culturally grounded educational programs and services for American Indian and Alaska Native children, as well as their families, communities and tribes.

Yazzie-Mintz will accept the award at the 19th annual Brock Prize Symposium, “Hope for the Future: Community-based Inquiries Strengthening Indigenous Education and Communities." The symposium will be free and open to the public.

Yazzie-Mintz will discuss how her efforts have led to the development and implementation of culturally grounded educational programs and services for American Indian and Alaska Native children, as well as their families, communities and tribes. 

Her work with the Wakanyeja (“Sacred Little Ones”) Early Childhood Education Initiative at the American Indian College Fund, has positively impacted the lives of more than 4,000 children, 3,000 families and 1,200 teachers in indigenous communities by ensuring that those who educate and care for children in indigenous communities are trained and supported in ways that honor and respect cultural, social and emotional needs.

Joining her in a panel discussion will be key individuals, including representatives from local, tribal college and national tribal sites. The symposium will also feature a film screening of a documentary featuring the initiative’s work across tribal sites.

Although free, registration is required to attend the symposium. Register at brockprize.org/symposium. For those unable to attend, the event will be broadcast live online at live.brockprize.org.

In response to winning the award, Yazzie-Mintz said she’s deeply honored to be selected as the 2020 Brock Prize Laureate.

“The Brock Prize presents a vital opportunity for us to celebrate what can be achieved across Indian Country,” Yazzie-Mintz said. “With those who work from within Indigenous communities, I celebrate the entire journey – from incubation of our ideas, our ambitious dreams, to our first steps in making change happen, to mapping out our next system in the life-long work of transforming our communities to be strong, culturally grounded, and vibrant. I am thankful for the opportunity to share what powerful change looks like, from our littlest ones to our elders – and I am inspired by the hope that we will continue to walk forward, one step at a time.”

The prize, which rewards an idea, not a person, is administered by an executive committee that includes officers from the John and Donnie Brock Foundation, OU, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa. The three universities rotate hosting the symposium. 

For more information on the Brock Prize and to read more about Yazzie-Mintz, visit their website at brockprize.org.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.