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Native Alliance

Teach For America is working hand-in-hand with Native communities to help Native students achieve their incredible potential.
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Our Mission

Native children experience some of the highest levels of poverty in our country, which greatly impacts their academic and life options. To help end this disparity, the Native Alliance develops leaders who are committed to preserving Native culture and expanding opportunities for Native youth across the country.

Our work is centered on deepening relationships with Native leaders and communities across our regions. Corps members and alumni who work in Hawai‘iGreater TulsaMinnesotaNew MexicoOklahoma CitySouth Dakota, and Washington may also have the opportunity to serve Native students living on reservations.

We recognize that the vast majority of Native children attend schools across all of our regions, not just in regions that serve students in schools on tribal land. Our alliance aims to grow the number of Native teachers working in schools across the country, and to build support for indigenous education and partnerships in all communities.

The Challenge

  • 49% of Native students graduate high school
  • 11% of Native students earn a college degree
A person from the Smithsonian Institution teaches about Native American history to a group of students

Watch: Issues Impacting Native Communities

Eliminating Racist Mascots

Panelists representing different tribal nations discuss how Native mascots are rooted in a harmful history of white settler colonialism, and why they have no place in schools and professional sports.


Cultural Appropriation

Native educators discuss different forms of cultural appropriation, and how well-intentioned efforts to preserve Native languages and culture can sometimes further perpetuate the oppression of Indigenous peoples. 


Supporting Indigenous Students in the Classroom and Beyond

WaziHanska Cook, senior managing director of Teach for America's Native Alliance discusses the current educational context for Native students in the United States and Indigenous Nations.


What We Do

Providing an Additional Source of Effective Teachers & Leaders

Less than 1 percent of our country’s teachers identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian. Native students benefit from seeing leaders in the classroom who share and affirm their culture, language, and traditions. Since the alliance was first launched in 2009, we have recruited over 340 Native teachers into classrooms across Teach For America’s national network. Simultaneously, we are working to build a sustainable alumni leadership pipeline. Our alumni include school, policy, and community leaders committed to advocating for and building with Native communities and children.

Advancing Student Achievement

In the 2015-16 school year, more than 300 corps members worked relentlessly to expand opportunity for their 10,000 students from Native backgrounds.

Fostering Culturally Responsive Teaching

Students learn best when they can see their own experiences, culture, and language reflected in their curriculum. We’re working to create outstanding examples of culturally responsive teaching and training our teachers in those practices.

Partnering with Native Organizations and Governments

We can go further together. That’s why we’re committed to forming strong partnerships with Native organizations and governments to raise awareness, collaborate on teacher recruitment and training, and accelerate our collective efforts.

““I knew New Mexico was exactly where I wanted to be. Serving my community means teaching kids like me.””

Rachel Henderson

New Mexico Corps Member 2013

Native Leaders, Native Land

Teach For America alumni share what it means to teach in a Native community.

Teach For America's Impact

Teach For America's Impact

  • 75% of TFA Native alumni work in jobs that impact education
  • 50% of TFA Native alumni work in Pre-K-12 classrooms
A teacher sitting on the floor in a circle with students.

Timeline & Accomplishments