Tribal Connections

World Journey: Lessons Learned from Partnering with Indigenous Communities Around the World

Please join us for the third Annual Tribal Connections event – a series of virtual sessions beginning Monday, August 23 at 10 a.m. through Tuesday, August 31 at 12:30 p.m.  We invite you to take a virtual journey to learn from professionals serving young children and families from indigenous communities in countries around the world. Together, we will learn about their history, people today and how they are working to serve young children and families in indigenous communities. 

Indigenous communities in Arizona have many shared experiences including colonization- policies developed to acculturate and assimilate Indigenous peoples; forced removals from their homelands; and exercising their sovereignty and self-determination to support the well-being of their people. These experiences are shared by other indigenous communities around the world. 

According to the United Nations (UN), there are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples living in 70 different countries across the world. Although there is no official definition adopted by the UN, indigneous peoples generally self-identify by: having their own traditions (or way of life), language and culture; having experienced colonization; and having a strong connection to land and community.  

The UN’s State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples reports that, “the situation of Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world continues to be critical: Indigenous peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power; they continue to be over-represented among the poorest, the illiterate and the destitute;” in addition, “Indigenous peoples have documented histories of resistance, interface or cooperation with states, thus demonstrating their conviction and determination to survive with their distinct sovereign identities.” 

Indigenous peoples are resilient and it is important that their language, cultures and traditions are shared with children. Recognizing that early childhood development has lifelong impacts on health and future learning, it is important that young children have strong foundations and a sense of belonging.

You can register for free for Tribal Connections 2021 as a single event or as a complementary event with the Summit.


Would you like to be a sponsor at this event? Learn more.


The below are the tracks that will be available at the Tribal Connections Summit 2021. Please visit the Agenda Page for more details.

TC 101 – Tribal Connections 2021 Welcome & Overview

August 23, 2021 – 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Join us for the third Annual Tribal Connections event! This welcoming session begins with a description of First Things First’s partnerships with Tribes, followed by an introduction of our World Journey, an opportunity to connect with attendees, and tips on how to make the most of this amazing learning experience.

Candida Hunter

TC 201 – Transforming Early Care and Education in Tribal Nations across the U.S.

August 24, 2021 – 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

With the world in upheaval amidst the pandemic, the United States is taking great strides to change the trajectory of programs that serve children and families. One such bipartisan effort is that to transform early care and education across the nation. The U.S. has a host of programs that support children and families and this session will focus on how Tribes are using at least one of these programs to build and strengthen their early care and education systems across their own nations. We will explore Tribal access to early care and education funding from the U.S. Government, how Tribes access and utilize these funds, and where we sit now to create transformative change in our communities. The pandemic hit our Indigenous communities especially hard, and, in the wake of that, we must take action to create stronger systems of support for our next generation of leaders.

Jennifer Rackliff

TC 301 – Delivering Early Childhood Services in Challenging Times in Nomadic Communities in Bhutan

August 25, 2021 – 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

The session highlights efforts to maintain the continuity of early childhood programmes including parenting education in Bhutan, specifically focusing on the nomadic communities of Merak and Sakteng. The focus on indigenous makes it interesting as the nomadic communities are radically different in the way they live and work.

Karma Gayleg

TC 401 – Walking in Two Worlds: Advocating for Indigenous-Based Child Care

August 27, 2021 – 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

While Covid-19 placed Canada under a microscope to reveal two vastly different child care experiences for children and families, Rebecca LaRiviere provides a Metis ECE perspective on the changing world of Early Learning and Child Care and the role Advocacy plays in driving the momentum towards a truly equitable system.

Rebecca LaRiviere

TC 501 – Ngā Puna Kōhungahunga o Te Kōhao: Two Māori Language immersion centres empowering whānau to achieve their aspirations

August 27, 2021 – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Te Kōhao Health, a Māori Health organisation in Hamilton, New Zealand, provides language immersion early learning services. Join this session to learn more about the organisation, the vision and successes of the program to support young children and families. Me hoki whakamuri kia anga whakamua – look to the past in order to forge the future.

Tere Gilbert

TC 601 – Pandemic – Impacts, Adaptations and Reflections: The Moral Imagination and Reality from Down Under

August 30, 2021 – 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

The session will provide an opportunity to explore the impacts of a global pandemic as it continues across Australia, the impacts of lockdown and how it has challenged us to think differently about the ways we provide care and education for all children and young people. It will unpack ways of living with a Pandemic and how this has made it difficult to adapt and look forward, and explore the uncertainty of the future within our early learning services and communities.

Jo-Anne Garland

TC 701 – Tribal Connections 2021 Discussion & Closing

August 31, 2021 – 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM

This session gives you the opportunity to engage with attendees to discuss what you’ve learned from others working in indigenous communities through the World Journey and how you will apply that insight to your work.

Candida Hunter

View agenda page for more details