SUNY Potsdam Students Receive Valuable Lessons at Akwesasne Conference


SUNY Potsdam education students attended the Akwesasne Conference on March 2. For a caption, see the attached release.

Sixteen SUNY Potsdam education majors recently attended the Akwesasne Conference. These students will be completing field experiences and/or student teaching, and many have an interest in the Salmon River Central School District. The mission of the event was to learn more about the special aspects of teaching in a district with a rich Native American heritage.
The event was sponsored by the College’s Teacher Opportunity Corps, the Teacher/Leader Quality Partnerships Program and the school district, and was held at the St. Regis Mohawk School in Hogansburg.

Conference participants were greeted with a traditional Mohawk opening address presented by Akwesasne Board of Education Director Dr. Barry Montour. After explaining the significance of the opening address, Montour provided an excellent illustrated talk on the history and government of the Mohawk nation and Akwesasne.

Julie Reagan, a SUNY Potsdam clinical faculty member and professional development liaison to the Akwesasne area schools, led participants on a tour of the school to view science fair projects, reading lists, artwork and other classroom projects. Reagan showed students the many ways Mohawk history and culture is acknowledged throughout the school.

“Both Salmon River Central School District and the Akwesasne Mohawk Board of Education schools provide our pre-service teachers and fellow educators with a rich and diverse multicultural experience. I commend these districts for their progressive stance and for providing meaningful education to children in the 21st  century. They are models for all North Country schools,” said Reagan.
Following the conference luncheon, participants visited the St. Regis Mohawk Akwesasne Museum. Museum Director Sue Ellen Herne provided additional information about the history and culture of the St. Regis Mohawk nation by explaining the significance of the variety of artifacts and exhibits specific to Mohawk historical records and legends.

“Participants found the conference a valuable experience as they learned about Mohawk history and culture and the important role educators play in validating their students’ cultural heritage in the classroom,” said SUNY Potsdam’s Director of TOC and Student Support Services, Diana Fisher.

Following the conference, the education students posed for a photo. They included, clockwise from top left: Jamellah Lahens, Julie Hollis, Kayla Derouchie, Desirea Chamberlin, Carol MacDonald-Schmidt, Angie Ward, Elizabeth Hudson, Megan Breton, Heather Clark, Kelsey Eckler, Latesha Fussell, Robert Leabo, Bianca Jacobs, Erin Casey, Courtney Tripp and Juanita Warnock.

The Teacher Opportunity Corps and the Teacher/Leader Quality Partnerships Program are funded by SUNY Potsdam and grants administered by the New York State Education Department of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs, the Teacher Development Programs Unit and the New York State Higher Education Teacher/Leader Quality Partnerships Program.

For more information about the school of education, please visit their website at 

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.