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Home > Projects > Project Intersect

Transition Projects for American Indian Youth

Intersecting Cultures: Where Anishinaabe Arts Overlap with Standards-Based Curriculum


Project Intersect was a four-year federally funded research-based project from July 2006 through June 2010 designed for American Indian and non-Indian students in grades K-8. The focus was to enhance students’ interest, understanding, enthusiasm, and performance in standards-based art education, language arts, mathematics, and science. By combining culturally competent art benchmarks Project Intersect developed new and effective interventions for arts education that integrates a culturally responsive model with standard-based education. This approach created a learning environment where children (American Indian and non-Indian) gain basic skills within two cultures.

Project Intersect worked with students in Independent School District 94-Cloquet, Minnesota and neighboring Fond du Lac Ojibwe School on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Additional collaborators were the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Art Education Program, and local American Indian artists.

The overall purpose of the project was to:

  1. partner with local American Indian artists to infuse culturally responsive American Indian visual and performing arts into K-8 arts education;
  2. integrate American Indian arts activities into language arts, math, and science education;
  3. ensure that this American Indian arts-based curriculum is aligned with state and national benchmarks and content standards in the visual and performing arts, language arts, math, and science;
  4. research the effectiveness of the culturally integrated American Indian curricular model in improving student academic performance in language arts, math, and science; and
  5. disseminate program results and outcomes for national and statewide replication.

The first year of Project Intersect involved the development of a Design Team that included 20-25 members chosen for their ability to provide essential linkages between the American Indian community, the elementary and middle schools, the tribal college; the Carlton County Arts Network, and the Indian Education Parent Committees. Team members also represented University of Minnesota art education faculty and Institute on Community Integration staff. Key staff of these organizations all contributed to the development of the project model, research design, and grant application. American Indian community representatives included parents, elders, and tribal council members, community members, Indian Education Committee members, Fond du Lac Museum staff, and administrators, as well as tribal college staff, local American Indian artists, and additional key stakeholders from the tribal community. School community representatives included 1-8 teachers, administrators, curriculum specialists, and education experts.


See Ojibwe Arts Integration Curriculum website and the related project, Culture-Based Arts Integration

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