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nanich pus kəmtəks

In Pursuit of Knowledge

Program Overview

The Native Education Program provides Programs and Services and Cultural Enrichment opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students.
  • Academic Coaching
  • Native Clubs for High School
  • Family Enrichment Nights
  • NEP Graduation Ceremony
  • Annual AIAN Celebration
  • Culturally-based Academic Summer School

We also provide family and student advocacy for school meetings, college and scholarship info, as well as mentoring. Our mission is that all students graduate and have a successful life.

Cultural Enrichment Night!

Introduces Mariah Gladstone,
She developed Indigikitchen, an online cooking platform, a cooking show that teaches traditional Native American recipes to revitalize and re-imagine Native foods, and we’ll be tying it all together with Geography by Dr. Ken Carano.

This was an interactive online ZOOM event that took place April 28th, we are working on making our Enrichment Night recordings available for later viewing.


Enrichment Night w/ Judy Bluehorse Skelton

Native Ed Newsletter!

(Download Here)

Indigenous Storytelling Night!

We come together for the second of this series, Thursday January 27th with acclaimed author Tim Tingle for a night of storytelling and mysticism!

This will be an interactive online ZOOM event!

JOIN HERE!!    Passcode:079883

Part2!!Storytelling Night January 27th 6pm

2021 AIAN Celebration!

Join us as we ring in Native Heritage Month with the 4th annual American Indian Alaskan Native Celebration, a celebration of Native Arts and Culture. This year we have special guests “Mike Bone” Lil Mike and Funny Bone from the Hulu hit series Reservation Dogs. This virtual event will by guest hosted by Fish Martinez aka 28thaNative. There will be a special Student Art Showcase and other student led activities throughout the evening! Please be sure to fill out the survey below, it will help guide our program for next year!

Watch it here!

AIAN Celebration Poster

2022 NEP Graduation Celebration

2022  Graduation Native Education Graduation Celebration

Since the mid 90’s, the Native Education Program, and Parent Advisory Committee have sponsored this special celebration in honor of Native Education graduates earning a diploma, as well as those earning High School completion and GED.  You can review graduation requirements on our website.

This year, the Native Education Graduation Celebration is scheduled for Sunday May 15th, at 4:00 p.m. and will be held at the North Salem High School Auditorium in Salem, Oregon.  The formal celebration involves 300-400 people and includes a Native drum, color guard, blessing, gifting of the graduates, and a keynote speaker.  All students will be gifted with a handmade heirloom quality Pendleton Wool Graduation Stole, a beaded feather and framed graduation certificate.  Photos of the ceremony will be available to download from our website. Additionally, the graduation ceremony may be filmed and broadcast on Capitol Community Media.

As part of the ceremony, we acknowledge each student by saying a few words about them.  Please complete the online Senior bio form with your student to ensure they are properly recognized and submitted no later than Wednesday, May 11th, 2022, if you need a paper form please request one by emailing,

 NEP 2021-22 Calendar


Academic Coaching Now Available Mondays and Wednesdays!

Academic CoachingAcademic Coaching Flier

Students can join through Canvas HERE!

Native Ed in the District News

  • Native Education Program

Native Education Program 2022 PAC election now open

May 15, 2022|

Vote Today! The Native Education Program 2022 PAC elections are here! Please take time to vote. Voting closes on Friday, May 27, 2022. The Parent Advisory Committee helps to steer the direction of the Native Education Program, it gives our families and community a voice and a hand in Native Ed. programming and [...]

  • Native American Heritage Month 2021

Welcome to Native American Heritage Month 2021

November 1, 2021|

Superintendent Christy Perry visited the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde community in Yamhill County last week. Below is a message from Superintendent Perry in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. Superintendent Perry visits Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde community in [...]

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American Indian Alaskan Native Celebration – Saturday, Nov. 6

November 1, 2021|

Join us in celebrating American Indian Alaskan Native Month in November at the American Indian Alaskan Native Celebration 2021. The celebration features Lil Mike & Funny Bone from the Hulu hit series "Reservation Dogs" and "America's Got Talent," along with special guest host Fish Martinez, aka "28thaNative." Presenation includes live Q&A's! Presented by the [...]

  • Students dancing

Community Learning Session – Monday, Nov. 8

November 1, 2021|

Community Learning Session: Government to Government Relations Learn about Tribal government history during Salem-Keizer’s first Community Learning Session Salem-Keizer Public Schools is partnering with the community to provide a series of Community Learning Sessions throughout the 2021-22 school year. The topic for the first meeting is Government-to-Government Relations and will be hosted by the [...]

NEP Calendar

The Native Education Program Team!

Meet the NEP Team!

Shelby Maerz

Shelby Maerz

Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde is the Program Associate for the Native Education Program. She wears many hats, but most importantly ensures the nuts and bolts of the Native Education Program are good and tight. With an expansive knowledge of the Program as a whole and a guide to the NEP Universe, Shelby may just know the answer. We think Kitty Purry would agree.

Shelby Maerz

Flora Gutierrez

Flora is our Senior Secretary, she is the grease on the wheels that keep everything running smooth with the Native Education Program. She ensures that all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, and is herself a wealth of knowledge. She cares deeply about the students and community we serve and leaves no stone unturned to help in the mission of seeing all students graduate and prepare for a successful life. 

Shelby Maerz

Jennifer Hook

Jennifer is a Citizen of the Mowa Band of Choctaw Indians and is the Recruitment Specialist for Native Education, she helps to ensure all AI/AN Students have access to the programs and services NEP Provides, she works directly with the CRF’s to ensure all of our students are counted. She is hands on when it comes to serving our students and is a great person to talk to about how to get your student involved with NEP.

Cultural Resource Facilitators

The role of Cultural Resource Facilitator is to bridge the gap between students and families of the AI/AN Community and SKPS. We act as a resource for students and families and can act as a conduit for other resources for AI/AN Students, we attend school meetings, IEP’s, parent teacher conferences etc. and assist with getting resources to our High School students (soon to include k-12) through our newly created Native Clubs network. We also work directly with schools and staff to address students needs, we keep track of our students and are there to offer support and guidance along the trail to graduation!

North Salem

(North Salem, McKay feeder system Roberts/Alt Ed)

Che Finch (Mr.Finch)

Citizen of the Willowa Band and Whitebird Band Nimiipuu (Nez Perce Tribe) and Ft. McDermott Northern Paiute, Mr. Finch is an artist, emcee, producer in his own time and serves the North Salem, McKay, and Roberts High Schools and Feeder system as a Cultural Resource Facilitator. 

Shelby Maerz

South Salem

(South Salem, and Sprague High School feeder system.)

Kunu Bearchum

Citizen of the HoChunk Nation, and Northern Cheyenne. Kunu is a performing artist and filmmaker in his spare time and serves the Sprague, and South High Schools and feeder system as a Cultural Resource Facilitator.

Shelby Maerz

West Salem/ Keizer

(West Salem, McNary Highschool feeder system)

Savanna Rilatos

Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. Savanna is passionate about Native Youth and is a Native American Studies student, serves the McNary and West High Schools and feeder system as a Cultural Resource Facilitator.

Shelby Maerz

There are many facets to the Native Education Program, and we are committed to ensure that our AI/AN population are counted and given equitable resources in the Salem Keizer Public School system. We invite you to get in touch with any one of us if you have any questions.

Contact Us




Paulus Admin Center
Native Education Program
1309 Ferry St SE
Salem, OR 97301