Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

David O’Connor Connecting with Educators

For David O’Connor, teaching and learning about Wisconsin’s First Nations and tribal communities is rooted in personal reflection and the sharing of stories.

O’Connor says that “having an understanding of who [you are] and where you come from helps you understand how to teach about communities or cultures that may be different from your own.” His own story is one of being a father and husband, a son and grandson, a nephew and uncle, an educator, a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

O’Connor is passionate about the opportunities he has to learn about and elevate the great work of Wisconsin administrators, librarians, and educators.

His passion comes through as he shares the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of First Nations and tribal communities of Wisconsin through conference presentations, professional development workshops, trainings and building relationships with educators. On any given day, you may find O’Connor at one of the twelve Cooperative Educational Service Agencies in Wisconsin, offering full-day training workshops.

When connecting with educators, he seeks to support their understanding of history, culture, and tribal sovereignty. This goal came through an important conversation O’Connor had with a tribal elder, in which she asked him to define culture. He called up every dictionary definition he could think of, feeling very uncertain of his response. Only later, after much reflection, did he come to realize that what she had been trying to communicate was that culture is not technical, nor is it just one thing.

Read more and watch the video here –