|Conference registration fees to be refunded in full to individuals and organizations that paid in advance|
|As the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) board of directors have come to the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 conference “Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math” until April 2021.|
WIEA president Brian Jackson says the health, safety and well-being of WIEA members, supporters, tribal nations in Wisconsin and general public remains the organization’s top priority.
“We deliberated for some time before coming to this decision as a board,” said Jackson. “We had to take into account first and foremost the safety of all involved,” continued Jackson.
Jackson also cited the many logistical issues in attempting to carry out this year’s conference as an additional factor in deciding to postpone until 2021.
“We felt there were and still are, too many unknowns that would affect our conference planning and timelines,” said Jackson. “This has been a difficult situation for all of us individually and collectively. This crisis is ongoing and with federal, state and tribal travel restrictions and stay-at-home mandates effectively extended through the end of April, we just don’t know when things will return to normal.”
Preliminary plans include holding the postponed conference at the same host location and venue as previously scheduled.
“The board agreed tentatively to keep Milwaukee as the host city, as well as Potawatomi Hotel & Casino as the host venue for the 2021 conference,” said Jackson.
The organization will offer full refunds of registration fees to individuals and organizations that paid in advance. In lieu of a full refund of this year’s conference registration fee, the option to pre-pay for the 2021 conference will also be extended to those who have already paid.
“If an individual or organization wishes to have their 2020 conference registration fees refunded, they have that option,” said Jackson.
“Likewise, if they wish for us to hold their registration fees in advance for next year’s conference, they have the option to pre-pay for the 2021 conference.”
In either case, WIEA will contact each registrant directly to determine which course of action best suits them.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our participants,” said Jackson. “We look forward to seeing everyone at our 2021 conference and thank all who have supported WIEA.”
WIEA kindly asks conference registrants to remain patient while the organization works through the refund process. Refunds may take between four to six weeks to be issued.
2020 WIEA Conference “Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math” Postponed
Conference to be held at future date and time to be determined
The Wisconsin Indian Education Association is closely monitoring the unfolding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and aware of numerous emergency travel and work restrictions enacted by employers, as well as tribal, state and federal government agencies in response. Currently, the immediate focus of the organization is the health, safety and well-being of our members, families, tribal nations and all people across Wisconsin. Due to rapidly changing circumstances, the board of directors in conjunction with the WIEA conference planning committee, have announced the postponement of the 2020 WIEA Conference “Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math”, which was scheduled for April 16-18, 2020, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.
“We’ve been forced to come to the obvious decision to postpone our 2020 conference,” said WIEA board president Brian Jackson. “We initially wanted to proceed with the annual conference in hopes that we would be able to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our day-to-day activities as an organization however, it appears that is no longer an option due to circumstances beyond our control,” added Jackson.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Monday, March 17 directed Department of Health Services Secretary designee Andrea Palm to issue an agency order prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more statewide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Notable was Evers’ statement that it is the decision of the tribes, which operate independently and are sovereign nations, whether to abide by the order or not.
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino also announced Monday that it would be closing indefinitely on March 17th.
The board, along with the conference planning committee, will be discussing potential future dates for the conference.
“Our tentative plans include holding the conference and related activities at a later date,” said Brittany LaMere, conference planning committee chairwoman. “We want to ensure the health and safety of all of our conference participants, WIEA conference staff, volunteers and the general public,” continued LaMere.
Conference registrants and vendors will be offered a refund of their registration fee if they choose not to attend the rescheduled conference. Once a future conference date has been set, WIEA will share additional information on the refund process as soon as it is available. WIEA kindly asks participants and those who have already paid their registration fee to remain patient while details of the rescheduled conference are sorted out.
“We hope all of those registered for this year’s conference continue to support the organization by attending the soon-to-be rescheduled conference,” said Jackson. “However, WIEA does understand that some individuals may be unable to attend due to conflicts in scheduling,” added Jackson.
The Wisconsin Indian Education Association will continue to follow the situation surrounding COVID-19 and urges our members and supporters to protect their health and welfare during these challenging times.
I ask that we all make an extra effort to check in on one-another to ensure our relatives, friends and neighbors are taken care of and have all the things they need to make it through this difficult situation,” said Jackson. “We suggest that everyone follow the recommended safety guidelines handed down from the CDC, as well as state and local public health officials to proactively address any concerns relative to the COVID-19 virus.”
The 2020 WIEA Conference titled Indigenous STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math will bring the best in Indian education together to share the latest in Native science, technology and engineering!
This year’s conference will take place April 16-18 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, WI.
Make sure you register early for this year’s conference to receive early bird pricing! Early bird rates have been extended until March 11! Click here to register.
Conference participants are encouraged to stay at Potawatomi Hotel at the significantly reduced rate of $109 per night. Make sure to use the following conference code WIE04162020 when you book your room online! You can visit the Potawatomi Hotel website here.
Additionally, we have overflow hotel accommodations at the Hampton Inn in Franklin, WI. Take advantage of Hampton Inn’s partnership with WIEA for this year’s conference and pay only $99 for your room as part of your conference experience! Simply visit the Hampton Inn’s WIEA conference page by clicking the following link to reserve your room today! http://bit.ly/HamptonInn-WIEA2020
Conference rates are as follows:
- Adult full conference Early bird rate $300 ($350 after March 11)
- Students 10-18 yrs/College Student Early bird rate $200 ($250 after March 11)
- Elders & Veterans rate $150
- Awards Banquet only $35
- Organization Group Early bird rate (groups of 6 or more) $275 ($350 after March 11)
Register for the state’s biggest American Indian conference of the year! Click here to register now!