Indigenous Student Identification Project

IESLN staff

Photo: Indigenous Education State Leaders Network staff members

Support for this work was provided by the AIR Equity Initiative.

The Indigenous Student Identification (ISI) Project works directly with state and local education agencies, tribes, federal agencies, and national Indigenous education professionals and organizations to improve equity through better Indigenous student identification policies and practices.

Co-led by AIR and the Indigenous Education State Leaders Network (IESLN), this project aims to:

  • Increase the collective impact of state education agencies in supporting Indigenous students within their states; and
  • Magnify the policymaking power of IESLN and other national Indigenous education professionals and organizations by supplying them with information, research, and tools to identify and advocate for students.

Indigenous Students Count Map and Report

In October 2023, the project released a new report, Indigenous Students Count: A Landscape Analysis of American Indian and Alaska Native Student Data in U.S. K-12 Public Schools, and interactive map exploring K–12 public school Indigenous student identification across the United States.

Explore the map, which shows several of the ways American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students are counted in the U.S. K–12 public school system and estimates student undercounts at the state and district level.

Indigenous Students Count map screenshot


Indigenous Education State Leaders Network (IESLN)

IESLN is a community of practice for state education agency staff and contractors working to support Indigenous students in their respective states. IESLN member states have met regularly since 2016 and collectively educate three fourths of all Native students in the United States.

IESLN logo


  • Build the capacity of state education agencies to leverage systems to support Native learners. 
  • Support the implementation and coordination of educational systems that serve Native students through meaningful and timely consultation with Indigenous Sovereign Nations and organizations.


  • Each American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian student achieves their full potential while maintaining their cultural identity through a culturally responsive/grounded/relevant education.
  • Indigenous students have access to their languages, learn their histories, and see themselves meaningfully represented in standards, curricula, and instructional practices.