OPM offers cultural training online

Federal employees can now go online to learn more about American Indian tribes and culture thanks to a new e-learning course.

Posted on the Office of Personnel Management’s GoLearn.gov, the course includes details about tribal governments in addition to cultural and historical facts.

“The training is rich with information [that] will better prepare government employees who collaborate with Native American/Alaska Native communities,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Steve Johnson at a press conference at the National Press Club this morning.

The course includes four learning modules, starting with an introduction and continuing with one that introduces tribal concepts, an overview of federal Indian law and policies, and a cultural orientation. The modules include voice-overs and links to additional resources, such as relevant laws and executive orders.

EPA was a part of a multiagency effort to develop the course, which included the Justice Department and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Federal Employee/Workforce Native Education and Training workgroup — a subcommittee of the Indian Affairs Working Group — produced it.

Nedra Darling, director of public affairs at the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, said no other training course has included the level of detail this one does. The program will teach government employees about tribal issues more efficiently, she added.

“They don’t have to spend the time meeting and money meeting with a tribe just to learn about the tribe,” she said.

Darling has experience teaching federal employees about American Indian culture. Being American Indian and sometimes the only point of reference for her culture in her office, she often found herself fielding questions from her co-workers.

“Not that I minded it at all, but having this [course] is much more efficient,” she said.

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