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Native American Tribal Language and Culture Teachers

Program Overview

Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 380.1531f enables the Michigan Department of Education to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a federally recognized Native American Tribe, the board of a school district, or the board of directors of a public school academy that authorizes teachers who do not possess a valid Michigan teaching certificate to teach a Native American tribal language and culture class for Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) credit.

Memorandum of Understanding  

To begin this collaboration, a Native American tribe or Michigan school must obtain the MOU template from the Office of Educator Excellence (OEE) at 517-241-5000 or  The MOU and letter of support described below must be signed by leadership of the Native American tribe. At the end of the 3-year validity of the MOU, it can be renewed if agreed upon by all parties.

Letter of Support

Under the signed MOU the organization listed above must provide a letter of support for the specific educator(s) that has been identified for employment by a Michigan school. The letter must include the individual(s) name and school(s) of employment. This letter must be received by the MDE - Office of Educator Excellence (OEE) prior to placement in the teaching assignment.

Full-year Basic Substitute Permit

Once the letter of support has been submitted to OEE, the employing school district must apply for a Full-year Basic Substitute Permit for the language and culture teacher. Additional information is available for obtaining a permit. During the application process, the “Foreign MOU” option is selected, thereby waiving all the traditional permit requirements.


The letter of support must be on file with the OEE and the permit paid for and valid prior to employment, placement, or implementation of the program.

A school district may continue to employ the educator under the MOU for up to 3 years. A Full-year Basic Permit must be obtained yearly.