ANA Supports the Great Work of Tribal Colleges and Universities

They’re assessing the status of Native languages and creating language nests. They’re strengthening tribal governments. They’re training new generations of workers. Throughout the country, the 37 tribal colleges and universities, which operate on more than 75 campuses in 15 States, are leaders in their communities. And in the past decade alone, the Administration for Native Americans has awarded more than two dozen grants, totaling $4.3 million, to assist Tribal colleges and universities make significant impacts towards helping Native communities thrive.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution recognizing the week beginning November 18th, 2013 at “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week.” We’re pleased to join with the Senate this week in support of the great work of tribal colleges and universities.

As an example of the work of these institutions, Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, North Dakota used a 2-year ANA grant to document, preserve, and transmit Turtle Mountain’s two native languages by identifying the Band’s remaining fluent speakers. With the help of 31 fluent speakers, most of them elders, project staff produced over 500 hours of oral documentation with the help of the college’s studio recording students. As a result of the elder-youth interactions, many of the youth involved began reconnecting with their tribal identity and participating in traditional activities and ceremonies.

With the help of a 3-year ANA grant from 2009-2012, the College of Menominee Nation used language immersion tables to help 342 tribal members increase their ability to speak the Menominee language. The project transformed language use on the reservation; by the end of the project, the project director reported that “people would bump into each other at the store and speak in Menominee…[It became] a spoken language, rather than a taught language.”

We acknowledge the important work of these institutions of higher education, and we support them in their commitment to teaching knowledge and skills that are grounded in cultural traditions and values.

Every year ANA provides over $40 million in competitive grants to Native American communities across the United States and in the Pacific territories in the areas of social and economic development, native language preservation and maintenance and environmental regulatory enhancement. For more information, visit www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ana.