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Education

Selected Results and Impacts for Tribal Colleges Land-Grant Institutions Grants Programs

Tribal Colleges Education Equity Grants Program

All of the 1994 land-grant institutions have experienced growth in their educational programs since the implementation of this program. Especially noteworthy are advances made in the arenas of dietetics and nutrition, environmental stewardship and natural resources development, and community development. The advances have come about through varying degrees of support given to all of the targeted areas, dependent on the individual institutional needs. The growth is reflected in the increased program competitiveness of the 1994s as partially documented in the addition of courses, curricula, and, in some instances, the development of accredited baccalaureate degrees. Furthermore, the 1994s have made great advances in their credibility as demonstrated in their recent success in obtaining additional grant moneys through highly competitive programs. Overall, there has been an increased ability of these institutions to help promote the needs of their respective tribal communities.

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Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 (Tribal Colleges Extension Services) Program

The following represents results and impacts for the Tribal Colleges Extension Services from activities that occurred between January 2003 and June 2004.

Chief Dull Knife College

Lame Deer, MT - According to the 2000 Census, the annual per capita income on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation is just $7,736. Unemployment among the work force is almost 20%, and more than 28% of residents live below the poverty level. Nearly one-quarter of reservation households lack basic telephone services. In response, Chief Dull Knife College (CDKC) Extension and USDA are providing outreach programs in community resource development that emphasize economic viability. Through community partnerships, CDKC Extension developed strategies to strengthen tribal enterprises, develop tourism opportunities, and attract new businesses and entrepreneurs. For instance, CDKC Extension facilitated the creation of a grassroots community development corporation (CDC) that represents reservation districts, local businesses, and community groups. Participants in the CDC developed their skills by evaluating tribal enterprises, creating their own articles and by-laws, and developing strategic economic plans for the reservation. CDKC Extension also provided workshops in e-commerce, financial literacy, and youth entrepreneurship. Through these efforts, economic development is becoming a reality for Northern Cheyenne residents.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Cloquet, MN - For thousands of years, the St. Louis River and its tributaries have been important to life in northeastern Minnesota. These waterways served as major transportation routes for Native Americans, fur traders, loggers, explorers, and missionaries. Today the waterways supply electricity and provide recreational opportunities; however, with increasing human development come environmental pollutants and contaminants. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) Extension is monitoring the health of the region's waterways by involving youngsters from 28 schools within the 3,634 square mile St. Louis River watershed. Since 1999, secondary school students and teachers have gathered chemical, physical, and biological data twice a year at river sites throughout the St. Louis River watershed. The USDA-funded St. Louis River-River Watch Project has grown to involve more than 900 students and teachers each year, with about 300 people attending the annual River Watch Congress, where participants share information with each other and local communities. In addition to receiving environmental education, students cultivate a life-long sense of stewardship toward the river and its communities. FDLTCC Extension and USDA are creatively integrating youth development and environmental sciences by engaging communities in extension, teaching, and applied research activities.

Fort Peck Community College

Poplar, MT - Reservation youth on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation face tough challenges, and Fort Peck Community College (FPCC) Extension and USDA are building youngsters' lifelong learning skills. The Youth, Leadership, and Volunteer Development Program is designed to engage young ones in healthy learning experiences that build their self-esteem and problem-solving skills. Activities such as equestrian training and gardening encourage kids to explore science, technology, and citizenship. These FPCC activities prompt youngsters to look at the complex issues facing their reservation communities and the world. Last year, 70 youth participated in one-week Kidz Kolleges, more than 50 youngsters enrolled in the Equestrian Program, and 134 adults and youth joined the Garden Club, planting and harvesting a two-acre community garden.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College

Hayward, WI - Reservation youth are often involved in high-risk behavior because they do not have adequate recreational activities and guidance in traditional Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa values. LCOOCC Extension developed the Living By The Seasons curriculum to teach youth important cultural values and skills. Youngsters also learn about nutrition by participating in community and household gardening projects. After completing these programs, 80% of youngsters said they wanted more cultural education, and 100% showed knowledge of diabetes prevention through healthy diet and nutrition practices.

Little Big Horn College

Crow Agency, MT - The Crow Indian Reservation covers approximately two million acres of remote land in south-central Montana and suffers the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the state. Little Big Horn College (LBHC) Extension and USDA are promoting economic development on the Crow Indian Reservation through two important community assets: agriculture and tourism. Agriculture is a major industry in Montana , and tourism is one of the state's fastest-growing sectors. LBHC Extension spearheaded the development of the Crow Chamber of Commerce, which has brought local agri-businesses together to create a comprehensive economic development plan for the reservation. A member of the Montana Tourism Alliance, LBHC Extension also enhances tourism opportunities by training local artisans in marketing, e-commerce, and small business management. In 2004, the tourism project generated 25 summer jobs for students and drew 152 participants to a performing arts workshop. Local artisans learned how to showcase their products via the Internet to a global marketplace, while tourists experienced the richness of Crow culture.

Salish Kootenai College

Pablo, MT - The Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana contains approximately 1.3 million acres of forested mountains, prairie grasslands, and cropland. Soil erosion, noxious weeds, and forest fires have all threatened this reservation's abundant natural resources, and Salish Kootenai College (SKC) Extension is working hard to protect the land. With USDA's support, SKC Extension uses locally produced native plants in culturally relevant and scientifically based ecological restoration projects throughout the reservation. After the devastating 2000 forest fires, extension staff organized community groups and governmental agencies to develop a coordinated reclamation plan for a 30,000-acre burn site. In 2003, the SKC Nursery produced about 15,000 native plants and propagated native seeds for many restoration projects. Research studies are evaluating the effectiveness of introducing native grasses into rangeland infested with invasive plants. A partnership with the Salish Kootenai Tribe's forestry department will create a premier cooperative native plant production, research, and demonstration center for the entire region.

Si Tanka University

Eagle Butte, SD - Economic development is a priority for the Cheyenne River Lakota Tribe, where unemployment on the reservation is about 18% and annual per capita income is $8,774 (2000 Census). Si Tanka University (STU) Extension and USDA are responding by developing alternative value-added marketing strategies and products for local ranchers and farmers. Through careful market analysis, product development, and small business training, STU Extension supports the creation of new local businesses and economic activity. Value-added products such as Lakota soup packages, fry bread mixes, and buffalo or beef retail cuts are developed for local markets. STU Extension believes that keeping consumer dollars within the local marketplace through value-added product marketing strengthens the reservation's businesses and economy.

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

Albuquerque, NM - Native American community members are often victimized by predatory lending schemes because they lack basic financial education and experience. In response, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) Extension provides financial information to Native American adults and teens through community workshops and integrated campus activities. The Financial Education Program has successfully expanded participants' financial knowledge and confidence on topics such as budgeting, credit, mortgages, saving, and taxes. The USDA-funded project has directly affected more than 300 Native American adults and youth since 2003.

United Tribes Technical College

Bismarck, ND - Doctors are diagnosing diabetes at disproportionate levels throughout Indian country. In North Dakota , the number of Native American children who are overweight continues to rise, which increases their risk for Type 2 diabetes. United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) Extension and USDA are promoting the historical and cultural relationship between Native peoples and the bison to emphasize proper nutrition, diet, and physical activity. Workshops are delivered to community members, college students, and young children. Last year UTTC Extension visited more than 150 elementary school children with nutrition education resource kits and healthy snacks. Nursing students, food service providers, daycare workers, and community members received nutrition education through courses, workshops, newsletters, and in-service training.

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Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program

The Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program has provided faculty and students at the 1994s with a mechanism for them to engage in research projects of practical value to their tribal communities and national interests. During the short time this program has been in existence, the research has begun to contribute to the resolution of tribal concerns (for example, phytoremediation of soils affected by mining operations, improved dietetics and nutrition, and restoration of native plant communities) and of national concerns (for example, the epidemiology of the mosquito-borne encephalitis, including the highly visible West Nile virus). Additionally, research efforts in such areas as aquaculture and international marketing offer hope for improving the economic basis of Native Americans.

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Tribal Colleges Endowment Fund

All of the 1994 land-grant institutions have experienced growth in their education programs since the implementation of the Endowment Fund. Especially noteworthy are the uses of their Endowment moneys by Turtle Mountain Community College and Haskell Indian Nations University. Turtle Mountain Community College has developed a hands-on alternative energy and energy conservation curriculum, and Haskell Indian Nations University has developed its Institute of Distance Education for delivering its curriculum to the Kansas-based Tribal Nations to promote rural development.

 

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