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Education

Results and Impacts for the Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program

The following represents results and impacts for the Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program from activities that occurred between April 2003 and March 2005.

Mississippi State University

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has its own separate Wildlife and Parks Department. Each Choctaw community's hunting lands and community ponds are managed by this department, but the department did not have the tools or the experience to manage for wildlife or fisheries habitat enhancement. Although they included requests for equipment in their budget, they never received the necessary tools. The Choctaw Extension Indian Reservation Program provided department staff with the education they needed in the areas of wildlife and fisheries management. Recent budgets for the Wildlife Department are different from previous years. The department received funding for a new tractor, clipper, disk, and two community pond renovations, attributing this change in outcome to the increased technical quality and the overall presentation of needs to be addressed. Along with the two pond renovations for better fish habitat, the wildlife department will be able to plant food plots in all Choctaw communities and expand on existing plots.

Montana State University

An important issue of the Fort Belknap tribes is the need to train interested youth who are enrolled tribal members to become ranchers. The goal is to utilize the land and grazing resources of the Reservation while improving the economic stability of individual families. To address this issue, the Fort Belknap Extension Indian Reservation Program agent has partnered with the Montana Department of Agriculture to provide livestock loans to qualified youth 9-21 years of age residing on the Fort Belknap Reservation. These youngsters have been trained to develop livestock plans, including financial statements, income and expense records, lease agreements, and cattle projections. In the past 10 years, more than 60 youngsters have partnered with their parents. They have purchased over 600 head of bred cows to initiate small livestock herds of their own. This represents approximately $450,000 in livestock loans. Annual payments are being made, and more than 70% of these youngsters will become future ranchers of Fort Belknap.

One of the goals of the Fort Peck tribes is to establish extension education programs to develop life skills in youth. The Fort Peck Extension Indian Reservation Program is addressing this need by developing 4-H and other youth programs that are designed to strengthen leadership and citizenship skills among tribal youth. The White Wolf Song and Dance 4-H Club has more than 45 members, but as many as 45 additional local youth participate in weekly meetings. Twenty-five parent volunteers, at varied times, meet weekly with the youth throughout the year. The Club performs for many groups and at local and statewide events, including the Poplar Community Christmas Pow Wow, the Faith Lutheran Retirement Home, the Montana State 4-H Recreation Lab, and the Montana State University – Billings campus Pow Wow. The club was selected as a presenter for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial “Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future” traveling exhibit at selected sites in Montana. Based on feedback from parents and volunteers and through the extension agent's observations, 90 youth have gained self-esteem, leadership skills, citizenship skills, and other life skills through their involvement in native cultural events, native language training, 4-H officer and membership training, and by participating in club activities and educational learning experiences.

The Northern Cheyenne Reservation supports 45 commercial cow-calf ranches that manage 8,500 producing cows. These ranches produce approximately 7,000 feeder calves each year with a gross value exceeding $4 million. Reproductive efficiency, or breed back, is a critical factor in ranching success. Reproductive diseases greatly affect ranch profitability. Trichimonas foetus (Trich.) is a persistent reproductive disease that causes early-term abortions and leads to extremely high rates (25% to 45%) of non-pregnant cows. The Northern Cheyenne Reservation was widely infected with this organism and faced devastating reproductive losses. Trich. reaches maximum infection levels in three to five years. This is ample time for the disease to be spread into a neighboring herd before major symptoms are apparent. A partnership among the Northern Cheyenne Extension Indian Reservation Program, Chief Dull Knife College , and the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed and implemented an educational awareness campaign focused on Trich. management, with a goal of eradication of the disease. The project conducts an awareness program through workshops and bulletins and provides hands-on assistance with bull and cow testing. For this disease to be eradicated within two years, 100% of the Reservation's cattle herds must participate. Participation mandates pregnancy testing all cows and selling non-pregnant females, while also Trich. testing all bulls retained for breeding. In 2004, 36 producers worked with the extension agent and area veterinarians to schedule and pregnancy test 7,500 cows and 190 bulls. Eighty-eight percent of the cow herd and 45% of the bull battery have been tested so far.

New Mexico State University

The Jicarilla Apache Nation suffered from seven years of drought and tribal range conditions declined significantly. In response to this need, the Two-State Jicarilla Apache Extension Indian Reservation Program (EIRP) conducted educational programming on proper grazing management, range monitoring, and determining stocking rates. The program also has facilitated federal feed assistance programs on behalf of tribal producers. The program is working in conjunction with the Jicarilla Game and Fish Department, Jicarilla Environmental Protection Office, Jicarilla Water Commission, Jicarilla Tribal Government, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Natural Resources Office to review the effectiveness of the tribal range code. The determination was made that this code needs to be rewritten to provide clearer guidance to the community. The EIRP agent continues to serve on a committee to help get this code rewritten. Results of these efforts include tribal producers' reducing their stocking rates earlier than neighboring areas, enabling them to preserve a portion of their herds. This resulted in producers' taking advantage of higher prices in the cattle market. Accomplishing this, while also improving range conditions, has proven to be beneficial to the tribal herds and wildlife as well.

The Graduate School of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently concluded a Certified Public Managers (CPM) class on the Zuni Pueblo, emphasizing community leadership and mentorship. Several members of the class also serve on the Zuni Extension Indian Reservation Program (EIRP) Advisory Committee. In response to a class assignment to develop a project that would affect the larger community, the CPM students worked with Zuni EIRP to reestablish cultural connections with Native American youth, facilitate 4-H to become the leader in coordinating the many youth-serving organizations on the Zuni Pueblo, and focus on the community's agriculture heritage. Realizing that resources are vital to achievement of these goals, class members became involved in local volunteer leader recruitment, 4-H visibility in Zuni public schools, and tribal government allocation of agricultural lands. Through a three-day focused session, they created an educational opportunity for the community to explore ways to regain agricultural productivity through water development. They also participated in the New Mexico Tribal Task force to address resource needs before the state and federal legislatures. In short, Zuni youth and agricultural producers, while possibly never again to be a majority in the community, are so “visible, important and instrumental” that they have been the focus of a leadership and mentorship project. These grassroots priorities originated in the process of the Zuni EIRP advisory committee and continued through the actions of the CPM participants.

North Dakota State University

Fort Berthold 4-H programs are seeing a resurgence in active youth participation. By partnering resources and expertise from Fort Berthold Extension Indian Reservation Program and Mountrail County Extension offices, an after-school technology team offers hands-on technology learning experiences for fourth and fifth graders. This effort is of high interest to the youth and enables them to use technology in a practical, applicable manner. This effort also has increased awareness of 4-H opportunities and activities among school administration and parents.

Oregon State University

The Warm Springs Indian Reservation lies in the heart of central Oregon . Rangeland is a major component of the Reservation, and tribal members depend on it for grazing livestock, digging roots, and for wildlife management. In the last 50 to 60 years, western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) has spread because of a lack of natural fires on the range. Although it is a culturally significant plant, its over-dominance of the range has caused an imbalance in wildlife diversity and forage for livestock, an increase in fire severity, and an increase in soil erosion. The Extension Indian Reservation Program (EIRP) at Warm Springs addresses this problem by bringing together the tribal mill staff, tribal livestock producers, tribal fire management personnel, and members of the Tribal Range and Agriculture Department to address juniper removal on rangelands. Juniper removal began in June 2005 on 880 acres, to be followed by additional key areas in subsequent years. The project will provide field employment for tribal members who will be cross trained in fire fighting. The resulting juniper product will be stacked for use by tribal members and used in the Reservation's cogeneration facility at the lumber mill. Baseline data and post treatment data will be collected by the EIRP agent to measure the success of the treatment on rangeland health.

South Dakota State University

How much is that doggie on the prairie? “Too darn much” is the general consensus among ranchers on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Pine Ridge Extension Indian Reservation Program (EIRP) has been working with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Lakota College Extension Program, and other collaborators in dealing with the issue of rangeland and prairie dog management. About 100 producers and representatives from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, as well as federal and state agencies, participated in the annual EIRP Farm and Ranch Day and a follow-up Prairie Dog workshop. Presenters discussed Global Positioning Systems (GPS) mapping of prairie dog towns, current state and federal regulations, prairie dog control techniques and regulations, and options for restoration of the range after prairie dog control. EIRP helped organize a Prairie Dog Task Force with tribal and federal stakeholders to develop a natural resources management plan for trust land and parks land utilized by the Tribe's elk and bison herds. Groups including the Tribe's Land Committee and Lakota Stockgrowers are working with EIRP to initiate a producer education program on range management and a research project on rangeland restoration. The Tribe's Parks and Recreation department has begun a preliminary land assessment to set up the management plan, and an additional 40 producers have received Pesticide Applicator certifications through EIRP, in cooperation with the state.

Youth on the Rosebud Reservation face a variety of challenges: drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, school dropouts, teen pregnancy, diabetes, and gangs. Educators on the Reservation often have a hard time relating to the youth and getting students to make a connection between their culture and their education. The South Dakota Character Counts: We Are All Relatives curriculum uses Lakota culture and beliefs to help students realize their potential and their ability to effect change in their own lives. Getting students to be more accountable for their decisions and responsible for their own character building will help to decrease the threats and minimize the ease with which youth fall prey to making detrimental choices.

University of Alaska

The communities of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a tribal consortium of the 42 villages of interior Alaska, are served by EIRP and include both traditional agricultural productions and subsistence agriculture, defined in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act as those “customary and traditional uses of fish and wildlife and other renewable resources for food, clothing, shelter, and handicrafts.” Gardening and small-scale agricultural classes are provided in the native villages of Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome, Dillingham, and Noatak. Practical gardening experiences can provide fresh, nutritious food in rural and urban locations. Noatak is a rural village above the Arctic Circle, on the edge of the tree line. Fishing and berry picking are important traditional sources of food. In 2004, vegetable gardens contributed a bountiful harvest. With the help of University of Alaska - Fairbanks Extension agents, a grant was received to provide seed money for garden supplies and formal introductory science education on gardening by university faculty. Native students and teachers visited the Matanuska Valley for ideas for future gardens, such as using plastic row covers for warmer microclimates. Another village in southwestern Alaska obtained Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension grant funds to build moose fences around the community garden, resulting in increased vegetable production and the availability of fresh, nutritious food in this rural location. Extension also provided training classes on canning and drying of traditional fish, wildlife, and berry products in the communities of Tok, Nome, and Bethel, thereby increasing food safety in the storage of traditional foods and addressing the need to reduce botulism associated with traditional Alaska Native foods.

University of Arizona

Community building is the process of developing the capacity of local people to examine resources, identify a community vision, and take culturally sensitive action to create meaningful change. Extension's role is to provide asset-based training and services for community-based organizations that have limited resources to pay for the technical services that can increase internal capacities. This support allows communities such as those on the Hopi Reservation to focus on economic and cultural survival. The Extension Indian Reservation Program has been involved with the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development since 1999. Extension's technical assistance and mentoring support with the Hopi eventually grew into the development of a Hopi-run nonprofit organization known as Hopi Pu'tavi Project, Inc. (Pu'tavi means one path.) The Hopi began this as a capacity-building effort for a single village, and it has now grown to include 13 villages. As one of only two nonprofit organizations on the Reservation, Pu'tavi promotes learning, training, and business opportunities for the Hopi people on the Reservation, youth in particular.

With the assistance of the Extension Indian Reservation Program, the Hualapai Tribe re-established photo and trend monitoring plots across its rangeland and now uses this information to make management decisions about drought, livestock, and wildlife. Training for livestock producers involves a mobile computer lab that is used to introduce record keeping technology to producers. Few participants said they had used computers for livestock record keeping before the training. After in-depth livestock record-keeping training was offered, most of the participants who completed training evaluations said they are interested in using computers for their records and feel more comfortable using the technology. Of the four livestock associations on the Reservation, one association made changes to improve record keeping, and two associations implemented record keeping systems for the first time. Beef Quality Assurance education is also offered to producers. Eighty-five percent of those evaluating the program reported improvements in giving cattle injections properly and handling cattle without causing excess stress and damage to the meat. All producers who responded said they learned how to keep better animal health records. This program has led to positive behavioral changes among livestock producers and increased awareness of issues that have an impact on sustainable livestock production.

The San Carlos Cattle Associations and R-100 Tribal Ranch provide a significant economic boon to the San Carlos Apache Reservation by providing jobs and funds for tribal programs as well as income for individual cattle owners. To protect the cattle herds on the reservation, an emergency response plan for incidences of foreign animal disease was developed by the San Carlos Livestock Emergency Task Force formed to address homeland security and animal identification issues. The San Carlos Apache Extension Indian Reservation Program agent served as a member of the task force along with San Carlos Cattle Board, R-100 Ranch, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, San Carlos Planning, Wildlife Ranger, and Environmental Health personnel. The foreign animal disease seminar that Tribal Council members, ranch personnel, and cattle board members attended and the emergency response livestock disease plan that was drafted by the task force for the San Carlos Apache Reservation came at a time when federal and state organizations are emphasizing homeland security. Ranch personnel can now identify diseases and implement the emergency response plan, which was approved by Tribal Council in 2004.

The R-100 Tribal Cattle ranch, on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, has had a long history of working with the University of Arizona on research and education projects, from the 1930s through the mid 1990s. This relationship, however, had languished because of faculty retirements and change of R-100 ranch management. Additionally, much of the R-100 Tribal Ranch cattle herd was sold to pay tribal debts in 2002-2003. Tribal administrators initially developed a restocking plan for the R-100 Ranch which was not approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), because the budget and implementation plan were not well designed. University of Arizona Extension specialists, working with the San Carlos Apache Extension Indian Reservation Program agent, developed a new restocking and budget plan for R-100 tribal ranch. It was submitted to the BIA once again for approval. Working with the R-100 ranch, the extension agent, and local BIA personnel, these specialists developed a restocking budget to implement the plan, formulated a cross breeding plan for R-100 cattle, communicated with the Hereford Association on cattle breeding records, and traced old records. R-100 cattle have traditionally been purebred Hereford cattle, but ranch management in 1999-2003 had not kept registration records on R-100 cattle. Eighty percent of purebred Hereford cattle on the R-100 ranch not previously registered are now registered. This improves the ability to sell calves as purebred stock and will help to restore the reputation of the R-100 herd, which had diminished because of lack of purebred registration and recent destocking of the herd. The new restocking plan was approved by the BIA and the ranch began to purchase cattle to restock the herd with $2 million of tribal water rights money.

University of Florida

Many Native American groups face growing youth-at-risk components in their cultural communities. The Seminole Tribe 4-H and Extension Indian Reservation Program are responding with monthly education programs and activities that address needs such as legal problem solving and critical money management. Programs involve tribal and non-tribal leaders and recognized experts. Attendance at these programs has been considerable, with from 5% to 7% of tribal youth participating. Informal discussion among tribal members indicates, at the least, positive “changes in perception and behavior” of tribal youth and guardians. For example, informal interviews with tribal youth and adult members attending a program titled “Truth or Consequences: What Happens If?” suggested that youth and guardians now see local law enforcement as a friendly face, that is, someone to go to before trouble starts instead of running away from after a problem arises. Parents and elder guardians acknowledge having a better understanding of tribal community resources at their disposal. Both youth and adults described learning about responsibilities and rights of driving as described by Florida law. Reservation legal statistics will be compared yearly to evaluate whether a relationship exists between attending such programs and long-term behavioral changes.

University of Idaho

The Fort Hall Extension Indian Reservation Program (EIRP) works with the Fort Hall Reservation cattle associations, the Tribal Fisheries and Wildlife Department, the Land Use and other Tribal departments, and individuals to coordinate range utilization, enhance native plant species management, improve beef cattle management and improve riparian habitat management. The EIRP beef management program at the Fort Hall Reservation has resulted in several ranchers changing their beef management practices to meet quality guidelines. Four tribal members became certified in the Idaho Beef Quality Assurance Program. Two local ranchers modified their bull selection methods to meet criteria developed by local grazing associations and the Extension office. Permanent photo points were established on range units which enabled permittees to adequately assess range utilization levels on their particular allotments, resulting in improved grass use. The range surveys have demonstrated that the Reservation’s rangelands are in good, stable or improving condition. This has assisted the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Tribe in adjusting stocking rates and time management of grazing.

University of Nevada

Bovine Spongiform Encephalothapy (BSE) was discovered in the United States in 2004, stopping exports of U.S. meats. Foodborne diseases, such as E-coli, sicken thousands of American consumers annually. Thus, Beef Quality Assurance has become a national initiative of top priority to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, and Cooperative Extension systems throughout the nation. Through Nevada 's Extension Indian Reservation Program, Beef Quality Assurance programs are taught to Nevada 's Native American producers. In 2004, 40 producers were certified at level 1 BQA. By becoming BQA-certified, individuals sign an affidavit that they will implement and follow the guidelines taught in the BQA educational program. The Western Video and the Superior Livestock auctions, the two auctions that sell more than 80% of Nevada cattle, list cattle as Nevada BQA-certified on consignments originating from BQA-certified ranches. Producers state that a better demand is realized for cattle processed under BQA guidelines. This program has an impact on the way cattle are processed and marketed in Nevada.

University of Wyoming

Discipline is a declining attribute in many young people today. Archery, a sport that requires discipline of its participants, had been on the decline at the Wind River Reservation, and funds were not available to acquire or maintain equipment. The sport requires concentration and builds eye/hand coordination. In addition, it is fun for young people of all ages; success is almost immediate because everyone can hit the target. Through a partnership with the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, the Wind River Reservation Extension Indian Reservation Program agent met the requirements necessary to obtain archery equipment for the youth on the Reservation. This involved passing a written test and committing to introducing archery in the schools. With insurance issues resolved with the schools, tribal youth are now participating in 4-H archery. The behavior of the young people changes dramatically when they enter the archery range. They become students of discipline. They quickly learn safety rules and prompt each other on the rules. They ask questions of “why” and “how”, a sign that their skills of observation and concentration have increased and eye/hand coordination is being mastered. It is a sport in which boys and girls can participate equally.

Washington State University

Many of lands on the Colville Reservation have been lost to invasive noxious weeds. The weeds have taken over fields and rangelands and are creating a less desirable habitat for wildlife and livestock. Furthermore, surrounding croplands are being infested. To address this problem, the Quad County and Colville Bioagent Project was established as a collaborative effort involving the Colville Tribes, the U.S. Forest Service, Weed Boards and Washington State University (WSU) Extension offices in northeast Washington . Services provided by the WSU Extension Indian Reservation Program on the Colville Reservation and WSU-Ferry County Extension include collection of bioagents, release of insects, release site characteristic gathering, monitoring and mapping of release sites, and educational presentations and posters on weed identification and control options. The Bioagent Project has dramatically decreased the density of Diffuse Knapweed found on the Colville Reservation and has slowed the spread of Dalmatian Toadflax, two weeds of greatest threat to the livestock industry. The Reservation is seeing tremendous effects on bringing back native grasses and improving watersheds and wildlife and livestock forage over thousands of acres. It also has resulted in greatly reducing the need for long-term residual herbicides in selected areas. In addition, funding for this project has provided training and employment for Colville tribal members.

 

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