American Indian College
DENVER The American Indian College Fund received a two-year,
$600,000 grant from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to help tribal
college communities strengthen and expand the pipeline for Native
teachers through its Indigenous Early Childhood Education Systemic
Engagement and ECE Learning in Native American Communities program.
Early childhood education can help close the college education
attainment gap among American Indians and Alaska Nativeswhich
is currently less than half of other groups at 14.8 percentby
improving students' academic achievement, according to the U.S.
Department of Education.
Indigenous teachers serve as critical role models engendering the
success of young Native American students, while understanding the
unique needs of their students. In addition to improving young children's
long-term educational attainment, early childhood education can
also reduce the need for special education and increase employment
and earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The American Indian College Fund's two-year systemic engagement
program will provide program mentorship between tribal colleges
and universities (TCUs) and their students and will help increase
TCUs' capacity to address and eliminate barriers for Native American
college students seeking a degree in early childhood education.
The systemic engagement program will support dissemination of new
knowledge and methods of culturally centered early childhood education
in tribal college communities.
"Native people know that our children come to us from a sacred
place and that their socialization is critical to their own well-being
and to the well-being of tribal nations. We appreciate our partnership
with The W.K. Kellogg Foundation because it results in our TCUs
adapting our teachings and practices into modern infrastructure,
demonstrating resiliency and commitment to kinship and identity,"
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College
The program is already underway. It began November 1, 2020.