Colleges With Innovative Programs to Support of Indigenous Americans

HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Native Americans, the first people in North America, are the least represented in higher education. They have the lowest enrollment rate of all ethnic groups. Many colleges are working to change this.

"Our treatment of this country’s Indigenous peoples has been pretty dismal," said Julia McCaulley, College Values Online Editor. "As the awareness of this injustice grows, many schools are taking huge strides to make their campuses more inclusive. They’re building solid support networks for their Native American student population. We have a long way to go to rectify the situation, but progress is being made. We’re happy to highlight the colleges who are leading the way in providing a more equitable future for our Indigenous students."

After intensive research and applying its own methodology, College Values Online found 30 American Colleges that Support Indigenous Students and Communities

Here are a few of the innovative programs:

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
In 2020, Cornell created the Indigenous Dispossession Project to identify all groups of indigenous people affected by the University’s foundation and subsequent operations. It will discuss with these communities possible remedies to the historical injustice. The university is also working to increase its Native American community’s size. It recently hired two experts in indigenous literature.

University of California, Davis
Davis, CA
The University of California, Davis is a veteran in the quest for indigenous equality. In 2021, the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas celebrated its 30th anniversary. Additionally, the college’s Department of Native American Studies has its roots in a program that started in 1969. It also has taken the important step of acknowledging that the campus is based on lands once occupied by indigenous people.

Institute of American Indian Arts
Santa Fe, New Mexico
In the 2020-2021 academic year, the Student Success Center at the Institute of American Indian Arts implemented a new action plan. It has two major priorities: improving students’ English and math abilities and redesigning its approach to advice. Another student success initiative is the New Freshman Summer Bridge Program. The college also works with New Mexico’s 22 Native American communities. For instance, it provides agriculture education to these communities to increase stronger food security.

Utah State University
Logan, Utah
The American Indian Support Project in the university’s Psychology Department has been around since 1986. It addresses the shortage of Native American Mental health professionals. Native American students trained in this program are supported through financial assistance, a full-time Native American faculty member, tutoring, and more. Other indigenous programs help Native American students enrolled in other departments.

University of Alaska, Anchorage 
Anchorage, Alaska
One of the most innovative indigenous outreach efforts is this university’s National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders. The center ensures that older Native Alaskans can have fulfilling lives within their communities. Native American students in the university also have access to their own dedicated services. These include the Native Early Transition Program, a week-long orientation program for incoming freshmen. 

University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
In 2021, the university’s researchers engaged in over 150 projects involving tribal communities. These ranged from community health work to archaeological discoveries. The university’s 2018 strategic plan focuses on engaging and supporting Native American communities. Students are supported by the division of Native American Student Affairs, which has numerous programs to help Native Americans in the transition from high school to college. 

Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, Arizona
The university’s Office of Indigenous Student Success grew from a program that began in 1994. It runs a range of services, such as counseling and peer-mentoring, to help Native American students. The university also has outreach efforts through the Native American Cultural Center. The Center is run by The Office of Native American Initiatives, which also has programs supporting indigenous people. These include the Institute for Native-serving Educators, the Tribal Leadership Initiative, and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. 

University of North Carolina, Pembroke
Pembroke, NC
In 2020 the university received a $1.5 million federal grant. The grant is being used to create the American Indian Heritage Center, which enhances both indigenous and non-indigenous college community members. Examples of the programming Center include the Indigenous Power Hour Series and the American Indian Career Network. Empowering Native American students and their communities has always been a strong part of the University of North Carolina, Pembroke’s identity. The university was founded for the purpose of educating Native Americans.

For the full list and ranking methodology, click here.

Contact: Julia McCaulley, Editor
Phone: 518-496-0845

SOURCE College Values Online