American Indian Communities in Minnesota - Higher Education

American Indian Communities in Minnesota
Higher Education

Are there any specific statutory provisions addressing the post-secondary education of American Indian students?

Two such provisions exist. First, American Indian students attending the University of Minnesota-Morris can attend Morris tuition-free. Second, at the request of ten or more full-time American Indian students, post secondary institutions are required to establish an advisory council to recommend instructional programs and student services to meet the needs of American Indian students.

What unique post secondary education opportunities are available to American Indian students?

Minnesota has three tribal colleges that receive federal funds under the Tribally Controlled Community College Act to subsidize their operation. Each of the colleges is unique in its mission and revenue sources.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College was chartered in 1987 by the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee and initially operated in conjunction with Mesabi Community College. In 1988, Fond du Lac Community College established itself as a tribal college. In 1994, Fond du Lac was designated a land-grant institution and a co-governance relationship between the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities was created. Fond du Lac enrolls 704 students, 133 of whom are American Indians.

Leech Lake Tribal College was chartered by the Leech Lake Band of Chippewa in 1990 and is governed by the sovereignty and constitution of the tribe. The college has a board, whose members are enrolled members of the Leech Lake Nation. The college awards two-year degrees and states that its mission is to "center on the transmission of the Anishinabe language and culture." In 1994 it was designated a land grant institution.

The college recently entered into an agreement with Bemidji State University that allows students to pursue a four-year degree at the tribal college site. The college enrolls 250 students, only 8 percent of whom are non-Indian.

White Earth Tribal College is currently going through the application process to be designated a tribal college. Their goal is to specialize in the following programs: basic education, business, computer literacy, and computer science. They also plan to work with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to make programs available to students.

What special programs are available to American Indian students?

Both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) offer programs for American Indian students.

Examples of programs offered by the University of Minnesota are:

American Indian High School Research Apprenticeship Program: An eight-week summer program that offers hands-on work experience in forest research and natural resource management.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society Summer Math Camp: A three-week summer program for junior high school students.

American Indians Into Marine Sciences: Recruits undergraduate students in biology, chemistry, and natural resources, business administration, geology, or pre-law to participate in marine/aquatic sciences research.

Duluth Indian Teacher Training Program: Offers six to nine scholarships annually to undergraduate students working towards teacher licensure.

Family Mentor Program: Pairs American Indian students with local professionals.

Indians Into Medicine: Sponsors health career awareness workshops, focusing on tribally controlled secondary schools and tribal community colleges; offers math and science programs, courses, and science-related summer camps.

Examples of programs offered by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are:

Addressing Minority Student Underrepresentation in Mathematics and Science: Offered by St. Cloud State; a one-week summer camp serving students in grades 3 through 8.

Increasing Science Expertise on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation: Offered by Mankato State; provides summer activities in various areas of science for students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Minority Math, Science, and Computer Camps: Offered by St. Cloud State; summer residential science program for elementary and junior high students.

Native Americans Into Medicine: Offered by Bemidji State University to students interested in health careers. The program assists students with academic and career counseling, entrance exam preparation, and special projects associated with the medical environment. Program participants attend a six-week summer enrichment program at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. This program also is available to American Indian students at the University of Minnesota.

Summer Institutes in Computer Science: Offered by Fond du Lac Community College; two week-long summer institutes, one for students in grades 5 through 8, one for students in grades 9 through 12.

Summer Teen Research Encouraging Attitudes in Mathematics (STREAM): Ten-day experience for students in grades 7 and 8; also serves middle school students.

Both University of Minnesota and MnSCU campuses offer a broad range of support services to American Indian students on their campuses. Services include advising, mentoring, financial aid counseling, Indian student association, academic tutoring, and Indian cultural events. MnSCU offers courses on the following reservations: Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth.

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