On Thursday, the American Indian College Fund announced a new initiative to build environmental science programs for tribal colleges and universities located on or near Indian reservations in the Northern Great Plains (NGP).
The College Fund’s project called Obdaya Opta Tate Kin Kah’Boke, or Winds Blowing Across the Prairie, will revitalize environmental science programming to support students protecting and conserving the land, water, and livestock in Indigenous communities.
Aaniiih Nakoda College, Fort Peck Community College, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, Sitting Bull College, and United Tribes Technical College will receive two-year grants as part of the initiative. The program aims to build institutional capacity, develop vocational and post-secondary education programming and community outreach, and develop strategic partnerships and place-based research and stewardship opportunities to strengthen tribal nations and the NGP region the colleges serve.
The NGP region is a vast grassland located west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains and is home to an estimated 11,250,000 acres of tribal nation land.
“We are the college of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, a historically agrarian Native Nation, so it is incredibly fitting that we embark upon a project of this nature that revitalizes and nurtures our historical knowledge and ensures its future,” Twyla Baker, president of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, said in a press statement.
The College Fund is the country’s largest charity supporting Native Americans in higher education for 31 years.