Interior Invests $300,000 in National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland announced that the Department of the Interior is transferring more than $300,000 to the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education, a federally chartered charitable non-profit corporation established by Congress to further educational opportunities for American Indian students attending schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the renewal of the fund, which had been inactive for decades, at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit. This investment will allow the fund to continue its efforts to undertake projects for the direct benefit of students attending Bureau of Indian Education schools.

“We have worked closely with the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education since Secretary Haaland announced the renewal of the non-profit last year, and we’re pleased to see the progress the board has made so far,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Today’s investment is one step among many that we are taking to support tribally led education initiatives, including our work on Native language revitalization.”

The fund’s mission is to promote educational opportunities through increasing the available resources by bringing together revenue from philanthropic, private and public sectors. This investment will measurably improve the academic and life outcomes for students and will support the Bureau of Indian Education’s mission of delivering a culturally relevant, high-quality education, which includes Native language revitalization efforts.

“The fund aims to be a catalyst to support the transformation of the BIE into a model of Indigenous education and exemplar of what education can embody for Native American youth,” said Kara Bobroff, Chair of the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education board of directors. “The fund’s work is grounded in ‘re-imagination,’ meaning our priority is to ensure culture, language and student well-being are at the forefront of every student’s educational journey.”

The renewed collaborative effort to develop new and sustainable funding will help create curricula from an Indigenous lens and center programming, culture-based models and language learning in BIE schools.

This investment was funded by donations previously received by the Department for purposes aligned with the fund’s mission.

The fund board members include: Kara Bobroff, Dine/Lakota; Regis Pecos, Cochiti Pueblo; Cecelia Fire Thunder, Oglala Lakota; Curtis Chavez, Ph.D., Cochiti Pueblo; Emily White Hat, Sicangu Lakota, and Virgil Moorehead, Ph.D., Yurok/Tolowa.