WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Education recently announced new awards totaling more than $11 million for the new Native American Language Resource Centers (NALRC) program, the first-ever Native American Teacher Retention Initiative (NATRI) program, and the State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program. Together, these awards seek to strengthen the vitality of Native American languages in schools, support Native American teachers, and ensure Tribal Educational Agencies can coordinate grant resources alongside state and local partners.
“Our efforts to raise the bar for academic achievement and support multilingual learners in tribal communities must include strengthening and revitalizing Native languages, and supporting the recruitment, retention, leadership, and empowerment of Native American educators,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These grant funds will provide Native American students with greater opportunities to learn in inclusive environments that uplift their cultures, revitalize their languages, and ultimately, promote their academic success and well-being. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to ensuring Native American students have access to an inclusive and culturally affirming education that’s also reflected in the teachers in their schools.”
The NALRC program will support the preservation and use of Native American languages in classrooms across the country. This funding will be dedicated to centers across three geographic regions – Central, Northwest, and West – as well as a national center to provide support to all states and regional center grantees. The centers will provide technical assistance for resource development, dissemination of research, leadership development, capacity-building services, and immersive, interactive learning experiences.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights “Broken Promises” report found there is a lack of educational opportunity for Native American students, including access to culturally competent teachers in Indian Country. In a first-ever program of its kind, NATRI will help address the shortage of Native American educators and promote retention by creating opportunities for Native teachers to serve in leadership roles in their schools. Grantees proposed projects that help educators of Native American students better provide culturally appropriate and effective instruction and support for Native American students such as creating professional learning communities, leadership roles for educators, accessible networks to expertise, Native teacher leadership models, mentoring programs, development taskforces, and continuing education credits throughout multiple states impacting dozens of tribal nations.
Finally, the DOE awarded $1.6 million to support the STEP program. STEP grants support projects that strengthen tribal self-determination and promote coordination and collaboration among tribal, state, and local educational agencies to meet the unique needs of Native students. Funded projects include supporting cross-agency data sharing agreements; culturally responsive Native American student identification; and facilitating systemic change focus areas related to college readiness, workforce development, and family engagement.
The NALRC grantees are:
|Grantee||States Served||Award Type||Award amount|
|Little Priest Tribal College||Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado||Regional Center (Central)||$349,945|
|University of Oregon||Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington||Regional Center (Northwest)||$349,567|
|University of Arizona||Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah||Regional Center (West)||$342,667|
|University of Hawaii||All States||National Center||$1,244, 880|
The NATRI grantees are:
|Stone Child College||Montana||$ 424,752|
|National Indian Education Association||District of Columbia||$ 150,251|
|Goldbelt Heritage Foundation||Alaska||$ 418,792|
|Little Wound School Board, Inc.||South Dakota||$ 244,592|
|American Indian Resource Center, Inc.||Oklahoma||$ 451,000|
|Sitting Bull College||North Dakota||$ 430,447|
|Arlee Joint School District #8||Montana||$ 382,151|
|Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe||Massachusetts||$ 469,411|
|Pala Band of Mission Indians||California||$ 601,225|
|Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.||Alaska||$ 500,000|
|American Indian Science and Engineering Society||New Mexico||$ 134,423|
|Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle School Board of Education, Inc.||New Mexico||$ 488,229|
|Cherokee Nation||Oklahoma||$ 392,514|
|Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University||Wisconsin||$ 445,467|
|Yukon-Koyukuk School District||Alaska||$ 448,880|
|Osage County Interlocal Cooperative||Oklahoma||$ 210,465|
The STEP grantees are:
|Nez Perce Tribe||Idaho||$ 466,388|
|Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma||Oklahoma||$ 502,510|
|Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||Wisconsin||$ 500,000|