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WASHINGTON The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture Monday announced nearly $17 million in grants to tribal colleges and universities to support research, education and extension activities to support schools in American Indian communities focused on bolstering their students' learning in the areas of science and mathematics.
College of Menominee Nation Students
"For many Native American students, tribal colleges and universities are a critical option for moving beyond a high school education,"
said Sonny Ramaswamy, National Institute of Food and Agriculture director.
"We are proud to sponsor these tribal land-grant colleges and enable them to better serve the students who attend them as well as tribal communities."
Tribal land-grant colleges and universities infuse components of Native American culture in their teaching curriculum. For example, an environmental biology class may be combined with studies of native plant species. Through the tribal research grants, tribal colleges partner with other land-grant universities to address issues of interest to the local Native American communities, such as preserving tribal forests or protecting water quality.
Tribal college extension services reach out to Native American ranchers and farmers to improve farm profitability. They also provide vital health, safety and economic development information to tribal communities. The Tribal College Endowment supports facilities and other critical needs at these schools.
The Equity in Education Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 established 34 tribal colleges as land-grant universities. These institutions are tribally-controlled institutions of higher learning established to encourage American Indians to continue their education and to provide an environment that is culturally relevant to their students. National Institute of Food and Agriculture programs are intended to strengthen research, extension and teaching capacity in the food and agricultural sciences at these institutions.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $1.9 million in new grants through the Tribal College Research Grants program in fiscal year 2012. This program was designed to assist 1994 land-grant institutions (tribal colleges) build institutional research capacity through applied projects that address student educational needs and solve community, reservation or regional problems. FY 2012 awards include:
In addition, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture made $10.4 million in continuation grants for education and extension activities along with facility improvements and other critical needs at tribal colleges.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov
posted December 4, 2012 7:30 am est