Capacity-Building Programs

Building Sustainability Pathways

  • Waziyatawin, Dakota author of What Does Justice Look Like-Discussing Indigenous Foodways and the Colonial Landscape

The American Indian College Fund’s three-year, $1.35 million Scholarly Emergence for Environmental Design and Stewardship (SEEDS) program will address environmental issues in Native communities with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs).

Upper-Midwest Tribal Colleges and Universities (click to enlarge)

The SEEDS program will support TCUs located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the grasslands region of Montana which are building and strengthening curriculum in the environmental sciences and related fields, while integrating place-based and inter-generational community knowledge to preserve and restore Native lifeways.

The SEEDS program will also help TCUs develop faculty; create degree programs; and implement processes to ensure student success.

TCUs are higher education centers of the American Indian nations they serve and have the potential to develop tribal environmental leaders in sustainability initiatives by offering the necessary academic preparation, research opportunities, and career work experiences for Native communities. Educated and trained experts in these fields can then address environmental issues facing American Indian communities through initiatives grounded in research and data.

The SEEDS program will:

  • Increase TCU capacity for strategic program planning, design, coordinated implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of best practices;
  • Increase TCU faculty, student, and tribal knowledge of critical environmental factors and changes necessary to advocate and steward natural resources more effectively;
  • Strengthen degree programming, curriculum, and research to inform land, water, and natural resource preservation and development policies on the local, tribal, regional and national levels;
  • Support TCUs, students, and faculty leadership development in the environment and sustainability fields;
  • Increase the TCU’s role in strategic stewardship of resources and knowledge and workforce education in the environmental sciences and related fields;
  • Build intertribal and institutional strategic partnerships with the TCUs;
  • Create program and curriculum innovations and contributions to the field, generating systemic TCU change.

The Scholarly Emergence for Environmental Design and Stewardship (SEEDS) program is made possible, in part, by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

Tribal College and University Grants

This grant opportunity is for Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to strengthen and expand their existing Environmental Sustainability programs, and to create Environmental Sustainability programs where none currently exist. The goal of this funding is to provide resources for TCUs to develop new and expand existing programs in Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources, Wildlife Biology, Fisheries, Environmental Engineering, Hydrology, Food Systems and other sustainability fields.
With this funding, TCUs have the unique opportunity to promote environmental sustainability in tribal communities using traditional knowledge to build culturally relevant curriculum embedded in Native concepts, values, and life ways. The maximum award for TCUs proposing to expand existing programming is $25,000. The maximum for TCUs creating new degree programming is $75,000. Please see attached sheet for more information.
Applications are closed.

TCU Student Internship Grants

The internship program is designed to create paid, place-based internship opportunities to enhance the student’s academic success and career development. Additionally, it is a further goal to support tribal colleges and universities in building capacity within the fields of the sciences, environmental science, natural resources, wildlife resources, wildlife management, sustainability, and food systems through experiential programming. Included with the funding, the College Fund will provide support in identifying, developing, and implementing internship opportunities.

Selected institutions will receive an award amount of $2,000 per intern and $1,000 per faculty advisor for a given 8-week internship project. Each internship project can have up to 2 interns. Each institution can have up to three internship projects. Please attached sheet for more information.
Applications are closed.

Faculty Professional Development

The American Indian College Fund is providing a one-time professional development grant to assist faculty members at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. TCU Faculty or adjunct instructors must be working in the field of environmental sustainability (with an emphasis on place-based knowledge). Grants are awarded directly to faculty members and can be used in a variety of ways (please see attached flyer). Maximum amount awarded is $2,000.
Applications are closed.

If you have any questions about any of the grants or fellowships, contact Kendra Teague at or 303.426.9929.

Read more: ‘Fellows Contribute to Sustainable Environment and Contribute to Communities’Mateen field image

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