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Jun 27, 2023 | TCU Press Releases

June 26, 2023
Contact: Michaela Welch

College of Menominee Nation’s Teacher Education Program Receives Grant to Support Indigenous Early Childhood Education from American Indian College Fund

The funding assists Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in their early childhood education programs


The College of Menominee Nation (CMN) has been selected as a recipient of the American Indian College Fund’s Ihduwiyayapi: Advancing Indigenous Early Childhood Education Program grant program.

The $500,000 awarded to CMN supports the Teacher Education Program’s Meniken project, meaning, “It grows well. It does well. It is a good thing. It is a good opportunity.” The goal of Meniken is to continue to build the capacity of CMN’s Teacher Education’s Indigenous Early Childhood Education program, improve teacher education students’ cultural knowledge through experiential learning and sharing opportunities, and collaborate and engage with community partners in honoring and advancing Indigenous education. Funding will support student internships, stipends, elder mentors, and materials for monthly talking circles and teachings where students will learn and engage in learning about traditional and contemporary Indigenous topics and handicrafts.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our program to continue to provide opportunities for our students to engage and immerse themselves in Indigenous teachings from their peers, elders, and community mentors through their participation in our programming that the College Fund generously supports,” says Dr. Kelli Chelberg, faculty member and project director for the Meniken project. “In addition, the support this project will provide through elder mentors, student teaching semester support, stipends, advising, and mentoring enables us to equip and train strong culturally responsive teachers that are teaching in our local community schools.”

The College Fund received funding from the Bezos Family Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation to support Indigenous Early Childhood Education programming at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). As a result, the College Fund has created a granting opportunity for eligible TCUs to build the capacity of their Indigenous Early Childhood Education (IECE) programs and to improve teacher education through family and community outreach, enhanced child developmental pedagogy, pathways development, enhanced capacity, and engagement in national conversations about IECE best practices and lessons learned.

Education programs at CMN include an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in early childhood education, a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary/middle school education.


The College of Menominee Nation is an accredited Tribal College that offers a variety of programs, from technical diplomas to baccalaureate degrees. CMN has two campuses with locations in Keshena and Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is open to all.

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