Think Indian Community Awareness Grants

Think Indian Community Awareness Grants of $2,500 are available to student groups and accredited higher education institutions. These grants encourage institutions who serve Native students to promote the positive message of “Think Indian,” the vibrancy of Native students, and the highlight the support provided by Native scholarship programs to their campus and community.

“Think Indian” was originally created as a public awareness campaign to promote the American Indian College Fund, and the many ways that its scholars contribute to, and change our world. Its message connected so deeply with Native students and institutions that it was revived in 2018, specifically to promote the College Fund’s scholarship, and other student programs.

The American Indian College Fund has created a grant program to highlight its “Think Indian” campaign, and scholarships program for Native students. The grants are intended to encourage institutions who serve Native students to promote the positive message of “Think Indian,” the vibrancy of Native students, and the highlight the support provided by Native scholarship programs to their campus and community. Projects must engage or include Native students.

Student groups and institutions can use grant funds for any activity or project that will promote the “Think Indian” campaign and scholarships in their community. Programs can include, but are not limited to:

  • Informational, social or artistic events
  • Art displays, installations or murals
  • Music performances or video screenings
  • Local awareness, publicity or marketing campaigns
  • Online/social media campaigns
  • Participation in existing campus or community events
  • Themed volunteer or service events (including Native vote or census projects)

CLICK HERE to view summaries of the 2019 awarded projects.

 

News & Events

Red Lake Nation College Celebrates Grand Opening of Minneapolis Site, Pioneering Tribal College Presence in U.S. Cities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Kayla Duane, kayla.duane@rlnc.edu, 218-766-4553

May 15, 2024 Minneapolis, Minnesota—Red Lake Nation College (RLNC) proudly announces the grand opening of its Minneapolis Site, marking a historic moment as the first tribal college and university (TCU) to establish a presence in a major U.S. city. Located at the forefront of downtown Minneapolis, RLNC’s expansion aims to fill a crucial void in higher education by offering culturally grounded, affordable, and accredited education to Native American communities residing in urban settings.

According to Minnesota Compass, 44.2% of Minnesota’s American Indian population resides in the Twin Cities, yet until now, there was no TCU (Tribal College & University) in the cities that provided culturally based higher education. RLNC seeks to address this disparity by bringing its mission of providing excellent higher education grounded in Ojibwe language and culture to students in the heart of Minneapolis.

“Our grand opening represents a significant step towards providing accessible education to Native American communities living in urban areas,” said Dan King, President of Red Lake Nation College. “By establishing our Minneapolis location, we are pioneering a new era of tribal college presence in major metropolitan centers, offering globally relevant courses steeped in Ojibwe culture to prepare students for success in the modern job market.”

RLNC, an accredited two-year tribal college located on the shores of Red Lake in Northern Minnesota, has already begun delivering courses through distance education to downtown Minneapolis students since Fall 2021. The new site, which was completed in the spring of 2024, will provide state-of-the-art facilities and services to support student success.

As a TCU in the Twin Cities, RLNC serves a unique market niche in higher education, focusing on Native communities while welcoming students of all tribal backgrounds through its open-enrollment policy. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and ensures rigorous academic standards and quality education delivery.

To celebrate its grand opening, RLNC is hosting a ceremony on Thursday, June 6th, 2024, from 2pm to 4pm, followed by music and social activities from 3pm to 6pm at 900 S. 3rd St. Minneapolis, MN, 55415. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the courses of study offered, career opportunities for graduates, and hear from Dan King, a prominent business leader and a Hereditary Chief of the Red Lake Nation, about his vision for the college and the services it offers.

For more information about Red Lake Nation College and to apply, visit rlnc.edu.

Red Lake Nation College

Red Lake Nation College

About Red Lake Nation CollegeRed Lake Nation College (RLNC) was established in 2001 to serve the Red Lake Nation in Red Lake, Minnesota. In June 2024, RLNC is opening its second site, the first-ever urban tribal college site, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Red Lake Nation College offers a range of certificate and academic degree programs designed to empower students and strengthen the Red Lake Nation community in a higher education environment that honors students’ Indigenous identities.

Photos: The new Red Lake Nation College campus at 900 S. 3rd Street in Minneapolis, Minn.

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

All-inclusive resource offers tips and recommendations for data building

May 23, 2024, Denver, Colo.— The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) has published a “Transfer Data Guidebook for Tribal Colleges and Universities.” The guidebook is the culmination of three years of research conducted under a $625,000 grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation, which examined the transfer landscape of the seven Montana tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to improve student achievement by creating a cohesive transfer system. Students receive a supported educational pathway from certificate to baccalaureate degrees to successfully transfer across the Montana TCU institutions for on-time degree completion. This new guide provides information pertinent for TCUs hoping to improve their student transfer data and processes.

With nearly 40% of all college students transferring at least once in their academic career, they are a critical yet often overlooked segment of the educational landscape. The most common transfer path for students is from a two-year college to a four-year institution, and many transfer students are first-generation and students of color. Unfortunately, studies have shown the majority of transfer students lose approximately 37% of their college credits when transferring. These factors are particularly important for TCUs, many of whom predominantly offer associate degrees to communities largely comprised of Native and first-generation students.

The guidebook assists TCUs by providing a basic understanding of transfer processes and supporting the development of transfer data practices. From software and security to transfer agreements and advising, the guide covers every aspect of creating transfer pathways. Utilizing a transfer data system can not only improve support of students transitioning to another institution but can also offer analytical insights that colleges can use to further streamline transfer processes.

This guidebook was made possible due to the cooperation between the College Fund and the Montana TCUs who participated in surveys, shared data, and provided a general understanding of the transfer landscape and programming necessities to help transfer students succeed. The collaboration led to the involved TCUs establishing 14 articulation agreements and the creation of a universal policy to support students, prevent credit loss, and assist with on-time graduation despite transfer. These achievements are examples of what the College Fund hopes the guidebook will help other TCUs accomplish.

Vice President of Research, Evaluation, and Faculty Development at the College Fund, David Sanders, said, “The Transfer Data Guidebook, developed in collaboration with the seven Montana TCUs and TCU Institutional Research, staff provides a comprehensive look at how TCUs might approach supporting transfer students both in and out of their institutions. It is the culmination of three years’ effort to develop transfer supports across Montana TCUs and highlights among other important areas to consider including articulation agreements, data for determining success support structures, systems infrastructure, etc. As such, the Transfer Data Guidebook is an invaluable resource for TCUs to utilize as they develop crucial services to support their students’ mobility.”

Sandra Boham, President of Salish Kootenai College, added, “For Tribal College students, who represent a large contingent of first generation, non-traditional, single parent, PELL eligible populations, a clear pathway for transfer is crucial. If they do not have a clear roadmap for transfer, they oftentimes find themselves in their final term of their academic program, very close to graduation and do not have the financial resources to complete their programs.” The guide is available for download at https://collegefund.org/tcu-transfer-data-guidebook-2023. TCUs can also request a hard copy from the College Fund by emailing Crystal Hedgepeth at chedgepeth@collegefund.org.

About the American Indian College Fund The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 34 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $17.4 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2022-23. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $319 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

JournalistsThe American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

Grant to help TCUs enrich their arts curricula by incorporating Indigenous practices

May 21, 2024, Denver, Colo.— The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) announced new efforts to enhance Native arts curriculum development programs at six tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Each of the participating TCUs will receive $100,000 to enrich their curricula by integrating Indigenous education values and incorporate Native knowledge, language, and cultural practices. The project will also help to expand institutional capacity, developing or revising academic courses, minors, and certificate and degree programs.

The six participating TCUs and their programs are:

      • Ilisagvik College, Barrow, Alaska
      • Iñupiat Art Curriculum Development and Enhancement
      • Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Washington
      • Xwel’xweleqw (A metaphor for the “people who survive)
      • Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana
      • Puti es sxʷilwisi: Continuing the Journey by Rethinking Culture and Language Education at SKC
      • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico
      • Weaving Art into the Curriculum
      • Stone Child College, Box Elder, Montana
      • Neiyahwahk Kahyahs Kahkitahsinahikechik (Traditional Chippewa-Cree Artwork)
      • United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota
      • Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ Native Arts

    American Indian College Fund President and CEO, Cheryl Crazy Bull, said, “Native arts are both the symbolic and the practical embodiment of Indigenous ways of knowing and being in the world. We are honored to support our communities as they increase the visibility of traditional and contemporary Native arts and appreciate the partnership with our TCUs and MACP that makes this possible.” This work, made possible through a three year, $600,000 project with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, will help to build a solid foundation to encourage the advancement of Native arts.

    About the American Indian College FundThe American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 34 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $17.4 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2022-23. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $319 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

    JournalistsThe American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.