Jodi Rave: Tribal colleges press for federal funds
"Montana tribal college leaders met Thursday with U.S. Sen. Jon Tester to discuss the future of chronically underfunded tribal colleges.

“You tell me what's going on and we can move forward,” Tester, a Montana Democrat and the newest member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, told a hall filled with educators at Blackfeet Community College.

One by one, the tribal college representatives outlined their top priorities, which routinely reflected a lack of resources - a problem shared by 34 tribal colleges across the country.

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium is requesting $75.3 million in the 2008 presidential budget. In 2006, Congress appropriated $55.2 million.

Melody Henry, president of Stone Child College on the Rocky Boy's Reservation, said she was proud her college has accomplished so much with so little money.

“We just got pavement,” she said, noting the dirt road she had to drive on to reach Blackfeet Community College in Browning.

Henry spoke of how 85 percent of all Native students pursuing higher education degrees attend a tribal college.

“Our doors are important,” she said. “If we can't keep them open, they won't have that opportunity.”

Tester called for the Montana tribal college summit after spending more than a year and a half on the Senate campaign trail, which led him into tribal communities across the state. He repeatedly heard Native people express their desire for quality education for their students. If elected, he told them he would return."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Tribal colleges detail funding concerns for Tester (The Missoulian 4/6)

Related Story:
Summit seeks ways to improve education on reservations (The Great Falls Tribune 4/6)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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