Indianz.Com > News > Department of Education awards more than $10 million in Native education grants
Miguel Cardona
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona appears at the Native language reception hosted by the National Indian Education Association in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2023. Photo: U.S. Department of Education
Department of Education awards more than $10 million in Native education grants
Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Department of Education has awarded more than $10 million in grants to support Native languages, Native teachers and Native students.

Almost $2.3 million was awarded as part of the Native American Language Resource Center Act, a new federal law. The money will be used to establish four centers — three regional and one nation — that will support the preservation and use of Native languages in classrooms across the country.

Another $6.2 million was awarded for the Native American Teacher Retention Initiative, another new program. They grants will be used to create leadership opportunities for Native teachers in 10 states and at the national level.

Finally, nearly $1.7 million was awarded under the State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program. The money supports tribal-state partnerships that will help address the needs of Native students in four states.

“Our efforts to Raise the Bar for academic achievement and support multilingual learners in tribal communities must include strengthening and revitalizing Native languages, and supporting the recruitment, retention, leadership, and empowerment of Native American educators,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release on Tuesday.

“These grant funds will provide Native American students with greater opportunities to learn in inclusive environments that uplift their cultures, revitalize their languages, and ultimately, promote their academic success and wellbeing,” said Cardona, who took part in the “Fight for Our Freedoms” College Tour with Vice President Kamala Harris in Arizona on Tuesday. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring Native American students have access to an inclusive and culturally affirming education that’s also reflected in the teachers in their schools.”

The Native American Language Resource Center Act was signed into law in January, following passage of S.989 during the 117th Congress, the prior session of the legislative branch of the U.S. government. The bipartisan bill’s sponsors include the leaders of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Of the four grantees, the University of Hawaii received the largest award of $1,244,880. The money will be used for the national Native language resource center through a partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University.

“Culturally-based instruction is critical to promoting and revitalizing Native languages,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the chair of the committee, said in a news release. “This funding will directly support educational institutions like the University of Hawai‘i in developing resources and fostering collaboration to promote the use of Native American languages across the country.”

“Native languages are key to understanding our history, culture, families, and communities,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the vice chair. “I am pleased to welcome these awards to a consortium and other recipients, including Alaska language leaders, to create Native American Language Resource Centers. I was proud to co-lead the legislation creating this program with Chairman Schatz in order to promote the important work of Native language revitalization.”

Native American Language Resource Center Act Grantees
GranteeStates ServedAward TypeAward amount
Little Priest Tribal CollegeNebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and ColoradoRegional Center (Central)$349,945
University of OregonAlaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and WashingtonRegional Center (Northwest)$349,567
University of ArizonaArizona, California, Nevada, and UtahRegional Center (West$342,667
University of HawaiiAll StatesNational Center$1,244,880

Native American Teacher Retention Initiative Grantees
GranteeLocationAward Amount
Stone Child CollegeMontana$424,752
National Indian Education AssociationDistrict of Columbia$150,251
Goldbelt Heritage FoundationAlaska$418,792
Little Wound School Board, Inc.South Dakota$244,592
American Indian Resource Center, Inc.Oklahoma$451,000
Sitting Bull CollegeNorth Dakota$430,447
Arlee Joint School District #8Montana$382,151
Mashpee Wampanoag TribeMassachusetts$469,411
Pala Band of Mission IndiansCalifornia$601,225
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.Alaska$500,000
American Indian Science and Engineering SocietyNew Mexico$134,423
Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle School Board of Education, Inc.New Mexico$488,229
Cherokee NationOklahoma$392,514
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe UniversityWisconsin$445,467
Yukon-Koyukuk School DistrictAlaska$448,880
Osage County Interlocal CooperativeOklahoma$210,465

State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) Grantees
GranteeLocationAward Amount
Nez Perce TribeIdaho$466,388
Sac and Fox Nation of OklahomaOklahoma$502,510
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa IndiansWisconsin$500,000