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Haskell Indian Nations University
Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo: Auntie G
Haskell Indian Nations University to offer new agriculture business program
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Haskell Indian Nations University, a post-secondary institution in Kansas, will offer a new agriculture business degree program under a partnership with the Native American Agriculture Fund.

The program, to be housed at Haskell’s business school, will offer degree and certificate options, according to a news release. Students will learn about lending operations, risk management, regulatory compliance, customer service and other aspects of the agricultural and finance fields.

“I am excited to see Haskell implementing innovative programs to foster opportunities for the next generation of Native American farmers and ranchers,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, a political appointee at the Department of the Interior, said in the release. “This new program will help ensure that Indigenous farming students can build sustainable business models that support them, their families and our traditional food systems by bridging the gap between educational needs and agricultural financial literacy.”

News Release: New Haskell Indian Nations University educational partnership to improve opportunities in Tribal agriculture – [PDF]

“Haskell Indian Nations University looks forward to working with the Native American Agriculture Fund to advance the career opportunities and skillsets available to Native communities and individuals,” said Haskell Indian Nations University President Francis Arpan. “Through this grant, we hope to expand valuable resources to Native communities in the areas of agribusiness and beyond.”

The Native American Agriculture Fund provides grants to support programs that benefit farming and ranching in Indian Country. The charitable trust was created by the settlement of the Keepseagle class action lawsuit over racial discrimination at the Department of Agriculture.

“Through this educational program, the goal is to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the unique lending landscape of Indian Country and address the importance of improving capital access for Native producers,” said NAAF CEO Toni Stanger-McLaughlin.

“At NAAF, we are proud to support educational entities like Haskell as the stewards of education in our tribal communities and hope the certificate programs will become a useful tool in educating both students and non-students that serve their tribal communities,” said Toni Stanger-McLaughlin. “This new engagement will build off our work in providing access to capital through Community Development Financial Institutions and the creation of a new Other Financing Institution within the Farm Credit System called Native Agriculture Financial Services.”

According to the news release, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the partnership in remarks to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). The organization, which represents tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) across the nation, is hosting its 2024 legislative summit in Washington, D.C., this week.

AIHEC’s meeting coincides with National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week, which is being observed as the week of February 5, 2024.

“Our nation’s accredited TCUs strive to meet their students where they are and have made tremendous headway in the last 50 years,” AIHEC Interim President and CEO John Phillips said in a news release. “These place-based, community institutions serve in some of the most remote and impoverished locations in the country and are a beacon of hope for many of their students. We want lawmakers to know that when our students succeed, our communities, states, and our nation succeed.”

Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, introduced H.Res.981 to designate National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week. She highlighted Haskell in her state of Kansas.

“Tribal Colleges and Universities, including Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, provide unique educational opportunities for Native and non-Native students, and support the communities they serve through entrepreneurial and equivalency programs,” Davids said in a February 1 news release. “These institutions are critical because they develop our workforce capacity with knowledge and skills grounded in cultural traditions and values. I am proud to lead my colleagues in re-introducing this legislation.”