U.S. SENATE - U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines led a bipartisan group of colleagues Monday in designating the week beginning Feb. 28 as “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week” to highlight the importance of higher education in Indian Country.
“As a former educator, I know how critical it is that every Montanan has the opportunity to unlock their potential through a quality education,” Sen. Tester said in a press release. “Tribal Colleges and Universities give students the tools they need to succeed, especially as they’ve had to find new ways to keep their doors open and serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to join teachers, students and families across Big Sky Country in celebrating National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week as we acknowledge the great work they do for Montana every day.”
“Montana is home to incredible Tribal Colleges and Universities that provide critical educational and job-training services to Montanans,” Sen. Daines said. “I’m glad to celebrate Tribal Colleges and Universities Week and recognize the important role they have in our communities to help prepare young Montanans to succeed in life.”
Montana Tribal College and University Presidents weighed in on the Senators’ resolution:
“I am extremely pleased and grateful for the designation of the National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week,” Dr. David Yarlott Jr., President of Little Big Horn College and Chair for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Board said in the press release. “The designation provides recognition of our nations’ Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and the great work that we do. It prompts interested Congressional Leaders and staff members that may not know too much about TCUs to ask questions or research who we are and what we do. It's those inquiries that lead to the discovery of the tremendous work we are able to accomplish. TCUs are happy to showcase our successes and that we are a great return on investment of resources. I fully support the Resolution for the Designation of the National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week!”
“It is a great honor to have the week, beginning on February 28, declared as National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week,” Dr. Sean Chandler, President of Aaniiih Nakoda College said. “I wish to express a sincere kéneiʔihéiʔaanʔɔ/pinámaya (thank you) to Montana Senators Tester and Daines for the bipartisan acknowledgement of the importance of TCUs. Actions like this bring consciousness and understanding to TCUs and the people they serve. Through our Indigenous Lifeways, our TCUs provide the educational foundation and identity that are vital to the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of Indian Country.”
Tribal Colleges and Universities offer Native American students access to knowledge and skills grounded in cultural traditions and values. Montana is home to seven Tribal Colleges and Universities, the most of any state. These institutions serve thousands of Native and hundreds of non-Native students every year. Across the country, there are 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities operating 75 campuses in 16 states.
You can read the full resolution designating the Tribal Colleges and Universities Week HERE.