Education

American Indian College Fund awarded $600k to assist Indigenous Early Childhood Education

DENVER – The American Indian College Fund has been awarded a sizable grant to aid Native American youth attain college educations.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the College Fund a two-year $600,000 grant to help Indigenous Early Childhood Education Systemic Engagement and ECE Learning in Native American Communities program.

“Native people know that our children come to us from a sacred place and that their socialization is critical to their own well-being and to the well-being of tribal nations,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund in a prepared release. “We appreciate our partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation because it results in … adapting our teachings and practices into modern infrastructure, demonstrating resiliency and commitment to kinship and identity.”

According to the release, the grant money will be used to assist Native teachers to improve young children’s long-term educational attainment. Early childhood education can also reduce the need for special education and increase employment and earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the release, the College Fund’s two-year systemic engagement program will also provide program mentorship between tribal colleges and universities to help eliminate barriers for Native American college students seeking a degree in early childhood education. The systemic engagement program will support the dissemination of new knowledge and methods of culturally centered early childhood education in tribal college communities. The program began on Nov. 1, 2020.