Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education

Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education

A report from the American Indian College Fund offers a scalable plan for making college campuses safer and more welcoming to American Indians and Alaska Natives, of whom only 14 percent have a college degree. Developed by Native students, leaders of tribal and other colleges, and education experts convened by the fund in 2018 after a parent on a campus tour called the police with concerns about two Native Americans in the group, the report, Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education (20 pages, PDF), highlights steps institutions can take with regard to recruiting, financial aid, student orientation, recognition of Native lands, curriculum creation, establishment of meeting places for Native people, and work with local tribes. According to the report, the "invisibility" of Native students in American society and on campuses prevents their educational needs and aspirations from being met, and discourages many native youth from even applying to college. To expand Native students' college access and success, the report calls on institutions to commit to training and helping students, faculty, and staff to call out racism when it happens; educating college personnel about indigenous culture, history, and inclusion; examining curricula to ensure fair representation; and including Native student data in institutional data sets. 

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