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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 17, 2001 - Issue 49


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Local Tribe Donates $900,000 for Indian Students


Shakopee Valley News, Shakopee, MN

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community recently made history by donating a total of $900,000 over a three-year period to the American Indian College Fund (AICF).

This is the first time that any tribe has given such a donation to the AICF. The donation, in three annual installments of $300,000, will be used to endow a scholarship fund for Indian students.

"This gift is very important in Indian history because it is the first time a tribe has committed to supporting scholarships for all American Indian students across the country," said AICF Executive Director Richard Williams. "We deeply appreciate the generosity and care of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to support education for all Indian people."

The grant will be used as a matching-challenge fund for other tribal nations to build an endowed scholarship fund for Indian students. Once matched, the interest generated by the endowment will be distributed to Indians attending accredited colleges or universities.

SMDC Chairman Stanley Crooks said the tribe is "happy to support such a worthwhile endeavor. Nothing is more important to the community than the future of Native American youth.

"I think the youth who will receive these scholarships will be able to do great things to help their people. They live in both worlds: Indian and non-Indian, and now they will have access to the best educational opportunities in America."

The American Indian College Fund, formed in 1989, has spent more than a decade helping to increase enrollment and improve retention rates by providing funds for scholarships to thousands of American Indian students and raising support for other tribal college development needs.

American Indians have the lowest levels of educational attainment and the highest rates of poverty of any group in the United States. According to a 1999-2000 study by the American Council on Education, Indian students had a 33 percent graduation rate at public colleges.
Since the tribal colleges created the American Indian College Fund:
  • The number of American Indian students served has grown from 10,000 to more than 26,000.
  • The number of tribal colleges increased from 26 in 1989 to 32 in 2000.
  • Four schools have gained the accreditation needed to award a bachelor's degree and two now provide accredited master's degrees.
  • 91 percent of tribal college graduates become employed or seek a higher degree after having had a successful education experience at a tribal college.
In 2000, the American Indian College Fund distributed $4 million for student scholarships, $310,000 for cultural preservation projects; $31,000 for tribal college Student of the Year awards, and $8 million for tribal college capital projects.

Over the past three years, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community has donated more than $12 million to Indian tribes and non-profit entities.



     Maps by Travel

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