funding from the federal government, Fort Lewis College is creating
a new institute that will offer courses for teachers on American
Indian reservations and bring tribal scholars and elders together.
college will receive $50,000 in federal funding, which Congress
approved in the $328 billion fiscal 2004 omnibus-appropriations
bill. President Bush is expected to sign the bill.
money will go toward creating the institute, which is expected to
expand over time as the college receives additional funds, Fort
Lewis officials say.
planned Southwest Studies Institute is an important development
for the college and its Southwest Studies Department, said Richard
Ellis, department chairman. The institute will develop and support
academic activities in the department, he said.
college already has the Center of Southwest Studies, which has a
collection of artifacts and documents. The Southwest Studies Department
is separate from the center.
President Robert Dolphin Jr. said the institute will use the funds
to draw scholars with an interest in the area's ethnic history.
Tribal elders also will be brought together to talk about and document
the history of tribal cultures in the region. Through the collaborations,
materials and documents may be created that may be used in students'
academic studies or for use in developing courses, like a course
in law enforcement, Dolphin said.
we want to work heavily with the Native American and the Hispano
communities in the Southwest," Ellis said
said Fort Lewis hopes the program will draw the best tribal students
to the college. Ellis said the college also will be able to offer
some courses for reservation teachers. Establishing courses and
deciding which teachers participate will take some time to plan,
school is also considering offering programs specifically geared
toward the Southwest and American Indian history in the Southwest
for any teachers seeking recertification, Ellis said.
college had hoped for more money, but $50,000 is a good starting
point for the institute, Dolphin said. "One looks at this kind
of funding as seed money to begin a program," he said.
college will continue to seek funding to expand the program, he
said. Dolphin said he was pleased to have the support of Colorado's
two U.S. senators, Wayne Allard and Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
funding is a down payment on the future of our state and our nation,"
Allard said in a news release.
college wants to make sure the funding ties in with its missions
of working with American Indian tribes and teaching American Indian
students, said David Eppich, assistant to the Fort Lewis president.
About 700 American Indian students representing about 100 tribes
attend the college, about 17 percent of the student population.
American Indians pay no tuition to attend the college.