By Melanie Wolff
This week, we are doing a #statespotlight for our lineup. There are 35 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States that serve nearly 17,000 native students nationally. The state of Montana has the largest number of Tribal Colleges and Universities, with 7 TCUs in its borders (equating to 20% of TCUs nationally). These seven tribal colleges have had a strong impact on the communities they serve and allow students to be immersed in their cultural traditions and language.
Aaniiih Nakoda College aims to serve the members of the Fort Belknap Indian reservation and adjacent communities. As a two-year public institution with 134 students, the college produced 35 Native certificate and associate’s degree holders in 2013-14. Their degree programs range from natural resource management and conservation, to carpentry and welding, to early childhood education.
Blackfeet Community College serves the Blackfeet reservation in Northwest Montana. In 2013-14, they graduated 76 Native students with associate’s degrees and 39 with certificates. The school has divisions in nursing, Piikani language and culture, business, workforce trades, and more.
Chief Dull Knife College resides on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in the southeast region of Montana. The school has a graduation rate of 47%, with 27 students graduating with associate’s degrees in 2013-2014. The college aims to provide a “culturally influenced education,” which blends the traditions of their past with learning necessary to be successful in the modern way of life.
The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes founded Fort Peck in 1977 with the purpose of bringing higher education to their counterparts who chose not to leave their homeland. Located in Poplar, Montana, Fort Peck serves about 350 students each year who seek their associate’s degrees or certificates from various programs.
Little Big Horn was founded in 1980 and it became a Land Grant Institution in 1994. The school was built for the Crow reservation, granting associate’s degrees in Arts and Sciences as well as certificates in “areas that reflect the developing economic opportunities and social needs of the Crow Indian Reservation and surrounding communities.” The college offers instruction through both the traditional classroom environment and distance education to about 310 students.
Salish Kootenai is located in Pablo, MT, with a student body of 809. The college specifically serves the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Nation located in the Western region of the state. Their graduation rate is above the national average at 50%, with Native students receiving 64 associate’s, 38 bachelor’s, and 27 certificates in the 2013-14 school year.
Stone Child serves the Rocky Boy Reservation in the center of the state, offering certificate programs, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in Native studies, health promotion, hospitality, and more. The school is 64% Native American Indian with 316 total undergraduate students. In particular, the college strives to preserve the Chippewa Cree language, culture, and history.