December 22nd, 2008
Tim Giago writes on tribal colleges on Indianz.com. Read the entire piece.
“Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), stumbled across a great disparity while seeking appropriations for the Native American colleges. â€œIt was appropriations time and I was frankly shocked to discover that a federally chartered college like Howard University, a school for African American students, was getting $13,000 per student while the Tribally Controlled Indian Colleges were getting only $1,700 per student. Inouye made it his goal to close that gap.
There are 37 Indian colleges scattered across Indian country. Most are located on isolated Indian reservations and for the first time in the history of this country Native Americans have the opportunity to seek higher education degrees on their homelands. I believe that the Indian colleges are one of Americaâ€™s best kept secrets. . . .
[Sinte Gleska College President Lionel] Bordeaux believes there are two major things that stand in the way of making the Indian colleges a total success; funding and accreditation. He believes the Indian colleges had to sacrifice much of the traditions and culture of their people in order to qualify for the accreditations that would validate their existence. â€œWe have Lakota elders with a wealth of knowledge, elders that are traditional Lakota speakers, who would be a valuable resource for the colleges, but because of the stringent rules of accreditations, we are hard-pressed to use them because they do not have the degrees or credentials,â€ Bordeaux said. He would like to see all of the colleges push for accreditation based on tribal law, culture and traditions. â€œWe need to use our group and our intellect to handle our own accreditation,â€ he said.