American Indian College Fund reports on higher education equity for Natives

02/13/2019 10:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
In this May 11, 2018 photo, Thomas Gray, left and Lloyd Gray stand with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. An attorney for the two Native American brothers pulled from a Colorado State University tour told the school that campus officers violated the teens’ constitutional rights when they questioned and patted them down without any suspicion of a crime. MARY HUDETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DENVER – After a parent attending a spring 2018 college tour called campus police on two Native Americans in the group, the American Indian College Fund responded by convening national higher education experts and Native students to address the social issues Native Americans face on campuses.

On Feb. 5, the AICF published Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education as a tool for higher education institutions to advance the visibility of Native American students at their institutions and to ensure that Native history, achievements and perspectives are respected.

According to an AICF release, the report highlights steps institutions can take with recruiting, financial aid, student orientation, recognition of Native lands, curriculum creation, establishment of meeting places for Native people, work with local tribes and more.

The release also states the report was crafted at the Indigenous Higher Education Equity Initiative in Denver in August, hosted by the AICF in cooperation with leadership from Colorado State University.

“Leadership, faculty, and staff from tribal colleges and universities; public and private mainstream colleges and universities; non-profit organizations; education foundations, institutes, and associations; and Native college students created a scalable plan for higher education institutions to make college campuses safer and more welcoming to Native people,” the release states.

According to the AICF, currently American Indians and Alaska Natives face a college access and completion crisis. Only 14 percent of them age 25 and older have a college degree – less than half of that of other groups in the United States.

“The American Indian College Fund believes that colleges and universities can use the Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education report as a guide, helping them to make campuses welcoming spaces for Native students,” the release states. “These efforts, along with financial access to college and tools for academic and social success, can increase the number of Native Americans with a college degree, resulting in increased opportunities for graduates, their families, and communities.”

To download a copy of the report, visit or send an email to


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