State Superintendent Brian Whiston does not have authority to withhold state aid from school districts with Native American mascots or logos, according to a legal opinion issued Thursday by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Click here to read the codes pertaining to this situation.
May 25th, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly signed a memorandum of understanding that expands collaboration and support between the agencies through shared resources, expertise and technical assistance to Tribal Education Departments involved in Oklahoma higher education initiatives.
“The State Regents and TEDNA share a mutual interest in improving educational opportunities and outcomes for American Indian and Alaskan native students,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The State Regents are proud to formalize this partnership with TEDNA to further assist our state’s Tribal Education Departments as they seek to enhance higher education programs and services.”
“The promise that our Native American communities have access to higher education is now becoming a reality through this partnership with the State Regents,” said U.S. Congressman Tom Cole. “This collaboration will open the necessary doors and build the fundamental resources to expand and ensure success for college-educated Native Americans. I am proud to support this initiative, and I look forward to witnessing its success.”
TEDNA supports higher education programs that provide opportunities for tribal nation populations, and the partnership agreement provides the framework for a concerted effort to promote college degree completion. TEDNA, the State Regents and Oklahoma institutions will continue to work collaboratively to ensure academic and social support resources are available to members of sovereign nations headquartered in Oklahoma.
“Partnering with the State Regents through the Reach Higher program is a great opportunity for Tribal nations and their education departments,” said Quinton Roman Nose, executive director of TEDNA. “The partnership ultimately works toward overcoming re-enrollment barriers affecting Native American students in higher education. This is one of many monumental steps that will benefit the future of Oklahoma and Indian Country. TEDNA is especially proud to engage with the OSRHE on such a historic collaboration.”
• S.1163, the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act. The bill extends grants awarded under the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act from three years to five years. The committee held a hearing on November 18, 2015.
• S.2304, the Tribal Early Childhood, Education, and Related Services Integration Act. The bill creates a demonstration project so tribes, tribal education institutions and tribal organizations can develop early childhood education programs. The committee held a hearing on April 6.
• S.2739, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act. The bill compensates the Spokane Tribe of Washington for land lost to the Grand Coulee Dam. The committee hasn’t held a hearing on the bill during the 114th Congress but prior versions have been advanced in the past.
The legislative hearing will focus on two bills. They are:
S. 2304, a bill to provide for tribal demonstration projects for the integration of early childhood development, education, including Native language and culture, and related services, for evaluation of those demonstration projects, and for other purposes;
S. 2468, a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to carry out a 5-year demonstration program to provide grants to eligible Indian tribes for the construction of tribal schools, and for other purposes;
S. 2580, a bill to establish the Indian Education Agency to streamline the administration of Indian education, and for other purposes;
S. 2711, a bill to expand opportunity for Native American Children through additional options in education, and for other purposes.
TEDNA’s Kerry Venegas, Vice-President (Hoopa Valley Tribe) testified in front of the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on March 17, 2016 in Washington D.C.