IAIA Developing Lifelong Learning Center

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded a $2 million planning grant to the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) to develop a Lifelong Learning Center. The center will be located on the IAIA campus, twelve miles southwest of downtown Santa Fe, NM. It will serve the educational needs of indigenous people, tribes, organizations, and communities. It will educate mainstream people about American Indian art, traditional knowledge, and culture. And it will provide earned income for the institute. Kellogg has funded similar centers throughout the world but none specifically for American Indians.

The LLC Complex on the IAIA Campus will include a conference center with a hotel and restaurant to be used for institutes, seminars, conferences, meetings, and workshops. State-of-the-art technology and telecommunications capability will be integrated into the facility to benefit both the audiences who attend programs and others who cannot through an enhanced program of distance learning. The complex will also include high-quality residential and dining facilities and a performance center.

LLC programming will include creative tribal governance and economic development, health care, education, the arts and cultural research, and cultural studies. The LLC will serve both Native people from throughout the United States and other nations and non-Native people who can benefit from learning about Native American traditions.

The Native audience will consist of out-of-school and nontraditional adult learners; workers and artists seeking to upgrade skills; leaders hoping to incorporate more creativity into their tribes’ planning, management, and economic development; and nonprofit and government leaders who wish to strengthen their agencies through board and staff development. It may also include traditional Native treatment and cures; Native people and professionals involved in cultural preservation and continuation; and educators who want to transmit traditional tribal languages or effectively reach Native American students in their classroom. It will also serve tribal members who want leadership roles in hospitality management and culinary arts as tribes create new destination resorts and food industries.

During the next two years, IAIA will focus on business planning, marketing development, analysis of directed studies, and facility design. Staff and consultants will be sought to lead this phase, and qualified Native Americans are encouraged to apply. To actually build the center, the institute must raise $4 million to get another $8 million from Kellogg.

The center is part of the institute’s response to federal funding cuts that threatened to close its doors five years ago, according to IAIA President Della Warrior. She said IAIA chose three strategies to meet this threat: expanding beyond the fine arts to the applied arts, paying more attention to the needs of the tribal community, and diversifying income. Several years ago, IAIA started identifying the training needs of tribes in New Mexico. The institute is also setting up a national advisory board to prioritize training needs. Veronica Gonzales, former executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, is working with Warrior to oversee the development of the center.

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