National Endowment for Humanities Grant Will Support Cultural Preservation at Colleges

Nov 15th, 1992 | By | Category: 4-3: Indian Research, Tribal College News

The largest challenge grant ever made by the National Endowment for the Humanities was recently awarded to the American Indian College Fund. The $750,000 grant will be used to strengthen and expand native American studies programs at the nation’s 27 Indian colleges.

The grant requires the college fund to raise three times that amount— $2,250,000—in matching funds from non-federal sources, yielding a total of $3 million. That money will be held in endowment, and the revenue generated from it will be available to member colleges to support programs for cultural preservation.

While the colleges all offer courses in tribal language, history, philoso­phy, literature, music dance and art, the endowment created by the chal­lenge grant will enable them to sig­nificantly strengthen their native American studies departments. It will also allow each to expand pro­grams in cultural preservation.

“We are thrilled by the NEH’s recognition of the unique role our colleges play in maintaining and nur­turing the rich heritage of Indian cul­tures in this country, says James Tutt, chairman of the American Indian College Fund. “The grant will have an effect on many generations to come, Indian and non-Indian alike.”

Individual colleges and faculty will have the opportunity to request funds for faculty development, research and documentation pro­jects and comparative studies of tribal cultures. Support can also be provided for faculty exchanges among tribal colleges and non- Indian institutions.

Other projects eligible for funding include training in curatorial skills and archival and conservation tech­niques, as well as public education programs, including exhibitions, lec­ture-demonstrations, performances and publications.

According to American Indian College Fund president David Archambault, these programs will not simply preserve a culture, they will help strengthen a people. “This grant will further empower or people to help reverse the awful history of eradication of Indian culture in North America,” he says.

The challenge grant is the first awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to the tribal colleges. “The challenge grant to the American Indian College Fund will provide significant assistance for the teaching of the humanities in tribally controlled col­leges and will aid them in becoming centers for the study of native American cultures,” says Jerry L. Martin, Acting Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities. Mardella Abeyta Harris, Outreach Officer for the NEH, hopes it will encourage individual colleges to also apply for additional grants.

In addition to challenge grants, the NEH funds research and educational programs in the humanities and pro­vides support to individual scholars.

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