The Fund to administer endowment

Aug 11th, 2013 | By | Category: 25-1: Art & Symbolism, Tribal College News
By Dina Horwedel

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the plaintiffs of Cobell v. Salazar named the American Indian College Fund (the Fund) to administer the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund settlement for post-secondary vocational and higher education. The $60 million holding fund was designated as part of the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement.

Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, initiated the class action lawsuit in 1996 on behalf of American Indians whose trust land funds had been mismanaged by the federal government. Before her passing, Cobell maintained that funds from the settlement which were set aside for higher education would “mean a great deal… to the Indian youth whose dreams for a better life including the possibility of one day attending college can now be realized.”

Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the Fund, says “We are honored by the confidence the government and plaintiffs have demonstrated in us. They have confirmed what our supporters know: The American Indian College Fund has a proven history of 24 years of leadership and fiscal responsibility. We are rooted in advancing educational and vocational scholarships for Native peoples while maintaining strong relationships with Native communities.”

Crazy Bull recognized the work of the Fund’s former president and CEO, Richard Williams, who is now serving as a senior advisor. Williams had worked with Cobell and proposed the establishment of a separate education fund for scholarships. Crazy Bull commended Williams and Cobell and noted that their vision will create a brighter future for young Native people. “We look forward to working with the special trustees of the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund to discuss how we will implement and raise additional funding to improve access to education for all Indian people, regardless of financial circumstance, transforming Indian Country,” she said.

As part of the agreement, the Fund will distribute 20% of scholarship monies to the American Indian Graduate Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sam Deloria, the center’s executive director, congratulated the Fund on its past, present, and future work, stating, “We extend our offer of cooperation and support and look forward to working with the Fund.”

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