As the most legislated people in America, tribal citizens can benefit immensely from a legal education offered from a critical and culturally specific perspective. And tribal colleges are ideally suited for the task.
There are a variety of factors that should be considered when designing the curriculum for a course on Indian law. Students should learn to read for content, interpret legal language and symbols, and gain an understanding of who makes, implements, and interprets the law.
American Indians are sorely underrepresented in the legal profession. But there is a greater need for more Native attorneys now than ever. By offering lay advocate, paralegal, or pre-law programs, TCUs can make a major difference.
Teaching tribal college students about Indian law and policy can be an emotional and challenging endeavor. The process, however, can galvanize and empower them to work for change in their own communities and in Indian Country as a whole.
More than just storerooms of information, tribal college libraries are gathering spaces that bring people together. The Tuzzy Consortium Library in Barrow, Alaska offers programs and services that build community at Iḷisaġvik College and beyond.
Following the ravages of colonization and territorial loss, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has striven to develop an institution that serves as a gathering place and as a bastion of culture and language—a role which their tribal college has fulfilled for students and community members alike.
The tribal college founders sought to establish institutions rooted in place, extending beyond academic and workforce education. They dreamed of colleges and universities that served as centers of tribal and community life. In this feature article, the president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund recounts some of the ways that TCUs engage with their communities.
Governance at tribal colleges and universities differs from that at mainstream institutions. Although regional accreditation requirements necessitate the implementation of some Western standards, TCUs have forged their own leadership models that make their governance an act of sovereignty.
Native women are no strangers to positions of leadership, and over half of all tribal college presidents today are women. But with their governing roles come unique challenges that often require them to walk a fine line.
Today, Indigenous peoples worldwide are coming together to assert greater self-determination in higher education. The movement is built on shared experiences and underscores the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing.