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Bemidji State named site for Minnesota State's Institute for Indigenous Education and Practice

The Institute is supported by a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and will operate out of the American Indian Resource Center.

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BEMIDJI — Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College president John Hoffman announced BSU as the site for Minnesota State’s new Institute for Indigenous Education and Practice on Monday.

According to a release, the Institute is supported by a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and will operate out of the American Indian Resource Center.

The release also detailed the Institute’s three main goals:

  • Develop a regional hub that creates and distributes digital resources for all Minnesota State faculty and staff, which will support the development of course curriculum, professional development and training, and foster collaboration on best practices. 
  • Support campus-specific action plans meant to support Indigenous students, increase access to higher education for Indigenous students, and once enrolled, provide support to increase persistence and completion rates.
  • Explore strategies for providing additional financial support to Indigenous students with an emphasis on programs that could be scaled system-wide.

“Grant funding from Minnesota State will primarily support additional staffing and resources for the American Indian Resource Center,” the release said. “BSU also plans to pursue additional grant funding to support the institute and its activities.”
Following Hoffman’s announcement, psychology professor John Gonzalez presented “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Race Relations, Economics and Education.”

Gonzalez said his presentation examined local economic and educational data and offered suggestions for ways that BSU can lead the charge in American Indian education.

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“Sadly, American Indians continue to be plagued by poverty, high rates of unemployment and poor educational opportunities and outcomes,” Gonzalez said in a release. “This is not simply the result of meritocracy. Instead, economic inequality is the result of historical policies and practices against Indigenous people and contemporary perceptions around race relations in our communities.”

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