COMMENTARY: Empowering tribal colleges: The urgent need for Minnesota House Bill 750
This legislation sets a powerful example for other states and highlights the potential for societal growth when we invest in post-secondary education in tribal nations.
Minnesota House Bill 750 is crucial to providing much-needed financial resources to tribal colleges in our state, opening doors for countless students who might otherwise be unable to pursue their academic dreams.
As president of Leech Lake Tribal College, I am proud to support the mission of our institution and the intent of all tribal colleges: preserving and promoting Indigenous culture, languages, and heritage empowering students to become leaders within their communities and giving them access to higher quality education grounded in Anishinaabe values.
House Bill 750 will help us realize our vision to be recognized as a center of academic excellence that advances the Anishinaabe worldview and empowers life-long learners who are fully engaged citizens, stewards and leaders.
This bill is focused on funding general operation and maintenance expenses at tribal colleges and would allow us to provide much-needed teaching and learning resources to our students, faculty and staff.
But it doesn't stop there. The bill also aims to increase access to technology, providing students with the tools they need to thrive in today's digital world. Better technology systems at Leech Lake Tribal College and other tribal colleges in Minnesota mean a better experience and brighter future for our students.
While House Bill 750 won't solve every challenge our tribal colleges face, it will provide them with a vital lifeline of resources and will demonstrate Minnesota's commitment to supporting postsecondary education on reservations across the state.
During my testimony before the Minnesota House and Senate last month, I spoke about our responsibility as educators to provide life-changing educational opportunities to students from all backgrounds. House Bill 750 is a critical step in making that a reality.
This legislation sets a powerful example for other states and highlights the potential for societal growth when we invest in post-secondary education in tribal nations. Equity, diversity, inclusion and success are within our reach if we commit to supporting these vital institutions.
As higher education across America faces resource challenges, it's heartening to see Minnesota lawmakers, business leaders and communities coming together in support of tribal colleges through initiatives like House Bill 750. Their commitment recognizes the invaluable progress we can achieve by investing in these educational institutions.
Please join me in championing House Bill 750. Reach out to your state representatives and let them know how important this legislation is for making a lasting difference with our tribal colleges, our students and our future.
Helen Zaikina-Montgomery is the president of Leech Lake Tribal College.