The American Indian Tribal Colleges

by A. Jay Adler on November 8, 2010
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(This is a guest post by Brian Jenkins of BrainTrack. BrainTrack is the oldest and largest directory of universities and colleges on the Web. It provides information on over 10,000 institutions listed from over 190 countries. Brian has been writing about education and career topics for BrainTrack for the past two years. He has contributed content to the college degrees and certifications advice page.)

There are more than 30 tribal colleges serving over 30,000 students. These students represent over 250 tribes from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Native culture is infused throughout the education programs of these schools. For example, students taking biology learn not only the Latin names of plants, but the Indian-Language names as well. Tribal colleges promote a strong sense of cultural identity and self-esteem.

Most tribal colleges are located on Indian reservations. Unfortunately, many of them have to deal with issues such as a lack of funding and minimal resources, recruitment, and retention. They are fully accredited institutions and have the same academic standards as all other colleges and universities.

The majority of the tribal colleges provide associate’s degrees. Combined, they offer degree programs in over 200 disciplines in addition to more than 200 vocational certificate options.

Some tribal colleges have transfer agreements with affiliated state universities which allows graduates from a two-year tribal college to obtain junior status in the state university system.

Bachelor’s degrees are provided by Fondu du Lac Tribal and Community College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Institute of American Indian Arts, Salish Kootenai College, Sitting Bull College, and Turtle Mountain Community College. Oglala Lakota College and Sinte Gleska University provide a few master’s degrees as well.

Here’s a list of tribal colleges that offer some online education certificate and associate degree programs:

Some tribal colleges have partnerships with organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Aeronautics and Space Foundation, National Science Foundation as well universities nationwide to support research and education programs that focus on topics such as sustainable agriculture, climate change, wildlife population dynamics, water quality, diabetes prevention, and population dynamics. Other schools are actively involved in research in subjects such as molecular cell biology, archaeology, environmental science, community health, advanced manufacturing processes, and aerospace engineering.

Some popular majors offered by tribal colleges and universities are as follows:

  • Accounting
  • Agriculture and Farming
  • American Indian Languages
  • American Indian Studies
  • Art
  • Automotive Technology
  • Biology
  • Building Trades
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Technology
  • Corrections/Law Enforcement
  • Education – Paraprofessional
  • Education – Professional
  • English
  • Environmental Science/Natural Resources
  • Geography
  • Health Careers
  • Hospitality Industry
  • Human Services
  • Individualized Programs
  • Liberal Arts/General Studies
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Nursing
  • Office Administration/Technology
  • Paralegal
  • Pre-Engineering
  • Pre-Veterinary Science
  • Science
  • Social Science
  • Vocational Career Programs

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium provides a map and contact information for all the tribal colleges. The consortium also provides a list of specific majors and the tribal colleges that offer them.

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