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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

January 3, 2012
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141 |

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Endorses UMD's State Bonding Request

The University of Minnesota Duluth's proposed American Learning Resource Center (AILRC) building, part of the University of Minnesota bonding bill request, earned the support of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe at a meeting of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee held recently in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The committee voted unanimously to support the project because UMD, with a 40-year commitment to American Indian studies, has become a center of American Indian learning. UMD has educated and trained more American Indian doctors than almost any other university in the United States; has produced tribal leaders, teachers, and business people for Indian reservations; and is committed to preserving American Indian languages, culture, and traditions.

The AILRC serves all students on the UMD campus, according to Rick Smith, director of the AILRC. "The new center will enhance education for a broad cross section of UMD students and for people in communities throughout Minnesota," he said. "The background of students enrolled in American Indian programs is richly diverse."

As part of its endorsement, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe committed to providing political support for the center's bonding request and to dedicate time and effort to help raise $1.1 million dollars for the project.

The AILRC building, to consist of more than 23,000 square feet, will be a premier center for American Indian culture through its design, sustainability, and the way in which the project will engage the surrounding landscape. It will enhance the educational foundation for all students across the entire campus and will house classrooms, library, meeting and gathering spaces. It will draw people from all walks of life to its space to learn, teach, engage, and celebrate our country's rich American Indian culture. Currently, UMD's American Indian programs are scattered and squeezed into spaces across the university's campus. The project's total construction cost is estimated at about $11 million, with $7.3 million a part of the University's bonding bill request now before Governor Dayton and to be considered by the 2012 Minnesota Legislature. UMD will provide $3.6 million for the project.

Construction of the project can begin within six weeks after legislative approval.

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