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Advancing Academic Excellence
Honoring American Indian Culture

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The American Indian Learning Resource Center

Forty years ago, UMD was one of the first public universities in the nation to recognize American Indian Studies as a unique discipline. Today, UMD’s set of American Indian programs comprises one of the nation’s largest with nearly 30 different student programs.

Not only one of the nation’s largest, UMD’s set of American Indian programs also is one of the nation’s best. UMD educates American Indian students to be doctors and other health care professionals, teachers, social workers, and researchers and a wide variety of other careers through which they can contribute to the American Indian community as well as to the entire state of Minnesota and beyond.

Two programs were launched in 2011. An Indigenous Doctor of Education (Ed.D) program presents a full doctoral program in education that is inclusive of Indigenous content, perspectives, and learning experiences. The Masters of Tribal Administration and Governance curriculum includes principles of tribal sovereignty; tribal budgets, finance and accounting; principles of tribal management; federal Indian law; and leadership and ethics. “These two new academic offerings add to the other programs in education, social work, liberal arts, medicine, and science, scattered across campus, that showcase UMD’s unique commitment,” said UMD Chancellor Lendley C. Black.

The American Indian Learning Resource Center, endorsed by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and included in the University of Minnesota’s bonding bill request, is before the 2012 Minnesota Legislature. UMD is working in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Office of Government and Community Relations, located on the Twin Cities campus, to present the project to the state legislature.

The need for the center is great, according to Chancellor Black. American Indian programs are scattered and squeezed into spaces throughout campus and as such, do not have the prominence they deserve. The new center would solve this dilemma and also would provide needed space to UMD’s crowded campus. The center would be featured as a gateway to the UMD campus and a source of pride for UMD and for the American Indian community.

The center would act as a magnet, drawing people from all walks of life. It would provide American Indian students with a supportive, welcoming environment that is especially important for their success. Through its design, layout, signage, library, exhibition of American Indian art and artifacts, and its adherence to important values of American Indian culture, the building itself would be a learning tool for people from across campus, across the community, and across the state of Minnesota.

Total construction cost for the center is about $11 million. Of this amount, the 2012 Minnesota Legislature is being asked to contribute $7.3 million. UMD would fund the remaining cost of the project, about $3.6 million. In December 2011, the building received a strong commitment from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee. They voted unanimously to help raise $1.1 million for the project and to contribute political support.

Support the U
Thousands of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the U of M firmly believe in higher education’s role in pushing our state forward. These citizens are working across the state and across U of M campuses to actively engage elected officials about the University’s initiatives and other key issues. They are writing letters to the editors of Minnesota newspapers. They are attending events, contacting legislators, and sharing their stories. To find out about actions you can take, visit:

We serve the educational needs of indigenous peoples, their economic growth, their culture, and the sovereignty of the American Indian nations of the region, the state, and North America. — Vision statement excerpt, UMD Strategic Plan, 2011

Bobbi Jo Potter, Master of Social Work, 2011

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Last modified on 09/17/12 10:27 AM
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