Richard Williams: Tribal colleges offer hope
"According to the American Council on Education only 0.7 percent of American Indians attained a bachelor’s degree in 2005, compared to 6.4 percent of Asian Americans, 6.6 percent of Hispanics, 8.7 percent of African Americans and 68.8 percent of whites. There is a high correlation between poverty levels and low education attainment rates amongst American Indians.

Nearly 26 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live below the poverty line, contrasted with a national poverty rate of 12.4 percent. The gap is even larger for people living on reservations with limited economic opportunities, with 51 percent of the population living below the poverty line. And even though the nation’s poverty rate dropped from 11.8 percent in 1999 to 11.3 percent in 2000 (the lowest in 21 years), American Indians and Alaska Natives poverty rates did not drop, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But poverty is not just a lack of income or material goods. Poverty is also the mental state in which people no longer are confident in themselves or their traditions.

The American Indian College Fund educates the mind and the spirit of Native college students by providing scholarships to tribal and mainstream colleges and universities."

Get the Story:
Richard B. Williams: Thinking Indian at tribal colleges (Indian Country Today 8/18)

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An AICF transformation (Indian Country Today 8/18)