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University program training Native American educators

November 23, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The University of Mary is getting more federal funding to continue an effort to boost the number of Native American teachers and administrators on and off reservations across North Dakota.

The Bismarck school got a $1.1 million grant from the federal Education Department two years ago to start the Native American Educational Leadership Program. It’s doing so through a consortium that involves the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and its community college in Belcourt.

Fifteen students have graduated with bachelor’s degrees in education from the community college, and 12 more will do so in the spring, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

“When you think about that, 27 teachers ... to go into our Native communities, that’s huge,” said Carmelita Lamb, associate dean of the University of Mary’s Liffrig School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

“That has always been something that I felt was important — to get people of that community to commit to the children of that community,” she said. “Those are going to be the ones that stay.”

The university has received a second grant totaling $1.4 million to sustain the program through 2023. The school will enroll another 20 to 24 students in the program in January.

Samantha Gourd, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who currently lives on the Spirit Lake Reservation and teaches second grade in Devils Lake, will finish her master’s in elementary education through the program in the spring.

“I think that whenever you’re Native American teaching another Native American, you kind of understand those dynamics more,” she said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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