U.S. Department of Education Announces $20 Million in American Rescue Plan Grants to Promote American Indian Resilience in Education for Native Communities During Pandemic

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Advancing its commitment to equity, meaningful consultation, and relief for Tribal Nations, the U.S. Department of Education announced approximately $20 million in grants to Tribal Educational Agencies (TEAs) to meet the urgent needs of students in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act’s American Indian Resilience in Education (AIRE) grant program will fund culturally relevant projects—that include at least one of the activities from section 6121(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965—designed to assist and encourage Native American children and youth to enter, remain in, or reenter school at any grade level from Pre-K through grade 12. These activities include a broad range of direct education, health, and workforce preparation services for Native students, their teachers, and their families.

“The Department of Education is committed to advancing equity and excellence for Native American students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The ARP AIRE funds will be critical in helping Tribal Educational Agencies bring students back to engaging and culturally responsive in-person learning. These resources will support the efforts of Tribal leaders to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for Native children and youth; honor Tribal traditions, cultures and languages; and elevate the deep reserves of knowledge and expertise in these communities.”

The AIRE grant program is a one-time discretionary grant competition authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act to provide awards to TEAs for activities authorized under section 6121(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Funding is being awarded to 15 TEAs, including for the following projects:

The Seneca Nation of Indians in New York will use funds to support the Literacy Language Culture Project, which will assist Seneca children to enter, remain in, and reenter school by advancing the inclusion of Seneca language, literacy, and culture in school activities. (Award amount $482,172) The Pinoleville Pomo Nation ARP-AIRE Project in Oregon will provide special health and nutrition services and other related activities, that address the special health, social, and mental health needs facing Native youth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Award amount $399,999) The Kenaitze Indian Tribe in Alaska will use funds to connect Native youth with cultural, academic, and community support networks to remove barriers facing Native families to access and utilize school services. (Award amount $372,436)

The Department advanced its commitment to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration by conducting a virtual Tribal consultation session regarding the AIRE program on April 26, 2021. Consistent with the Department’s trust responsibility to Tribes and its Tribal consultation policy, the Department consulted with elected officials of Tribal Nations to ensure that their views inform the Department’s policy decisions related to the priorities, requirements, and definitions that govern this competition.

For more information about this grant competition visit https://oese.ed.gov/offices/american-rescue-plan/american-rescue-plan-american-indian-resilience-in-education-arp-aire/.

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