More than just storerooms of information, tribal college libraries are gathering spaces that bring people together. The Tuzzy Consortium Library in Barrow, Alaska offers programs and services that build community at Iḷisaġvik College and beyond.
Following the ravages of colonization and territorial loss, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has striven to develop an institution that serves as a gathering place and as a bastion of culture and language—a role which their tribal college has fulfilled for students and community members alike.
The tribal college founders sought to establish institutions rooted in place, extending beyond academic and workforce education. They dreamed of colleges and universities that served as centers of tribal and community life. In this feature article, the president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund recounts some of the ways that TCUs engage with their communities.
In November of last year, Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report penned an article entitled, “Tribal colleges give poor return on more than $100 million a year in federal money,” in which she argues that tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) have “abysmal success rates.” Butrymowicz based her assertions on a particular dataset which The Hechinger Report selectively analyzed using specific measures.
Connecting with the community often means reaching out to the most marginalized individuals. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College has done just that in developing a new program that paves a road to redemption for Native inmates in Wisconsin’s state prisons.
Editor’s Note: Below is a brief guide to accessible resources, which researchers may use as a starting point for further inquiry on tribal college communities.
By James W. Parins
University of Oklahoma Press (2013)
Review by Herman A. Peterson
Edited by Alexei Vranich and Charles Stanish
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press (2013)
Review by Christine A. Hastorf
Directed by Audrey Geyer
Review by Ryan Winn
By William M. Clements
University of New Mexico Press (2013)
Review by Edwin R. Sweeney
By Julie L. Davis
University of Minnesota Press (2013)
Review by Bradley Shreve
By David Leedom Shaul
University of New Mexico Press (2014)
Review by Paul Gilon
By Karen V. Hansen
Oxford University Press (2013)
Review by John Peacock
Edited by Alan R. Velie and A. Robert Lee University of Oklahoma Press (2013)
Review by Jon Davis