2 tribal colleges received $750K in USDA funding in Arizona

By Gabriel Pietrorazio
Published: Friday, December 29, 2023 - 6:05am
Updated: Friday, December 29, 2023 - 7:57am

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Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Two accredited tribal colleges in Arizona recently received nearly $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve infrastructure at their 1994 land-grant institutions.

The Tsaile-based Diné College will construct a livestock holding facility under its agriculture education program, while Tohono O’odham Community College will provide solar power and help offset costs for a language center building on its main campus in Sells.

They’re among 36 federally recognized tribal colleges and universities, scattered throughout Indian Country, designated through the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act. Both of them received a Tribal College Initiative Grant to foster economic and educational opportunities.

Diné College and Tohono O
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Diné College and Tohono O'odham Community are among 36 federally-recognized tribal colleges and universities nationwide, also known as 1994 land-grant institutions.

“We start investing in our rural communities, and that means investing in our tribal Nations,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Charlene Fernandez. “We’re excited about this money that's going to go directly to the colleges that will assure career paths for many of the students on our reservations that are attending those colleges.”

The USDA has been allocated “an unprecedented amount of funding” from President Joe Biden and his administration to achieve parity in funding between rural and tribal communities, according to Fernandez. These Arizona grant investments are among 200 rural, tribal projects tallying $81 million nationwide.