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News Release


IllumiNative, a national Native-led nonprofit organization, in partnership with Wend Collective, announced a new grant program today that will equip Native-led organizations with the resources and tools needed to advance Native Education for All policies in their state. Grants will support coalition building, community organizing and planning efforts for a minimum of three states in 2020 with maximum awards of $160,000.

Of the program, Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative said: 

“Native Americans are a vibrant and growing population with rich, distinct cultures in the United States. However, our country’s K-12 public education system often fails to teach accurate history about Native peoples or about our contemporary contributions and issues in society. Americans today are being taught an inaccurate history of this country and importance of Tribal Nations and peoples to the fabric of American society continues to be erased. This invisibility and the false narratives and toxic stereotypes often perpetuated in K-12 classrooms creates hostile learning environments for Native students and fuels bias and discrimination against Native peoples. 

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"By launching the Native Education for All grant program, we are saying that Native peoples are invisible no more and that education about Native peoples, past and present, is good for all students. IllumiNative is excited to build partnerships with tribes and Native-led organizations and to invest in their work to build their capacity, local and statewide organizing and coalition building that can create education policy change in their state.”

IllumiNative Native American Education for All

IllumiNative - Native American Education for All.

The program has been informed by two pieces of research that examined the issue of invisibility and provided a path forward. According to Reclaiming Native Truth, a public opinion research project co-led by IllumiNative’s founder Crystal Echo Hawk, 72% of Americans polled support significant changes to K-12 curricula, and 78% of Americans want to know more about Native peoples. A new report, published last year by the National Congress of American Indians, Becoming Visible: A Landscape Analysis of State Efforts to Provide Education about American Indians and Alaska Natives, also identified a growing movement and momentum of states moving towards the change that is necessary and long overdue in K-12 education.

The grant awards will go towards building capacity for Native-led organizations to set a firm foundation for passing Native Education for All advocacy in the future, no policy changes are expected during the year-long grant. Organizations will be provided technical assistance and training tailored to fit their needs.

Interested parties should submit a Letter of Interest by March 31, 2020. After a review process, IllumiNative will invite finalist applicants to submit a full proposal in Spring 2020. Grants will be awarded Summer 2020. An informational webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 12:00 p.m. EST. To register, please click here.

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