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Feds Visit Oklahoma Indian School

Feds Visit Oklahoma Indian School
May 28
06:25 2015
jewell

Sally Jewell

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and other federal officials visited the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Okla. on Wednesday,  to take a tour of the facilities and to meet with students and school officials.

There will also be a roundtable discussion. This is part of President Barack Obama’s Generation Indigenous (Gen I) initiative, to break down barriers standing between Native youth and opportunities to succeed. It also builds upon the White House Rural Council’s efforts to reduce rural child poverty.

Jewell will lead discussions regarding how federal, state and local partners can address rural child poverty and improve the graduation rate in BIE-funded schools.

Riverside Indian School is a Bureau of Indian Education-funded boarding school that serves nearly 700 American Indian students in the Anadarko Basin of southwestern Oklahoma.

During the sixth White House Tribal Nations Conference in December 2014, Obama announced that members of his Cabinet would visit Indian Country to hear directly from Native youth on how to bolster federal policies to help improve the lives of and opportunities for the next generation of Indian Country.

Secretary Jewell kicked off the Administration’s Native Youth Listening Tour in February, with tribal visits and student discussions at Salt River Elementary and Gila River Crossing Community schools in the Phoenix area.

Downtown_Anadarko,_Oklahoma

Downtown Anadarko

Nearly half of Native American people (42%) are under the age of 24; more than one-third of Native children live in poverty; and Native youth have the lowest high school graduation rate of students across all schools, according to a White House report.

To address the critical educational needs of these students, the Administration’s Blueprint for Reform, an initiative of the White House Council on Native American Affairs – that is chaired by Jewell – is restructuring Interior’s BIE from a provider of education to a capacity-builder and education service-provider to tribes.

The transformation gives tribes the ability to provide an academically rigorous and culturally appropriate education to their students, according to their needs. Complementing the Administration’s ongoing focus on Native youth, in March the White House Rural Council launched “Rural Impact,” a coordinated effort across federal agencies to improve quality of life and upward mobility for kids and families in rural and tribal communities.

Last week, the BIE announced that it is offering grants ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 per fiscal year for federally recognized tribes and their education departments to help tribes assume control of BIE-funded schools in their communities.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, (R-OK) and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) will be joining Jewell, along with Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, BIE Director Dr. Charles ‘Monty’ Roessel and Riverside Superintendent Tony Dearman.

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