Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $11 Million to Preserve Native Languages, Increase Native Teacher Retention, and Support Tribal Educational Agencies

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Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $11 Million to Preserve Native Languages, Increase Native Teacher Retention, and Support Tribal Educational Agencies

October 17, 2023

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced new awards totaling more than $11 million for the new Native American Language Resource Centers (NALRC) program, the first-ever Native American Teacher Retention Initiative (NATRI) program, and the State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program. Together, these awards seek to strengthen the vitality of Native American languages in schools, support Native American teachers, and ensure Tribal Educational Agencies can coordinate grant resources alongside state and local partners.

“Our efforts to Raise the Bar for academic achievement and support multilingual learners in tribal communities must include strengthening and revitalizing Native languages, and supporting the recruitment, retention, leadership, and empowerment of Native American educators,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These grant funds will provide Native American students with greater opportunities to learn in inclusive environments that uplift their cultures, revitalize their languages, and ultimately, promote their academic success and wellbeing. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring Native American students have access to an inclusive and culturally affirming education that’s also reflected in the teachers in their schools.”

The NALRC program will support the preservation and use of Native American languages in classrooms across the country. This funding will be dedicated to centers across three geographic regions—Central, Northwest, and West—as well as a national center to provide support to all states and regional center grantees. The centers will provide technical assistance for resource development, dissemination of research, leadership development, capacity-building services, and immersive, interactive learning experiences.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights “Broken Promises” report found there is a lack of educational opportunity for Native American students, including access to culturally competent teachers in Indian Country. In a first-ever program of its kind, NATRI will help address the shortage of Native American educators and promote retention by creating opportunities for Native teachers to serve in leadership roles in their schools. Grantees proposed projects that help educators of Native American students better provide culturally appropriate and effective instruction and support for Native American students such as creating professional learning communities, leadership roles for educators, accessible networks to expertise, Native teacher leadership models, mentoring programs, development taskforces, and continuing education credits throughout multiple states impacting dozens of Tribal Nations.

Finally, the Department awarded $1.6 million to support the STEP program. STEP grants support projects that strengthen Tribal self-determination and promote coordination and collaboration among tribal, state, and local educational agencies to meet the unique needs of Native students. Funded projects include supporting cross-agency data sharing agreements; culturally responsive Native American student identification; and facilitating systemic change focus areas related to college readiness, workforce development, and family engagement.

The NALRC grantees are listed below:



States Served

Award Type

Award amount

Little Priest Tribal College

Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado

Regional Center (Central)


University of Oregon

Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington

Regional Center (Northwest)


University of Arizona

Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah

Regional Center (West)


University of Hawaii

All States

National Center

$1,244, 880


The NATRI grantees are listed below:




Award Amount

Stone Child College


$ 424,752

National Indian Education Association

District of Columbia

$ 150,251

Goldbelt Heritage Foundation


$ 418,792

Little Wound School Board, Inc.

South Dakota

$ 244,592

American Indian Resource Center, Inc.


$ 451,000

Sitting Bull College

North Dakota

$ 430,447

Arlee Joint School District #8


$ 382,151

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe


$ 469,411

Pala Band of Mission Indians


$ 601,225

Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.


$ 500,000

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

New Mexico

$ 134,423

Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle School Board of Education, Inc.

New Mexico

$ 488,229

Cherokee Nation


$ 392,514

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University


$ 445,467

Yukon-Koyukuk School District


$ 448,880

Osage County Interlocal Cooperative


$ 210,465


 The STEP grantees are listed below:




Award Amount

Nez Perce Tribe


$ 466,388

Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma


$ 502,510

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians


$ 500,000



$ 210,065