BSU to offer new scholarships aimed at “Decolonizing Education”

Bemidji State University is offering a new scholarship to American Indian students who pursue careers in education.

According to a release, BSU is partnering with the Red Lake Nation and administer $92,000 in Minnesota Indian Teaching Training Program grants.

American Indian Resource Center director Chrissy Koch revealed this year’s program slogan, “Decolonizing Education,” at a campus forum earlier this month.

She went on to explain the historical impact colonization and education has had on American Indian peoples, emphasizing the trauma it caused Indigenous nations and the affects that can still be felt today.

“When we talk about decolonizing education, we are trying to express that we want to bring Indigenous perspectives and traditions into the education realm because they were taken from us in that setting historically,” she said.

These scholarships are available to students enrolled in a federally recognized tribal nation, as well as first- or second- degree descendants of enrolled members. Each scholarship will include $1,500 in tuition dollars, $400 book stipends and $3,000 living stipends each semester.

The program will fund eight students this year – five of which are new to the program and on track to join Bemidji State’s Department of Professional Education. .

“We are focusing our sights on upperclassmen in the areas of Ojibwe language and Indigenous studies as requested by the Minnesota Department of Education to encourage teachers to teach Ojibwe and culture in classes,” Koch said.

“We will revisit the budget proposal next spring to determine how we can create additional scholarships for our students moving forward.”

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