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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

SCOTUS Ruling on College Admissions Felt by Tribal Education Leaders

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Monday, July 3, 2023   

Advocates for underrepresented college students continue to assess the fallout from last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with affirmative action. That includes voices within the Native American higher education community.

In a major ruling, the court's conservative majority largely overturned decades of precedent that prompted colleges and universities to consider a prospective student's race in trying to maintain diverse campuses.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund, said Natives technically aren't considered a race because of their tribal citizenship. But she said while it was limited, Indigenous students did benefit from affirmative action.

"We have been able to go to law school, go to medical school, get into business school," said Crazy Bull, "all of those kinds of things because the broad implications of affirmative action are rooted in the value of that diversity."

She said she sees this as an opportunity for colleges and universities to expand their outreach into Native communities.

Schools around the country have issued statements saying they remain committed to campus diversity.

For 2020 data, the Postsecondary National Policy Institute says 22% of college-age Native Americans were enrolled in schools compared - with 40% of the overall population.

Crazy Bull said groups such as hers also hope the decision doesn't discourage Indigenous students from applying to mainstream campuses.

She said allies need to reassure these individuals that there is a place for them at these schools and that administrations not only bolster their recruitment, but make the students feel welcome once they get there.

"I also think institutions need to take proactive steps," said Crazy Bull, "to ensure that students are visible on campuses, that they have the support systems in place."

The same data from the PNPI show that since 2010, Native American enrollment at U.S. colleges has declined by nearly 40%.

Other groups joining the American Indian College Fund in its response include the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Cobell Scholarship Program and the Native Forward Scholars Fund.



Disclosure: American Indian College Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Native American Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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