College Of The Muscogee Nation Reps Visit D.C. To Advocate For Funding Equity

Representatives of CMN and other Tribal schools from across the nation just wrapped up the American Indian Higher Education Consortium's (AIHEC) National Tribal College Week with visits to their congressional delegations a top priority.

Friday, February 9th 2024, 9:23 pm



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As the state with the nation’s largest American Indian population, Oklahoma has just one Tribal college — the College of the Muscogee Nation, in Okmulgee.

Representatives of CMN and other Tribal schools from across the nation just wrapped up the American Indian Higher Education Consortium's (AIHEC) National Tribal College Week with visits to their congressional delegations a top priority.

"We are advocating for equity in funding, we are advocating for more funding in Native American languages, representation on national boards," explained Monte Randall, President of the College of the Muscogee Nation, in an interview Thursday.

Randall says, that as one of about three dozen 1994 Tribal Land Grant Institutions, CMN has a mission to improve the lives and career opportunities for Native students and to improve the community at large. He says, since its founding 20 years ago, the school has been doing that.

"Absolutely," Randall said, "we’re providing this opportunity -- this access and affordability to higher education -- to our population of students."

Four students made the trip to Washington with Randall and other school administrators. One of them was Autumn Harjo, who came to the school from Texas, where she says she grew up with little connection to her Native heritage.

"When I transferred to the College of Muscogee Nation," said Harjo in an interview, "it was like a cultural awakening for me."

Harjo says the 2-year school has helped her discover and celebrate Native culture, not to mention put her on a path to a successful career.

"I plan to transfer to Haskell Indian Nations University (in Kansas)," she stated, "to hopefully try to get my sports medicine—I want to get a degree in physical therapy, kind of down that line."

One of the members Harjo and the CMN group met with was Senator Markwayne Mullin.

"These colleges help them move to the next level," Mullin (R-OK) said in an interview Friday.

Senator Mullin grew up in Indian Country and says he has seen the generational poverty and cycle of dead-ends firsthand, which is why he values and appreciates tribal colleges and other similar efforts in Oklahoma.

"They are all trying to change [the cycle of poverty]," the Senator said, "but you can’t just change it overnight, you’ve got to change it one person at a time."

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