Because many Native American students feel that attaining an education is most useful for serving the tribes and communities from which they originate, colleges and universities seeking to retain and support these students can do much to protect and maintain these relationships throughout the higher education experience. They can also be useful in attracting more Native American students to postsecondary learning. Examples of best practice partnerships between universities, Native American students, and their communities are given below.
Montana State University’s Caring for Our Own Program (CO-OP)
The CO-OP program originated on MSU’s campus in 1999 and exists to improve quality of life and care within tribes by ensuring Native American nurses receive the best training available. The goal of CO-OP is two-fold: to increase the number of Native Americans attending college (specifically nursing programs) and to graduate a larger number of trained nursing professionals and expand care to other Native Americans.
Northern Arizona University’s Tribal Partners
NSU maintains relationships with both tribal colleges/universities and tribal partners throughout the state to ensure Native American learners have familiar resources and support systems at their fingertips throughout the college experience. As of late 2017, the institution maintains relationships and partnerships with 22 different tribes and nations, working together to recruit and retain learners while also teaching fellow students and professors how to create a welcoming and culturally sensitive learning atmosphere.