WASHINGTON – Eight federally recognized tribes will collectively receive nearly $2.5 million in grant awards from the U.S. Departments of Education and Interior to bolster their educational programs and advance self-determination goals through the development of academically rigorous and culturally relevant programs.

Bill Mendoza

William Mendoza, director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, and Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel, director of the Bureau of Indian Education announced the awards today, during the 7th annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The grants are funded through the Department of Education’s State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education’s Tribal Education Department (TED) program.

“Through these partnerships, we will be putting tribes in the driver’s seat by designing culturally responsive programs to help Native children reach their education potential,” Mendoza said. “These efforts will help reduce the achievement gap and make our Indian students more college and career-ready.”

“These competitive grants will help strengthen tribal education departments as they set high academic standards and incorporate tribal culture, language and history into their curriculum,” said Roessel. “This program reflects our commitment to tribal self-determination. It expands tribes’ roles in developing educational goals for their communities and ensuring they have the resources to operate these systems designed for their students.”

The goal of the STEP program is to build the capacity of tribal education agencies to assume state and local administrative functions based on policies formed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The TED grant program was created to improve the quality of education in BIE-funded schools under the auspices of a Blueprint for Reform, a guide put forth by President Obama and developed in the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The report was developed based on contributions from tribal governments and key federal and tribal officials.

The STEP program provides $1,766,232 to five Native American communities in Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma to assist tribal schools in partnering with states and local school districts to develop culturally sensitive teaching strategies, curriculum materials and data-sharing that can improve attendance, raise graduation rates and reduce dropouts among Native youth. STEP’s pilot program, featuring tribal-state-local educational partnerships was conducted from 2012 to 2015, and today’s announcement marks the first new round of funding for the STEP program. The grants provide funding from 2015 to 2019. For more information about the STEP program, visit

The TED program provides $700,000 in grants to support the efforts of four tribal nations to strengthen their education departments, restructure their school governance, assume control over their BIE-funded schools, and develop curriculum for their students’ unique academic and cultural needs. With today’s announcement, 10 tribal governments have received a total of $2 million in TED grants this year. This is the second round of TED program grants the Interior Department has awarded this year. The first round of awards in August 2015 provided a total of $1,350,000 to six tribes: the Acoma Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For more information on TED grants, please visit

The following tribes will receive STEP funding. (One tribe, the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, was awarded the STEP and TED grants):

  • The Chickasaw Nation, Okla. ($500,000)
  • Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • Coeur D’Alene Tribe, Idaho ($330,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($318,463)
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Mont. ($287,769)

The following tribes will receive TED funding:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Mich. ($300,000)
  • Leech Lake Band, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minn. ($200,000)
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Miss. ($150,000)
  • The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla. ($50,000)

As part of the Interior Department, the BIE oversees 183 elementary and secondary schools located on 64 reservations in 23 states, serving more than 48,000 students. Of these, 54 are BIE-operated and 129 are tribally operated.

In conjunction with President Obama’s Generation Indigenous or “Gen-I” initiative, the Interior Department is leading an effort to provide students attending BIE-funded schools with a world-class education and transform the agency to serve as a capacity-builder and service-provider for tribes in educating their youth.


GOOD NEWS : Oklahoma City buys goats to beautify Lake Hefner landscape – BE THE CHANGE


OKLAHOMA CITY – Move over lawnmowers. Hungry goats are taking over.

“Because it was so successful, we decided to continue the goat project on our own,” said Debbie Ragan with the OKC Utilities Department. “In all, this goes through Oklahoma City’s Water Utilities Division.”

The herbivores were on loan from Langston University’s Goat Institute last year to eat away brush on the Lake Hefner Canal.

The City just returned the borrowed herd and bought their own workforce.

“The new ones are 24 nannies,” Ragan said. “They’re female goats that were purchased at the Oklahoma City livestock stockyards.”

According to officials, the new goats cost the City $3,800 at auction and, so far, they said they’re paying off for the environment.

“By reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals that we may use on vegetation, reducing the need for heavy equipment in the submissions are just very environmentally friendly,” Ragan said.

It’s also a way to keep city employees out of harm’s way.

“The Hefner Canal has very steep slopes, and it’s unsafe for our guys to get down onto the slopes,” said Troy Wilkins, field operations supervisor with the city.

Adding to the collection, some goats and a couple of sheep were donated by Animal Welfare, as well as donkeys to keep guard over the herd.

The whole group is taking some time off, resting at their winter home at Lake Stanley Draper.

“They just lay around and graze and eat all of the time, ” Ragan said.

The head of the Langston Goat Institute said they’ve already helped other cities like Stillwater and Guthrie start their own program and expects it to grow in popularity.

“It’s our goal to work ourselves out of a job really,” said Dr. Steve Hart, research scientist at Langston University.

The goats will head back to Lake Hefner in the spring to get back to what they know best.

“On the canal on the brush and weeds – that’s what God created goats for,” Hart said.

The Hefner Canal Goats even have their own Facebook page.


Indian City Becomes First Vegetarian City in the World

Be The Change ❤❤❤


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By Sarah Von Alt

Worldcrunch reports a historic change in Palitana, an Indian city, which has become the first all-vegetarian city in the world.

Behind this revolutionary change are the Jain monks who went on a hunger strike to pressure the state of Gujarat to outlaw animal slaughter in their city. The hunger strike was successful and the Gujarat government imposed a ban on animal slaughter and outlawed the sale of meat and eggs.
About 5 million people in India practice Jainism and agree with the ban.
Virat Sagar Maharaj, a Jain monk, says, “Everyone in this world – whether animal or human being or a very small creature – has all been given the right to live by God.”
As individuals, the best thing you can do to protect animals is to adopt a kind vegan lifestyle. For more information and tips for transitioning…

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Cape Town’s Pop-up Store for the Homeless Goes Global – Good News Network


In a very trendy neighborhood of Cape Town, among chic boutiques and restaurants, two advertising creatives saw from their balcony the homeless residents, too.

They dreamed up the idea of a “Street Store” that makes it easy for the wealthiest residents to donate, and more importantly, a place to give to the poorest with dignity.

Street Store poster boards with hangers are hung from fencing over which donors can lay their clothes. Boxes are placed in a neat row for shoes and accessories. Watch the video below to see it in action.

To date the concept has grown to see street stores being duplicated in the city streets of Brussels, Vancouver, San Diego, Sao Polo and a number of other cities worldwide since then. More than 263 cities from around the world have signed up to host a Street Store — posters have been translated through social media into nine languages.

(WATCH the video below or READ the story in the South African) – Story tip from Mike Kaufmann