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University of Minnesota
March 27, 2012
The four-story American Indian Learning Resource Center would consolidate American Indian studies programs into one building at the southwest corner of campus.
American Indian Learning Resource Center would bring together vital programs
By Rick Moore
The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is a leader in education for and about American Indians, to be sure. It was one of the first universities in the United States to recognize American Indian studies as a discipline, and it boasts one of the largest Native student populations (about 125) in the country.
In addition, there are more than 20 different American Indian programs and services scattered around campus—programs designed to support students in fields like biomedical research and health sciences, as well as education, tribal governance, and social work.
To unite these programs and provide better support for UMD’s students, both Indian and non-Indian, the University is proposing a new four-story American Indian Learning Resource Center (AILRC) located at the southwest corner of campus. It’s part of the University’s 2012 Capital Request being considered at the Minnesota State Legislature.
"The need for the American Indian Learning Resource Center is great,” says Lendley (Lynn) Black, UMD chancellor. “In addition to giving classroom space to a crowded campus, this project will strengthen the education of students who are American Indian as well as students from all walks of life. As a premier center for American Indian teaching and research, it will be a gathering place for the UMD campus and for the diverse citizens of Minnesota, allowing an enhanced understanding of the American Indian community and culture.”
A place for coming together
The building would consolidate a number of important American Indian programs, including: Bridges to the Future (baccalaureate and doctoral degree programs helping to increase the number of American Indian students in biomedical and behavioral sciences research); the Center for American Indian and Minority Health (supporting students pursuing careers in health sciences); the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies (strengthening social work skills); and the Eni-gikendaasoyang Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Language Revitalization (programs for people seeking educational careers based in indigenous knowledge and language).
In addition, the AILRC would house the second largest American Indian–specific library in the Upper Midwest (the Mishoomis Collection), as well as artworks from the campus’s Tweed Museum of Art.
The new AILRC would also help to centralize outreach activities, which receive strong support from regional tribal organizations, private partnerships, and the local community. These include early childhood education and language immersion. It would also host public events that further strengthen these local relationships.
To learn more about the project, visit AILRC.