The American Indian College Fund Named to Administer Historic Education Endowment as Part of Cobell v. Salazar Settlement

DENVER, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Indian College Fund was named by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the plaintiffs of Cobell v. Salazar to administer the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund settlement for post-secondary vocational and higher education. The $60 million holding fund was designated as part of the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement through the vision and leadership of the late lead plaintiff, Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, who initiated the class action lawsuit in 1996 on behalf of American Indians whose trust land funds had been mismanaged by the federal government for decades. Before her passing, Cobell said the set-aside of funds from the settlement for a higher education would "mean a great deal… to the Indian youth whose dreams for a better life including the possibility of one day attending college can now be realized."

The U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund would allow the nation "to move forward and address the educational, law enforcement, and economic development challenges we face in Indian Country."

Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, "We are honored by the confidence the government and plaintiffs have demonstrated in us. They have confirmed what our supporters know: The American Indian College Fund has a proven history of 24 years of leadership and fiscal responsibility. We are rooted in advancing educational and vocational scholarships for Native peoples while maintaining strong relationships with Native communities. American Indian and Alaska Native people will be proud that the Fund, with its strong legacy in Indian Country, was selected. I would like to recognize the contributions of the Richard Williams, former President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund now serving as Senior Advisor, who proposed establishing a separate education fund for scholarships to the late Elouise Cobell. Together their strong vision will improve the future for young Native people. We look forward to working with the special trustees of the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund to discuss how we will implement and raise additional funding to improve access to education for all Indian people, regardless of financial circumstance, transforming Indian Country."

As part of the agreement, the Fund will distribute 20% of scholarship monies to the American Indian Graduate Center of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Sam Deloria, the Center's Executive Director, said, "The American Indian Graduate Center is happy to congratulate the American Indian College Fund and knows it will do a great job as it has done over the years. We extend our offer of cooperation and support and look forward to working with the Fund."

About the American Indian College Fund
With its credo "Educating the Mind and Spirit," The American Indian College Fund is the premier scholarship organization for Native students. Created in 1989 to provide scholarships and support for the nation's 34 tribal colleges, the Fund receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, and received its third consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator. It provides more than 3,500 Native students with scholarships annually.

SOURCE American Indian College Fund

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