- President Barack Obama's latest budget request allocates $1 billion for Native American students.
- The requested funds will go toward the renovation of crumbling buildings and the installation of Internet connections, with an additional $150 million going to the Bureau of Indian Education, which monitors almost 200 schools across 23 states.
- Administration officials say Obama was inspired to direct funds toward Native American schools partially because of his visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball, ND, over the summer. The president's first visit to a reservation since entering the Oval Office, it was described as a necessary trip to show his commitment to "upholding our strong and crucial nation-to-nation relationship."
Obama's focus on Native American education is no surprise. In December, the White House released its 2014 Native Youth Report, which declared that Native American education is in a "state of emergency." In response, Obama announced Generation Indigenous, a new initiative aiming to increase opportunities for Native American youth, including grants for efforts to improve college-and-career-readiness.
This push for Native American funding, as well as the 2014 report, is unprecedented. In December, National Indian Education Association Executive Director Ahniwake Rose told The Huffington Post that no sitting U.S. President has discussed Indian education since John F. Kennedy.