WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the seven members of the 2015 class of the Terra Preta do Indio Tribal Fellowship Program. The Terra Preta do Indio Tribal Fellowship, commonly known as USDA's "Tribal Fellowship", matches tribal land-grant faculty and staff with USDA program and research staff to identify research needs specific to Indian Country and tribal communities.
"This Fellowship program is an important professional development opportunity for leaders in the Tribal College and University land-grant system and will enable USDA to learn more about the research and programmatic needs in Indian Country." said Leslie Wheelock, Director of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations. "I am very excited to see how this class of Tribal Fellows will contribute to the future of our Native communities."
The 2015 Terra Preta do Indio Tribal Fellows are:
- Virgil Dupuis, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana;
- Pattie Means, Chief Dull Knife College, Lane Deer, Montana;
- Alexander McMahon, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico;
- Chad Waukechon, College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin;
- Linda Hugelen, United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota;
- Pam Keller, United Tribes Community College, Bismarck, North Dakota;
- Adrian Quijada, Tohono O'odham Community College, Sells, Arizona.
Terra Preta do Indio is Brazilian Portuguese for "Dark Earth of the Indians."
Today's announcement coincides with first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering where American Indian and Native Alaskan Youth are at the White House to discuss the unique challenges of youth in Indian Country with senior Administration officials. This event is part of Obama Administration's Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative to improve the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement.
The 1994 Land Grant Institutions are Native American, tribally-controlled colleges and universities that were granted land-grant status under an Act of Congress in 1994. The 1994 Land Grant Institutions have missions to serve Tribal communities through higher education programs involving teaching, community outreach, and research. There are thirty-four 1994 Land Grant Institutions which primarily serve Native American populations that are typically located in remote, underserved communities that lack access to higher education.