Arapaho Educational Trust Endowment
For 37 years, Sky People Higher Education has had one goal: to help the Northern Arapaho people fulfill their educational goals.
This past spring, Sky People held an honoring ceremony where 73 tribal members were recognized for earning vocational certificates, associate, bachelors, masters and PhD degrees. In the next few years, Sky People hopes to see those numbers double with the launch of an educational endowment.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe will receive approximately $2.1 million from the Bureau of Indian Affairs over the BIA’s failure to compensate tribes for administrative costs associated with Indian Self Determination programs. As a part of the settlement, the BIA will also reimburse $1,645,000 to Sky People for non-reimbursed administrative costs.
The funds couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s starting to look up,” Sky People Secretary Aldene Underwood said.
Like most tribal organizations across the country, Sky People has felt the crunch of working with a limited budget. This has made it hard to fully fund all the students who qualify for the program. The creation of an endowment will alleviate that problem for future students Sky People Director Lee Spoonhunter said.
The $1.6 million from the reimbursement will be used to establish the Arapaho Educational Trust Endowment with Morgan Stanley. Interest accrued over the years will be used to fund students who attend accredited schools across the country. The other $45,000 will be used towards scholarships in the spring of 2017.
“I’m really glad that we will be able to fund the students,” Spoonhunter said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that the tribe is always going to have this money set in place.”
With the population of the Northern Arapaho Tribe getting younger and younger, stressing the importance of education is more important than ever before, Underwood said.
“These high school students need to realize that after high school the next step is college,” she said. “There is no other way.”
Sky People will receive the funds within the next few weeks. Spoonhunter and his staff are eager to begin this exciting new chapter for not only their organization but for the tribe as a whole.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “This endowment will always be there for the tribe.”
For more information or to apply for a scholarship please visit skypeopleed.org