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Little River Institute celebrating renovation of facilities

 

January 29, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Students Nancy C. Stiffarm, from left, and Amber WhiteClay get help from education professor Joseph Todd Tuesday in the Little River Institute at Montana State University-Northern. The Little River Institute was created to serve as a center of tutoring, mentoring and support for American Indian students.

Montana State University-Northern Little River Institute is hosting an open house Thursday beginning at noon, featuring tours and guest speakers. 

    Noon to 1 p.m. is set for welcoming people who attend, and from 1 to 4 p.m. tours will take place.

Refreshments will also be served.

"The Little River Institute Open House is in celebration of the completion of the renovations that have been in progress through several phases over the past four years," Northern Little River Institute Director Erica McKeon-Hanson said. 

She and Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel will speak at the open house, she said, adding that she will share a bit of history about the Little River Institute and thank all who have helped to make the space a reality.

She said Kegel will welcome students and visitors to the newly renovated space. 

   "The purpose of the Little River Institute is to provide a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for American Indian students that is reflective of their tribal cultures and values while they attend Northern," McKeon-Hanson said. "When our students are away from their homelands and families pursuing their education, we want them to feel that the Little River Institute is their home, and our staff and fellow students are their family on campus."

  She said the Little River Institute  was established after Northern received a five-year $1.9 million dollar federal grant from the Native American Serving Nontribal  Institutions Program of the U.S. Department of Education in the fall of 2015. 

"The overarching goal of the grant is to improve retention and four-year completion rates of American Indian students at Northern," she said. "The Little River Institute is designed to serve the American Indian students who attend Northern.

"American Indian students currently account for 15 percent of the overall student population at Northern," McKeon-Hanson added, saying that amounts to approximately 160 students.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

An administrator works Tuesday in the conference room for the Little River Institute at Montana State University-Northern.

She said for an institution to be eligible for the Native American Serving Nontribal Program grant, it must meet the requirement of having at least 10 percent of its undergraduate population represented by American Indian students.

"Currently, in the state of Montana, Northern is the only non-tribal institution that meets that threshold," McKeon-Hanson said. "MSU-N remains the first and only  Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions grant project in the state of Montana."

She added that the Little River Institute has made significant gains in the retention rate of the American Indian students over the years through four main culturally responsive activities, which were aimed to increase academic and social engagement of American Indian students.

Those activities are tutoring, professional development, mentoring and having a gathering space.

For more information about the Little River Institute people can visit http://www.msun.edu/lri/index.aspx .

 

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