Resources, Reports & Publications

Books and Reports

Tribal Colleges: Shaping the Future of Native America
Released by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Tribal Colleges: Shaping the Future of Native America was the first policy report to investigate the work of tribal colleges. Based on information gathered from site visits to six tribal colleges, the 1989 monograph provides a snapshot of the institutions and academic programs at a time when most colleges worked out of improvised campuses and provided only a small number of degree options. Despite the barriers faced by the early colleges, the Carnegie Foundation praised the quality of instruction and their efforts to serve communities and strengthen culture. Concluding with ten policy recommendations, the report helped increase national awareness of the young movement and resulted in increased support from both the public and private sectors.

Long out of print, Native Science Report is pleased to make available access to a digitized copy of the original publication. We are grateful to the Carnegie Foundation for providing permission for duplication and sharing.

Telling the Story: Tribal College Rural Systemic Initiative
Published in 2006, Telling the Story investigates the history and outcomes of the Tribal College Rural Systemic Initiative, which was part of the larger Rural Systemic Initiative (RSI), a National Science Foundation-funded effort to strengthen K-12 STEM education in rural and underperforming regions of the nation. Eight chapters, written by seven authors, examine the origins of the TRSI initiative and document how the grant was implemented on seven reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. The TRSI is considered a landmark event in the history of the tribal colleges by validating their role as educational leaders and leading to the development of NSF’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program.

We are grateful to Turtle Mountain Community College for allowing digitization and sharing of the original print document.

Building Community: Reforming Math and Science Education in Rural Schools 
By Paul Boyer. A 2006 monograph examining the impact of the NSF-funded Rural Systemic Initiative, which supported K-12 education reform in regions of “persistent rural poverty.” Discusses programs supported by tribal colleges, as well as innovative school reform initiatives in Alaska, Appalachia, and south Texas, among other regions.


TCUP: A STEM Workforce for the Future
This 2020 NSF-produced video highlights programs leading to workforce development and entrepreneurship training for students at America’s tribal colleges, as well as the related economic development implications for the tribes.

A Best-Kept Secret: STEM Research at Tribal Colleges and Universities
This 2018 documentary showcases examples of original research being conducted by students and faculty at tribal colleges and universities, as well as insights into the students’ academic success and aspirations, and what STEM research means to them.

Weaving STEM Education and Culture
Originally released in 2009, Weaving STEM Education and Culture profiles academic programs and student research projects at eight tribal colleges, from Southwest Indian Polytechnic in New Mexico, to Sitting Bull College in Montana. Through dozens of interviews, the film summarizes the history of the tribal college movement and the impact of TCUP funding on both the colleges and their communities.

Pre-Engineering at Tribal Colleges

Bringing Engineering to Indians
This 2012 report provides a status report on the Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives.

Engineering the Future
This NSF-funded report provides a concise overview of the history and purpose of the Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives.

Engineering Education in the Nation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Workshop Report 
Summarizes a 2005 NSF workshop documenting the need for engineering programs at tribal colleges. Discusses possible approaches to collaboration and program development.

The Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives: Outcomes and Recommendations
Reviews accomplishments and lessons learned from the NSF-funded pre-engineering initiatives within tribal colleges and the University of Hawaii.

STEM Education within Tribal and Native-Serving Colleges and Universities

Building Colleges That Build Nations 
A report summarizing outcomes of the 2016 NSF-TCUP Leaders’ Forum. Presentations and discussions focused on the role of partnerships in developing strong STEM programs within tribal colleges and universities.

Tribal Colleges and Universities Program: 2014 Leaders’ Forum 
A report reviewing growth and development of the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. Documents impact of funding on STEM capacity within Tribal and Native-serving colleges, and discussing emerging role of research within the institutions.

Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) released a report summarizing best practices in STEM education within tribal colleges.

Books and Reports Available for Purchase

The following publications are available for purchase from the University of Nebraska Press:

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science: The Integration of Native Knowledge at Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities
Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science is a collection of essays examining the experiences of Native American tribally controlled colleges and universities working to “Indianize” their math and science curricula. Inspired by the writings of the late Vine Deloria and other Indian scholars, tribal college faculty and key administrators are attempting to take control of the science curriculum and create courses and entire degree programs that link Native and Western ways of knowing. With growing confidence, colleges are validating traditional tribal knowledge and exploring scientific concepts from a Native perspective. Edited and with an introduction by Paul Boyer.

Capturing Education: Envisioning and Building the First Tribal Colleges
By Paul Boyer
Named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2016 by the American Library Association, Capturing Education examines the founding of the first tribally controlled American Indian colleges in the late 1960s and early 1970s and follows their subsequent growth and development, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Based on oral histories recorded over a twenty-year period, it documents the motivations of the movement’s founders and the challenges they faced while establishing colleges on isolated and impoverished Indian reservations. Early leaders discuss the opposition they encountered from both Indians and non-Indians at a time when few people believed Indians could or should start their own colleges. The development of degree programs relevant to the practical needs of reservation communities, however, contributed to their eventual success despite such opposition. Continuing efforts to define and implement a culturally based philosophy of education are also discussed.