Future tribal college gets tribal support
By Kevin Barnett/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Osage Nation Congress unanimously passed ONC Resolution 19-14, which authorized a charter of Bacone College by the Nation on June 25, 2019.
“We are proud to forge this partnership that will provide higher educational opportunities for our students,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.
In a press release, Bacone College President Dr. Ferlin Clark said the school would like to build on the Osage Nation charter with other Oklahoma tribes.
The Osage Nation’s decision comes just one month after the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma unanimously approved their charter agreement with the college, which marked the institution’s first step in applying for approval as a Title I Tribal College with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
A Title I tribal college designation through AIHEC would allow for the school’s accreditation status to change from ‘private’ to ‘public,’ thus allowing for a lowering of tuition rates.
One year ago, Bacone temporarily suspended operations, due to severe debt and was able to reopen only after selling property, cutting sports programs and reducing faculty.
“We are thankful that the Osage Nation has joined us in our goal to form a consortium of Oklahoma tribes to transition Bacone into a tribal college,” said Bacone College President Dr. Ferlin Clark.
Bacone began in 1885 when the founders were granted a 160-acre tract of land in Muskogee, Oklahoma by the MCN Tribal Council for the purpose of educating Natives to be ‘teachers and preachers’ for their own tribes, in their own language.