WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tom Udall on Friday announced that the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education of New Mexico will receive more than $1 million to increase its role in improving education in Indian country.
 
The grant was one of four made through the U.S. Department of Education’s State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) program and includes $357,347 per year to the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education of New Mexico, or more than $1 million for the three-year competitive grant.
 
“I am pleased to see this federal funding go directly to the Navajo Nation for education,” Udall said. “It is important that Native American communities have both the resources and flexibility to make their own judgments about how to educate their children in a way that respects local culture and customs.”
 
The grant will help the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education of New Mexico, which acts as a federally-recognized Tribal Education Authority (TEA), access grant programs directly from the federal government.
 
Elevating Tribal Education Authorities (TEAs) was a major outcome of regional tribal consultations aimed at increasing participation and academic achievement among American Indian students.

TEAs are also a priority in the Department’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization proposal and funding for the STEP program was included in the Department of Education’s fiscal year 2012.

Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.