MIAMI, OK – The Kansas State Legislature recently enacted a provision which will give residency status for the purpose of tuition to citizens of tribal nations with historical ties to the State of Kansas when they enroll at Kansas public institutions of higher learning.
“For quite some time, the Shawnee Tribe has endeavored to obtain in-state tuition for our students in our homeland states,” said Chief Ben Barnes. “The Shawnee Tribe, our government and her people preexist all state lines, and we appreciate the diligence of the Kansas Association for Native American Education with their efforts to secure this for all our Nations."
The full list of tribal nations whose students are eligible for Kansas in-state tuition includes:
The Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas;
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation;
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska;
The Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska;
The Apache Tribe of Oklahoma;
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma;
The Cherokee Nation;
Comanche Nation of Oklahoma;
The Delaware Tribe of Indians;
The Kaw Nation of Oklahoma;
The Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma;
The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma;
The Oneida Nation;
The Osage Nation;
The Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma;
The Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma;
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians;
The Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians;
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians;
The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians;
The Bay Mills Indian Community;
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians;
The Michigan Bands of the Ottawa/Odawa;
The Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma;
The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma;
The Quapaw Tribe of Indians;
The Shawnee Tribe;
The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie) of Oklahoma;
and The Wyandotte Nation
(Source: Kansas Association for Native American Education)
“This legislation takes us one step closer to education sovereignty and the fair and just access to higher education that is our right as Shawnee citizens,” said Joshua Shawnee, Education & Social Services Director at the Shawnee Tribe. “It is our hope that other states will follow suit and provide in-state tuition to all sovereign nations forcibly and fraudulently removed from their ancestral homelands. This is a great first step in acknowledging the incalculable debt our state legislatures owe to Native peoples as they continue to profit from educational institutions built on stolen land.”
Dr. Alex Red Corn, an Osage citizen and Executive Director of Kansas Association for Native American Education (KANAE) expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts of KANAE, the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Advisory Council for Indigenous Education Working Group in passing this legislative provision.
“On behalf of the American Indian communities who stand to benefit from this, I want to thank the leadership at the Kansas Board of Regents for their hard work in making these Nations histories and ongoing presence visible in tangible ways in our systems,” said Red Corn. “We have much more work to do, but this is a great step forward.”
The provision is valid from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, with anticipated annual renewal through the Kansas State Legislature.
About the Shawnee Tribe
The Shawnee Tribe is a sovereign nation of more than 4,000 citizens living across North America and abroad. Tribal headquarters are located in Miami, Oklahoma, and Shawnee Chief Benjamin J. Barnes was elected in 2019. For more information, visit shawnee-nsn.gov.