Tester Announces $3.5 Million for Environmental Protection Center at Chief Dull Knife College

Funding will go toward Chief Dull Knife’s expansion of its thriving STEM faculties, providing critical water monitoring and land assessments

U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded $3.5 million in grants to Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer to help establish a fully equipped, industry-standard environmental protection center for water quality research and landscape monitoring on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and surrounding areas.

“Access to clean, safe water is a fundamental right, and these funds will help Chief Dull Knife College complete critical water quality monitoring and assessment for residents of Northern Cheyenne,” said Tester. “This new center will provide students in Indian Country with the opportunity to perform cutting-edge STEM research that will hone their professional skills and have a direct impact on improving the health of their community.”

This research center will fill a critical role in the STEM education pipeline for Native students and provide a space for Tribal government, Tribal Colleges, and industry partners to engage with students on environmental issues and strategies. The center will also serve as a clearinghouse for physical data as well as a hub for land management discussions, training, and environmental studies.

Tester has fought hard to ensure Montana’s Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) have the resources they need to best serve their communities and strengthen their economies. This week, Tester led 37 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Leadership demanding the renewal of critical federal funding for Montana’s TCUs. He recently reintroduced his Native Educator Support and Training (NEST) Act to recruit more Native American teachers and retain qualified educators in Indian Country, and he was instrumental in negotiating a budget deal that brought millions to Native American education programs earlier this year. In August, Tester announced $3.5 million for Salish Kootenai College’s indigenous research center, which also focuses on growing STEM opportunities and research in Tribal communities.