Michigan Inter-Tribal Land-Grant Extension System Team receives MSU Extension Diversity and Multiculturalism Award

The Michigan Inter-Tribal Land-Grant Extension System Team received the MSU Extension Diversity and Multiculturalism Award Sept. 28 during the annual Fall Extension Conference held virtually on Sept. 28.

The Michigan Inter-Tribal Land-Grant Extension System (MILES) Team works to strengthen relationships between partners Michigan State University Extension, MSU Native American Institute, Bay Mills Community College, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Michigan Inter-Tribal Land-Grant Extension Team is made includes Patrick Cudney, Cheryl Eschbach, Lupe Gonzalez, Brianna Gunka, DeAnna Hadden, Kathleen Hart, Kathryn Jacques, Kit Laux, Dionardo Pizaña, Christie Poitra, Emily Proctor, Beth Stuever, and Stephen Yanni. 

The team hosted the inaugural Michigan Tribal Land-Grant Summit in February 2019 and initiated tribal topic sessions at the 2018 and 2019 MSU Extension Fall Extension Conference (FEC). In 2019, for the first time, FEC had representation from Michigan Tribal Nations and 1994 Tribal Colleges in attendance and on the conference planning committee. Members of the MILES Team have facilitated in-person and now virtual meetings with tribal governments and organizations. A tribal webinar series was created to provide education and highlight the work of partners regarding key tribal topics to bring all interested staff into discussions around serving and connecting with tribal communities.

During the February 2019 Tribal Leaders Collaboration Kick-Off meeting at the Kellogg Center, the MILES Team captured discussions that occurred between MSU Extension and 1994 Tribal College leadership. These discussions demonstrated the past success and potential of working together. Summary reports provided to tribal partners informed ways the land-grant systems could collaborate.

In fall 2019, survey data were collected from MSU Extension staff about their current programming efforts with tribal communities. Results have been shared with the MILES Team and with MSU Extension district directors.

The MILES Team remains committed to continuous learning together and continues to build trust, engage in candid conversations, and challenge the status quo. In addition, the team strives for transparency and inclusiveness across the land-grant system to best serve Michigan Tribal Nations. These exceptional efforts are worthy of the Diversity and Multiculturalism Award.

These awards are designed to recognize Extension professionals whose significant accomplishments have resulted in innovative programming that reinforces the organization’s commitment to reaching diverse audiences. One individual and one team awards each year; majority of team must be ESP members.

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