Over the course of the pandemic, which hit Native commmunities particularly hard, UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center faculty and staff were part of a campaign by the Indigenous Education Now Coalition to encourage Los Angeles leaders to invest in educational opportunities, activities and curriculum for and about K–12 Indigenous students.

On June 22, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to dedicate $10 million to support Indigenous student achievement. The commitment will bring much-needed relief for Native and Indigenous students who have experienced enormous hardships due to the pandemic.

“We hope to play a role in various aspects of the intended activities, including curriculum change,” said Shannon Speed, director of the American Indian Studies Center, which is housed in UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures. “While greater support for Indigenous students in Los Angeles is important for many equity and social justice reasons, we are particularly excited about how these greater supports can help get students on a college track, and even into a pipeline to UCLA.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District has the largest American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous student populations of any district in California.

The Indigenous Education Now Coalition is made up of students, parents, community members, tribes and Native organizations, including UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center.