Keystone Policy Center joined with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Towaoc to host a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 18 to honor the leaders, funders, and various stakeholders who made the opening of the Kwiyagat Community Academy a reality. The event featured several Ute Mountain Ute education leaders, Tribal Council members, and elders participating in the program.
Keystone has been working with Ute Mountain Ute leaders to facilitate the planning process for a comprehensive, coordinated, cultural approach to life-long education. The Kwiyagat Community Academy, which is the first school to be located on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation, is a key component of Growing Ute Futures. This long-term initiative creates a comprehensive educational master plan that integrates Ute arts, language, and culture into all levels of education curriculum; provides a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, (Native) arts, and math; and will offer wrap-around services to support youth and families on and off the reservation.
In January, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe was awarded a grant from the RISE Education Fund to support this initiative. The RISE Education fund was launched in Sep. 2020 by the State of Colorado to support high-needs school districts, charter schools, and public institutions of higher education to address the learning challenges related to the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19 in a manner that creates sustainable innovations that improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe also honored Keystone’s Millie Hamner by giving her a blanket and playing an Honor Song. Following the ceremony, Tribal leaders also escorted several attendees to tour the KCA facility.