Letters to the Editor

Native Americans

The July 20 article Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs describes how colleges around the country are seeing the need to create programs to prepare Native Americans to leave their tribes and start their college careers.

Much like the programs mentioned in the article, the Florida Indian Youth Program, created by the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, helps Native Americans prepare for higher education, employment and self-sufficiency.

The FIYP and its Leadership Academy host American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian teens from Florida and Georgia, each July in Tallahassee.

This intensive, two-week, away-from-home, cost-free camp contains four main curriculum components — academic skills, job skills, life skills and social and cultural activities — as well as college information and preparation.

The FIYP focuses on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — with a special emphasis on robotics, as well as tribal government.

The FIYP has been serving both reservation and non-reservation Native American youth in Florida and Georgia since 1981. It is the oldest, continuously running Indian youth program in the nation.

Robert Kellam, employment and training director, Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, Tallahassee