About Us

Mission

The mission of the American Indian Resource Center, Inc. is to develop culturally appropriate resources to meet the needs of American Indian communities. AIRC provides professional expertise to and on behalf of American Indian tribes, organizations, and schools, and other interested agencies in the following areas:

  • Training and technical assistance in the areas of education, health, and social services
  • Program development and evaluation
  • Management analysis and assistance
  • Experimental, historical, and survey research
  • Video production
  • Curriculum development

Non-profit Corporation

American Indian Resource Center was chartered as a non-profit corporation with the state of Oklahoma on June 30, 1983. AIRC, Inc. has 501(c) (3) non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service. All members of the Board of Directors are American Indian.

Board of Directors

Margaret Raymond (Cherokee)
Tonia Hogner-Weavel (Cherokee)
Rick Ward (Cherokee)
Teri Rhoades (Cherokee)
Bryan Shade (Cherokee)

History

For more than 30 years, AIRC has successfully operated and managed grants and contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice, Indian tribes, and area schools.  For more information, please contact our office at 918.456.5581 or email us at heather.hale@aircinc.org.

Corporate Capacity

AIRC has two divisions, Educational Talent Search (ETS) and the Institute for Native Justice (INJ). Recent completed projects include Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES Project) and Native Americans Teaming In Vision Empowerment (Project NATIVE), both funded under Department of Health and the Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. AIRC has served as training and technical assistance specialists for the Office on Violence Against Women under the Department of Justice since 2006. AIRC also successfully implemented a breast cancer awareness and education project from 2000 to 2007, funded by the Avon Foundation.

AIRC has focused its youth education development efforts through the Educational Talent Search grant for 23 years. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, this grant serves children in grades 8-12 who are low income and are the first generation in their family to attend college. ETS guidance specialists work with these children to encourage them to stay in school, graduate high school, and go on to postsecondary education such as college, vocational-technical school, or the military. ETS also takes students on field trips, exposing them to different careers and tours of college campuses. Students also receive assistance with scholarship searches and financial aid form completion. Currently, ETS serves 715 students in 10 schools, most of which are in Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, and Mayes Counties.

The EAGLE Scholars grant, a demonstration grant through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education, focused on a core group of students in three schools, tracking them from their sophomore to their senior year of high school. Similar to the Educational Talent Search grant, EAGLE Scholars participants received college preparatory services, but unlike Talent Search, EAGLE Scholars participants must be Native American. Students received special attention to math and science courses using chess and origami, increasing their thinking ability and teaching basic math and geometry concepts in a different way. Students also worked on an animation project animating a traditional Native story using Claymation, telling the stories in the Cherokee language using English subtitles.

In the past 20 years, AIRC operated five educational personnel training programs. Four were funded by the Office of Indian Education and one by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. Approximately 117 students have graduated with a Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate degree from these programs.

The Community Technology Centers operated by AIRC provided two rural Indian communities, one Cherokee and one Creek, with six technology-based programs. These programs included community access to computer technology, technology-based after-school activities, adult education, technology-based career development and job preparation, electronic small business and commerce activities, and technology-based family activities.

AIRC completed two major curriculum projects. One was a gender equity curriculum for secondary age students, based on Cherokee culture and implemented in 10 schools throughout northeastern Oklahoma. The curriculum was published for national distribution by Women’s Equity Program office, U.S. Department of Education. AIRC has also developed and implemented a summer academic enrichment program for the U.S. Department of Labor.  A Shade Tree Curriculum for Work-based Learning was developed for Language Arts, Mathematics, and Pre-Employment skills. This curriculum was used as a model for other Department of Labor Projects.

AIRC has developed the capabilities to provide technology leadership to schools, tribes, and service agencies in this region. AIRC has been a resource to agencies needing expertise in various computer and digital technology by providing technological assistance to school districts who wanted to establish computer learning centers. Also, AIRC has been involved in the production of videos for programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Indian Health Service.

To complete a video project entitled, “Strengthen the Heart Beat,” for the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood, AIRC purchased a professional video camera and a state-of-the-art computer for digital video editing. The Technology Specialist and another member of AIRC’s staff are trained in the use of this equipment as well as the software necessary for digital video editing and visual effects. AIRC has also completed two movies for the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service office: “Quality Care for Life” which explains Contract Healthcare and “Saving Grace” which explains Medicare benefits.

Another achievement is the Youth Empowerment Solutions (“Y.E.S.”) Project. This project provides management support, training and technical assistance for 11 youth serving agencies in northeastern Oklahoma. Funded by the Communities Empowering Youth (CEY) of the Compassion Capital Fund, this three-year project is designed to build the management and program capacity of these organizations by increasing the number of youth served and providing more effective programming and advance organizational sustainability so that they continue to provide youth programming for many years to come.

AIRC has recently completed Project NATIVE (Native Americans Teaming In Visual Empowerment). Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, this grant allowed for 12 outreach workers to be trained in working with the visually impaired. The outreach workers held nine three-weekend workshops aimed at improving the quality of life for Native Americans suffering from vision diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Workshop topics included self-advocacy, life skills, mobility and orientation, etc. After the workshops, outreach workers delivered items ordered by attendees and spend time teaching how to use them.

The Institute for Native Justice, a division of AIRC, Inc., supports the elimination of domestic and sexual violence in Indian communities by providing training and technical assistance addressing safety, confidentiality and social change in tribal and rural communities where there are few or no resources for victims. The Institute’s training and technical assistance builds and assesses organizational and community capacity, increases understanding of domestic and sexual violence victim issues, and trains advocate staff to promote the work of tribal communities to reduce and eliminate violence.

The Institute for Native Justice produced a series of on-line training modules for victim advocates working in Indian Country. This project provides on-line skills-based training for any tribal victim advocate seeking to improve their basic skill level or gain a refresher course without the cost of travel to a conference. The project, called Advocacy On-line Training (AOT), is funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, under the U.S. Department of Justice and is offered at no cost for grantee staff and advocates. A second project, Tribal Response and Court Enhancement Strategies (TRACES), funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, also features a series of on-line training modules for tribal court judges and personnel. Both programs feature modules that focus on cultural and other issues persons with special needs may face both as victims of crime and in accessing tribal courts. Native Voices, a curriculum with video and trainer guide, is another product for improving response and interaction with and between advocates and law enforcement personnel in Indian Country. Native Voices has modules addressing the special needs of victims in Alaska as well.