Nihewan Foundation

Nihewan Foundation Programs 2023

The Nihewan Foundation works in five areas:
  • Scholarships;
  • Curriculum Development;
  • The Cradleboard Teaching Project;
  • Teacher Training;
  • The Nihewan Youth Council on Race.


A thirty-two year history: two recipients of Nihewan scholarships went on to found and preside over tribal colleges (Sinte Gleska University, in South Dakota; and Deganawida-Quetzalcoatl College in California.) Scholarship applicants are required to explain their extenuating circumstances; prove that they have already applied for scholarship funding at other foundations who sometimes have funding that goes unrequested; and still lack the funding necessary to complete the task. Nihewan Scholarship Application Form pdf


Expanded well beyond the original text and graphics curriculum units begun in the 1970s, the Nihewan Foundation now creates interactive online curriculum as well as interactive multimedia CD-ROM curriculum. All Core Curriculum matches National Content Standards, and differs from Tribe Specific curriculum and Supplementary Curriculum which is developed at the local level with our education partners. Some is free, some is reserved for Cradleboard Teaching Project participants, and some is available for purchase at the Cradleboard Teaching Project website store.

Thanks to support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in 1999-2000 the Nihewan Foundation was able to sponsor a Giveaway Program and distributed close to 2000 free copies of SCIENCE: Through Native American Eyes to underserved minority teachers and students in the US and Canada.

On our curriculum wish list is the second volume in the SCIENCE: Through Native American Eyes series which will develop Star Knowledge (Astronomy), Indigenous Medicines (Botany) and Careers in Science for high school students of all ethnicities.


Begun informally in the early 1980s, in 1997 the Nihewan Foundation initiated the Cradleboard Teaching Project, partnering with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation who generously provided startup funds to model the Project in eighteen states. Since that time, thousands of children have benefited by building a knowledge base in core subjects and Indigenous studies, increasing test scores, raising self esteem, and creating cross cultural friendships.

Cradleboard's signature Partnering Program includes a partnership between an indigenous class and a non-indigenous class of the same age. Together, the children learn about themselves and their partner class, while also studying Nihewan's core curriculum in Science, Music, Geography and Social Studies, as seen through indigenous perspectives. Website:

A core curriculum and cross cultural partnering program, Cradleboard is culturally rich, educationally relevant, and for all the children, personally empowering in a world just learning to celebrate, rather than discourage, personal uniqueness.

The Cradleboard Teaching Project was named an example of Best Promising Practices by the President's Initiative on Race.


In the 1990s, the foundation added a Teacher Training program, serving teachers in US and Canada. At Cradleboard 101 Workshops, groups of teachers, teacher education professors, and administrators become comfortable with interactive multimedia, internet techniques for curriculum delivery, and Cradleboard Methods for use in pre-service classrooms. They also focus on the SCIENCE: Through Native American Eyes interactive multimedia curriculum.

Note: At some colleges this CD-ROM has been mandatory for all teacher candidates, who are also required to use the CD-ROM in their practice teaching experience in classrooms. NIHEWAN YOUTH COUNCIL ON RACE: Offered from time to time by arrangement, this is another Nihewan Foundation initiative based in cross cultural self esteem, communication, and education. YCR is an opportunity for youth ages 14-19 to define and discuss race issues online with peers from other cultural backgrounds and foreign nations. No cost involved. Public interaction welcome, with additional options, Discussion Boards, Chat Rooms available to Youth Council on Race members. Awards and travel rewards for Outstanding Participation and Best Practices.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's COD-YES! Youth Engagement Strategy included the Youth Council on Race program as part of a network of fourteen local and national foundations, each of whom serve youth in a unique way. Click here to see reviews and comments about Nihewan Foundation programs and educational materials. ©2001 Nihewan Foundation |Welcome Menu|