About

What does this web site provide?

This web portal provides information about and access to, Indian Country Extension in America. It features the programs of extension professionals who work almost exclusively in Indian Country--defined as Indian reservations, communities and tribal jurisdictional areas. They are employees of the extension organizations within fifteen selected 1862 land-grant universities and potentially all thirty five 1994 tribal land-grant colleges. Several are employed directly with their tribe.

What is extension?

Extension is a term that was first used as part of the Smith-Lever Act of May 8, 1914. This Act provided for the development and delivery of ..."useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture and home economics...in connection with the 1862 and 1890 colleges receiving benefits of land-grant legislation...". In 1914, congress appropriated funds to every state in support of what became known as extension work. Later additional permanent funding was keyed to a formula based on proportions of rural population, and later still, on state financial contributions or offset.

The resulting extension educational programs began as Agricultural Extension Services delivered by the 1862 land grant colleges. Agricultural and home demonstration agents, employees of the colleges, were stationed across the state in rural counties, and tasked to provide educational programs for county residents. Most of these programs are now named Cooperative, rather than Agricultural, Extension.

Funding for traditional extension has grown since 1914 to include approximately 9,500 local extension workers across the nation in over 3,100 local offices. They are supported by the seventeen 1890 institutions and fifty-four 1862's. An additional 4,700 people are employed as campus-based faculty specialists and supervisors/administrators. A negotiated combination of federal, state and county funding provides the largest source of appropriated support for these programs.

What is Indian Country Extension?

Indian Country Extension differs from traditional extension. The government-to-government relationship between Indian Tribes and the U.S. government is very different than that between counties, states and the federal government. The funding protocols are, as a result, quite different as well. Programs are similar, but carefully designed to be culturally sensitive, and respectful of tribal sovereignty. There are three institutional methods that deliver extension programs to Indian Country.

Although some extension work is conducted in Indian Country by the traditional 1862 and 1890 county-based programs, most is conducted by one of three other arrangements: Federally-Recognized Tribal Extension Programs (FRTEP, formerly Extension Indian Reservation Program), Tribal College Extension Programs, or those administered solely by a tribe.