In October of 1974, Blackfeet Tribal Business Council chartered the Blackfeet Community College by Executive Action to, “. . . provide post-secondary and higher educational services . . .” to the residents of the Blackfeet Nation and surrounding communities. The impetus for this action grew from early tribal efforts to provide an educational opportunity to its residents in a physically, climatically and culturally isolated area.
The Blackfeet Tribe, in its relationship with the federal government as a sovereign Indian nation, is recognized as a nation within a nation through treaties, laws and executive orders. In the late 1960’s federal programs and laws resulted from tribal efforts to promote the health, education and welfare of their people. The Indian Education Act of 1972 and Office of Economic Opportunity programs of the 1964 Act provided new resources for tribes to provide adult education. The Blackfeet Tribe took advantage of these programs in its quest to develop itself economically and promote self-sufficiency with the idea that the development of human resources is integral to the improvement of the Blackfeet Tribe.
In 1972 the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council established a 10-year comprehensive plan for the Blackfeet Nation. Needs and goals were identified through needs assessments and studies, done in conjunction with the implementation of federal programs. The plan identified the need for a community college or vocational/technical school, new facilities and educational programs.
In 1976 the Blackfeet Board of Tribal Educators, under the auspices of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, entered into an agreement with Flathead Valley Community College of Kalispell, Montana, to offer extension courses on the reservation. Flathead Valley Community College, via a Title III Strengthening Institutions grant, then established an extension center on the Blackfeet Reservation. Coordinators were subsequently hired to supervise and implement programs and courses. Students at Blackfeet Community College earned credits from Flathead Valley Community College since Blackfeet Community College was not an independent accredited entity.
In early 1979 the Blackfeet Board of Regents took action to become an independent institution. The college sought candidacy status for accreditation from the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Candidacy status was granted by the NWASC Commission on Colleges in December of 1979. In 1980 Blackfeet Community College ended a beneficial relationship with Flathead Valley Community College and began serving students as a separate institution. This new status enabled Blackfeet Community College to more closely tailor its offerings to the needs and interests of local students. On December 11, 1985 Blackfeet Community College received accreditation. The college’s accreditation was most recently reaffirmed in 2000 after an extensive self-study review process.