Niganawenimaanaanig is a dedicated support community for Bemidji State’s Indigenous nursing students within the four-year and RN-BS programs!

About Niganawenimaanaanig

Since 2017, Niganawenimaanaanig (an Ojibwe word interpreted as “we take care of them”) has served BSU’s Indigenous nursing students, providing a supportive, culturally grounded, communal environment and dedicated program staff who advocate for them.

Niganawenimaanaanig is funded by the HRSA Nursing Workforce Diversity program, which increases nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including ethnic and racial minorities underrepresented among registered nurses nationwide.


Indigenous/American Indian/Alaska Native nursing students who have been accepted into Bemidji State’s pre-licensure four-year or online RN-BS nursing programs are encouraged to apply to the program. Niganawenimaanaanig defines ‘Indigenous’ as a citizen of a tribal nation or a descendant of a citizen of a tribal nation within the United States or Canada.

How We Support You

Sphere of Holistic Support

Academic Support

Bemidji State University’s Nursing Program is rigorous, and students must pass their nursing courses with a grade of 75% or higher. Niganawenimaanaanig offers academic support to all program students and requires those currently earning a B- or lower in any class to attend weekly tutoring sessions until they have a confident grasp of their course material.

Affirming relationships with program staff and students provide a great deal of academic and personal support. Many find the program’s lounge to be a very productive space to seek each other out while on campus. Program staff regularly connect students with course-specific tutors, facilitate study groups and provide referrals to support services whenever possible.

The Niganawenimaanaanig Student Mentor is a dedicated academic resource to program students, providing accountability and support. NINP staff receive updates on students’ class performance and proactively address challenges before leading to more detrimental outcomes.

Cultural Support

Everyone has their own unique heritage, history, cultural practices and beliefs that they hold sacred. Our program staff recognizes and honors how culture impacts and plays a unique role in each student’s life and encourages and supports their cultural identity accordingly.

Niganawenimaanaanig works alongside others to provide cultural learning opportunities on campus and within the community, often supporting the American Indian Resource Center with events hosted at BSU throughout the year.

Niganawenimaanaanig serves a campus centrally located geographically among the three largest Anishinaabe/Ojibwe tribal nations in Minnesota (Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth). Many of its students represent these strong communities. Niganawenimaanaanig program staff are enrolled members of Anishinaabe/Ojibwe tribal nations or allied with them.

Financial Support

Economic stability plays a pivotal role in the retention and success of nursing students. Niganawenimaanaanig is honored to provide financial consistency to nursing program students through semester awards (scholarships) and monthly stipends.

Niganawenimaanaanig students within the RN-BS track are eligible to receive financial assistance upon admission to the nursing program. In contrast, 4-year track students receive financial support once they are selected for the BSU nursing program (typically in their sophomore year). Award and stipend amounts may vary year to year and are determined by individual credit load, need and Bemidji State’s Financial Aid Office.

Niganawenimaanaanig students may also be eligible to receive some of the required nursing program items through Niganawenimaanaanig, such as uniforms and stethoscopes. The program can also provide laptops to eligible program students!

Social Support

For many students, the unique challenges of nursing school are spent apart from their supportive families and home communities, often for the first time. Niganawenimaanaanig is an inclusive community for Indigenous nursing students that encourages academic achievement and perseverance through the ups and downs of college life, drawing strength and encouragement from its circle of students and staff.

Few nursing programs in the nation are committed to supporting their students with a full-time student mentor. All Niganawenimaanaanig students have a scheduled weekly check-in with the program’s Student Mentor to discuss their goals, celebrate successes and address any challenges they may face. Located alongside the program’s lounge, the Student Mentor is readily available to listen, offer encouragement or bridge resources with each student’s unique pathway in mind.

Located in Bensen Hall, which houses BSU’s Nursing Department faculty, clinical simulation lab and most nursing classrooms, Niganawenimaanaanig has a dedicated lounge that is comfortable and inviting. The home-like atmosphere provides a space for students to hang out, study, eat and relax together.

Niganawenimaanaanig holds gatherings at the beginning and close of each semester for all program students, providing an opportunity for everyone within to get together and encourage one another.


To be a part of Niganawenimaanaanig, please apply through the Niganawenimaanaanig Student Application