The aims and goals of NAES College were and continue to be a revolutionary approach to higher education. Through the creation of a college by and for Native Americans, NAES College emphasized a community-based approach to learning that provided incoming students with credit for their life and work experiences while building the next generation of leaders. What follows is the text from an original 1983 document—“The Statement of the Case for NAES College: Building a Model for Higher Indian Education”—expressing both the mission and philosophy of the institution.
To provide a quality educational environment for the student in a community related job or profession in order to develop communicative, analytical, and professional-technical skills directly related to that work position;
To provide a quality educational environment for the student to develop knowledge and understanding of the social, governmental, economic, and educational foundation of the student’s community, within an historical framework;
To develop a professional-credentialed leadership accountable to community whose ideology is one of community control and self-definition;
To develop within the Indian community a system of higher education with a degree granting process relevant to community needs and processes.