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Tue Aug 28, 2018, 11:53 AM

Dine College Celebrates 50 Years (Tribal College Journal)

(I just found this journal. Hope others find it interesting and useful as well)

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Diné College has served as a model for TCUs in other ways. Its dispersed campus serves as many students as possible across its vast nation. Diné College’s model of providing tribal members access to higher education across such vast landscapes is used by many TCUs located in rural areas, with a multitude of campus centers serving diverse constituents. But the college’s commitment to tribal culture and language is its greatest contribution. In today’s world, electronic media and a myriad of influences that are not always honest impact many of our people, particularly our young people. Maintaining and improving our efforts for culturally based educators and language preservation is paramount, but strengthening our efforts is always a challenge. Diné College has developed many resources and methods that can help all TCUs.

When I became president of SGU in 1972–1973, Tom Atcitty served as Navajo Community College’s president. Atcitty and the college’s board of regents were extremely helpful, dedicated, and knowledgeable when securing tribal college legislation. I thank them all for what they did. Gratitude is also extended to the tribal chairman and the Navajo council. Their college legislation preceded the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act of 1978. Despite having secured funding legislation for his own college, President Atcitty served on our American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) team, knocking on congressional doors and representing AIHEC and its members as we sought our own tribal college legislation.

At the time, AIHEC was composed of six institutions: Navajo Community College, D-Q university in California, the lakota Higher Education Center (now Oglala Lakota College), Turtle Mountain Community College, Standing Rock Community College (now Sitting Bull College), and Sinte Gleska College. Soon, additional institutions, including Fort Berthold Community College (now Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College), Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC), Sisseton Wahpeton College, and several other institutions joined the AIHEC family to strengthen the tribal college movement. Particularly helpful was when NICC joined because its president, Louie LaRose, was also the president of the Winnebago Nation of Nebraska. He drew a salary only from his tribal chairmanship position. This helped our efforts in Washington, DC, because Congress paid particular attention to tribally elected leaders. As such, it helped that I was an elected representative on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council and the president of AIHEC. When meeting with congressional officials or providing legislative testimony, our AIHEC team, led by Executive Director David Gipp (Hunkpapa Lakota), began with introductions followed by discussion. Atcitty would present first, then LaRose, and finally I concluded the AIHEC testimony. We were a good, strong team. Eventually, as we added new tribal college members, we increased the number of AIHEC presenters at congressional testimonies.

We were thankful Navajo Community College had paved the way, creating awareness that tribal educational institutions could exist. However, the development of additional tribal colleges initially concerned congressional leaders. They fretted over proliferation and its prospective cost, which is a big reason why it took us six years before succeeding legislatively. Eventually, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act in November of 1978. Most importantly, Diné College blazed the trail for tribal nations across Indian Country to use their own educational institutions to prepare Native students and their families and to strengthen tribal practices based on ancestral values. The college has also utilized technology to assist in creating a tribal future where our descendants, a thousand years from now, can say with pride that they still are a people of tribal or Indigenous descent.

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5 replies, 1753 views

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Reply Dine College Celebrates 50 Years (Tribal College Journal) (Original post)
niyad Aug 2018 OP
Jake Stern Aug 2018 #1
niyad Aug 2018 #2
Jake Stern Aug 2018 #3
niyad Aug 2018 #4
Jake Stern Aug 2018 #5

Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue Aug 28, 2018, 12:26 PM

1. Attended here

Tsaile campus is so beautiful but so far from anything.

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Response to Jake Stern (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 28, 2018, 12:27 PM

2. what was it like for you?

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Response to niyad (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 28, 2018, 12:56 PM

3. One of the most amazing experiences of my life

Worked on the 2003 Pow wow. Can still speak some Navajo, including the traditional clan introduction.

One of my friends was a guide at Canyon de Chelly and he would take me into the non-public parts to see ancient handprints on the walls of the canyon.

On edit: Developed an addiction to frybread and mutton stew there.

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Response to Jake Stern (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 28, 2018, 01:00 PM

4. thank you for sharing a bit of your experience.

getting to see some of the non-public parts of Canyon de Chelly???? wowwwww. I am so very envious!!

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Response to niyad (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 28, 2018, 01:16 PM

5. So wonderful.

The only iffy experience I had on the rez was watching them butcher a sheep. Nearly turned me into a vegetarian.

Believe it or not the thing I most enjoyed was during Sunday brunch at the cafeteria. There was an elderly woman who worked there and she would sit with me and tell me stories of her youth while I ate. Much of the time I was the only one there (most went home on weekends).

Another awesome person is Dr. Wilson Aronlith, a professor there. Raised very traditionally. He taught his classes almost exclusively in Navajo so one of my classmates would have to translate for me. He would punctuate his Navajo culture classes with anecdotes. My favorite was when and where he met his wife: at their wedding.

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