” Tribal Colleges Give Remarkable Return on Investment” – Indian Country Today

Ryan Winn is the Humanities Department Chair at the College of Menominee Nation, and in an article published in Indian Country Today, he eloquently gives Ms. Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report, the “what for” after she published a not-too-accurate article about success rates at tribal colleges. Mr. Winn’s response article can be found here, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/03/23/tribal-colleges-give-remarkable-return-investment


Grand Traverse Band and Little River Band Mourn the Loss of Two Prevalent Tribal Members

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, George “Skip” Duhamel, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), walked on to the spirit world, leaving behind family and friends to remember and mourn his loss.  Skip was a GTB treaty fisher who long ago followed in his father, Arthur Duhamel’s footsteps, to exercise treaty fishing rights.  Skip stood firm in his belief that these rights were inherent, and fought vigorously to establish, then preserve them, for future GTB tribal members–true to the seven-generation teachings. The landmark case resulting from such a fight, GTB v Director, MDNR, et al, was upheld on appeal in 1998, and proved to be a great victory for Indian treaty rights. The opinions are included with this article.

Skip was also known to be a sensitive artist and a silver-smith; and in his youth, protector of younger Indians in the tribal community.

His obituary is included with this post; it outlines additional accomplishments and information about Skip’s legacy.  Skip was a wonderful father, son, and friend to all who knew him and he will be sorely missed by the tribal community and the non-native community as well.


Earlier this week, on Sunday, July 6, 2014, Robert “Bobby Joe” Memberto, a member of the Little River Band of Odawa Indians (LRB), and LRB Director of Commerce, also walked on to the spirit world.  An article on Bobby Joe can be found here: http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2014/07/little_river_band_of_ottawa_in_1.html

Bobby Joe was a wonderful friend and family man. He was well known throughout Michigan’s Indian community, as well as the non-native communities. Governor Snyder wrote a letter of condolences to Bobby Joe’s family, which was read at service and feast held in Bobby Joe’s honor on July 9th.  Bobby Joe will be greatly missed by LRB and GTB communities, as well as the non-native community.

Kellogg Foundation Contributes $1.4 Million to Preserve Montana’s Indigenous Cultures

From PND:

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1.4 million grant to Salish Kootenai College educator Julie Cajune to create classroom materials focused on preserving Montana’s Indian history and culture, Char-Koosta News reports.

With the grant, Cajune plans to make a film that focuses on the cultural sovereignty of Native tribes and create a “parallel history” that discusses American-Indian historical events and contributions on the timeline commonly taught in U.S. history classes. In addition, Cajune will prepare a children’s book, illustrated calendar book, and seminars and workshops for teachers.

Cajune was recently named one of the “fifty visionaries who are changing the world” by the UTNE Reader for her efforts to gather histories of the twelve recognized tribes in Montana as part of the state’s Indian Education for All Act. Although Montana passed the legislation in 1999, it did not approve adequate funding to enact it in school districts across the state until 2005. Since then, Cajune has partnered with Indian Law clinic professors and tribal attorneys and historians to preserve American-Indian histories.

“As an Indian person, it’s time the United States engages in truth-telling of its own history,” said Cajune. “Even in the higher education sector the Indian history is distorted; it’s shameful.”

Upham, Lailani. “Julie Cajune Awarded Grant to Preserve Indigenous Cultures.” Char-Koosta News 2/04/10.

News Article about Tohatchi Elementary School

From Yahoo:

TOHATCHI, N.M. – Fifth grader Darius Yazzie’s after-school chores include hauling water for horses and feeding chickens, while his classmate, Shanika Begay, rides a bus 15 miles each way through the rolling hills of this impoverished corner of the Navajo Nation.

Some students travel a much greater distance, as far as 45 miles on dirt roads that become impassable in bad weather. Some of their homes lack electricity and running water. About 83 percent of Shanika’s and Darius’ classmates are poor, according to state data, with about 80 percent designated as English language learners.
While Tohatchi Elementary School is a new building this year, with walls decorated with Navajo language posters and student artwork, the demographics of poverty and language have added up in the past to some of the worst test scores in New Mexico.

But about four years ago, Shanika, Darius and other students noticed a change.

A bespectacled, mustachioed man with a buoyant character was there to greet them each morning. George Bickert, who as a first-year principal had to get a special waiver to take the job, immediately learned his students’ names. He gave them smiles, hugs and high fives. He led early morning basketball games, which Darius loved.

Like those games, Bickert turned academics into a challenge, one that he believed these students could win. And win they did.

Tohatchi boosted its math scores from 15 percent of the students being proficient in 2006 to nearly 78 percent this year. Reading scores rose from nearly 28 percent of the students being proficient to almost 71 percent this year, according to state data. Continue reading

Mother Earth Water Walk

Two Anishinawbe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinawbe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes.

Along with a group of Anishinabe-que and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007.

This year they are walking around Lake Michigan again, with the send off on April 26th in Manistee, Michigan.  For more information about the walk, click here.