Rhiley Big Beaver wins CSKT Christmas card Contest
By Lailani Upham
(L to R) Austin Big Beaver, Eldon Big Beaver, Catherine Eneas, and contest winner Rhiley Big Beaver gather together next to the Christmas card tree in the lobby of the CSKT Tribal Complex. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Fifth grader Rhiley Big Beaver was the winner of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Education 2011 Christmas Card contest. Big Beaver's design came from an idea of a Christmas play she is performing in at Dayton Elementary.
Big Beaver's card was picked from staff throughout the CSKT tribal departments, according to Miranda Burland CSKT Indian Education Advocate.
The IEC Parent Committees are usually the group to judge and select the winning card, however this year staff selected their 'favorites' from the artistic drawings while each artist remained anonymous, Burland stated.
Each year the Tribal Education department selects a single school district giving usually fourth graders a chance at the contest.
This year the contest was open up to a few select schools giving all the elementary grades a shot at the 'bragging rights' and a $25 Wal-Mart gift card and a box of 25 printed with their winning design.
The select card becomes the yearly Christmas card mailed out by the CSKT Tribal Council.
Over 350 cards are mailed out to governors, senators, other tribes, businesses, and government agencies, including the White House.
The Tribal Education Christmas card contest began in 1998, within the Arlee school district.
The winning Christmas card by Rhiley J. Big Beaver set up at the award luncheon on Tuesday, December 6. (Lailani Upham photo)
The Tribal Education Department sends out a call for entries before the holiday break allowing students a three-week time line to get their artwork and entry forms back to the Tribal Education Department.
The tribal education staff say they look forward each year to the celebration lunch to honor the student, family and school by hosting a one-hour luncheon at the Tribal Complex."It's an exciting, good time for the family to celebrate and for us to get to know the families," Burland said.
"It's my favorite time of the year," stated Penny Kipp, CSKT Tribal Education Director.
An invitation for the luncheon honoring is sent out to the parents, Tribal Council, teacher, school principal and superintendent.
CSKT Tribal Council Vice-Chair Joe Durglo was present to congratulate the young artist. Mr. Bick, Big Beaver's teacher was not able to make the luncheon.
Family members present were: dad, Eldon Big Beaver; mother, Catherine Eneas; big brother Austin Big Beaver; and grandma Cleo Kenmille.
For information regarding CSKT Tribal Education, contact Penny Kipp at (406) 675-2700, ext. 1072.