|June 20 2013
Conference at SKC connects education leaders for change
By Alyssa Nenemay
Student Support Services Instructor Allen Addison (left) introduces Dr. Henrietta Mann (right) of the Southern Cheyenne Nation. Mann was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” during the conference. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
PABLO — Salish Kootenai College served as co-host to the fifth annual Native American Student Advocacy Institute (NASAI) conference. The two-day event connects Native American leaders from across the US to work together in creating “lasting, effective change” for tribal students and education.
NASAI is a program that was developed under The College Board, a non-profit organization that “helps prepare and ensure students’ success in higher education.” Serving more than 6,000 colleges and universities, The College Board works with students in three categories: college readiness, college connection and success, and advocacy.
Attendees and presenters at the NASAI conference included tribal educators, policy makers, counselors, and advocates. “As we strive to build a healthier, more vibrant education system, we will depend on strong leaders with bold visions to guide our way,” said College Board President David Coleman.
Day two of the Native American Student Advocacy Institute conference was held at the Salish Kootenai College. The conference connects various tribal leaders to discuss tribal education. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)
A strong leader in Native American education includes Dr. Henrietta Mann, founder and current president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College in Oklahoma. A member of the Southern Cheyenne nation, Mann was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” during this year’s NASAI conference.
“Education is so important,” said Mann. “It’s a way to retain our traditions as the first people of this nation. Our land holds us to our traditional ways and education helps us retain our land and possessions. Education also allows us to work for the good of those who don’t have the means or ability to care for themselves.”
As part of her vision, Mann said it’s important for tribal communities to tailor the education system to meet their unique needs. “The non-Indian education system teaches about their culture, their history, it teaches about who they are. Tribal education emphasizes who we are: our culture, our beliefs–our languages. It says: ‘You have a right to be who you are,’” she said.
As another NASAI conference reached its end, Mann shared her hopes for the world. “My hope is that there will be peace in the world. Peace in our tribal communities. It starts with peace within. When we have peace within, we have the ability to confront addiction, violence, and that sense of hopelessness in our community,” she said.
For more information on The College Board visit: www.collegeboard.org.