Char-Koosta News

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Tribal Education Department to send out the 'clones'

By Lailani Upham

Whisper Camel Means, CSKT Wildlife Biologist smiles next to her smiling clone, the first of 15 that will be created through the CSKT Tribal Education Department to help students choose a course of study that is in high demand within the tribal organization and Reservation-wide. (Lailani Upham photo)  Whisper Camel Means, CSKT Wildlife Biologist smiles next to her smiling clone, the first of 15 that will be created through the CSKT Tribal Education Department to help students choose a course of study that is in high demand within the tribal organization and Reservation-wide. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — Near life-size paper dolls of tribal professionals is the recent innovative idea to spark interest in students to pursue careers that are in “high need,” according to Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Education Director Penny Kipp.

Whisper Camel Means, CSKT tribal wildlife biologist is the first of 15 to be cloned and represent her career choice and study.

According to Kipp, CSKT tribal education has taken on the task to assure that all tribal member students will be alerted to what career shortages there are for not only the tribal organization, but for the entire professions across the Flathead Reservation.

In an effort to highlight the career choices for young students CSKT tribal education plans on cloning tribal employees in several fields and transport the huge paper dolls to school events, career fairs, parent teacher conferences, games, classrooms and wherever the department sees fit.

“We need our students to see their aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and community members as role models,” Kipp said.

The “clone” project came from the continuous years of students coming from the schools and when asked what career they are looking to pursue and the response usually was, “I don’t know,” explained Kipp.

“’I don’t know’ is not acceptable, students should be able to answer, ‘I want to work with animals, or in the medical field, social services field, teaching,’ or more,” stated Kipp.

The CSKT tribal education teams says it’s always a treat to have the “real” professional in the classroom – however, when they can’t make it the “clones” can fill in with a smile impressing a career idea in some student’s direction.

CSKT tribal education says each clone will be carry information and personal educational stories from head start to college.

“They will note when in their lives a person or event helped them make the decision to pursue the career they have chosen,” said Kipp. “It will be laid out so that a student can see how far they have already completed in that educational journey and what is left to complete,” she added.

According to CSKT personnel the list goes on for the high need of tribal members to fill certain professional career spots, such as these to name a few: accountants; attorney’s carpentry; nurses; construction/heavy equipment; dental hygienist; dentists; electrical fields engineer; civil; electrical and graphic engineers; environmental protection – wetlands environmental scientist; fisheries biologists; foresters; geographic information systems; information technology; journalism field; pharmacists, physicians; safety/compliance manager; social workers; teachers: Two Eagle River School; early childhood services teachers K – 12 schools, vocational instructors at Kicking Horse Job Corps; and wildlife biologists.

The project is underway and when completed schools and organizations will be able to contact the CKST Tribal Education Department to schedule appearances at events.

For more information contact Penny Kipp at (406) 675-2700, ext. 1072.

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