Stewart Remembered as Life-long TeacherMay 15th, 2005 | By tcj | Category: 16-4: International Indigenous Education, Tribal College News
One of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s (AIHEC’s) first employees, Wilhelmina “Buddine” Fredericks Stewart, died Jan. 29, 2005. Stewart (Mandan/Hidatsa) began work as the curriculum director when the organization opened its doors in Denver in October 1973.
She conducted workshops on curriculum development and staff development for the first original tribal colleges, according to AIHEC’s first executive director, David M. Gipp. During the 10 years that she worked for AIHEC, the number of tribal colleges more than tripled from the initial six.
“She was a life-long teacher, beginning at age 17, and a champion horsewoman,” Gipp says. She taught at several rural schools in North Dakota before going back to school at New Mexico A&M College (now New Mexico State University) in Las Cruces, NM. While there she competed on the rodeo team in barrel racing, goat tying, and roping. In 1956 Stewart was crowned the New Mexico State University Rodeo Queen. She was also named the North Dakota Rodeo Association Champion Barrel Racer in the late 1950s.
Prior to her retirement in 1995, she taught at schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, and California over the years and also coached girls’ basketball. She fought cancer until her death at the age of 75.
Other “first generation” staff members who have passed away include David Lee (Navajo), Roberta Wilson (Oglala Lakota), and Antoinette Snow (Sicangu Lakota), according to Gipp (Hunkpapa Lakota), who is now the president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND.