First Nations Colleges Offer SGU Master’s

Feb 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 16-3: Indigenizing Education, Tribal College News

MASTER’S TO CANADA. Sinte Gleska University President Lionel Bordeaux adds his signature to the historic agreement while First Nations college officials watch: (left to right) Barney Day Chief of Red Crow Community College, Chief Strater Crowfoot of Siksika Nation, Amelia Clark of Old Sun Community College, Joyce Goodstriker of the Kainai Board of Education, and Dr. Vivian Ayoungman of Treaty 7 First Nations Education Consortium. Photo by Genevieve A. Fox

Two tribal colleges in Canada have formed a historic relationship with a tribal university in the United States. Red Crow Community College and Old Sun Community College, both in Alberta, are now offering a Master’s Degree in Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education through Sinte Gleska University (SGU) in Mission, SD.

Officials from the three institutions signed the agreement in October in Phoenix, AZ, at the National Indian Education Association annual conference. “As far as we know, this is the first such international agreement involving a tribal college,” says Cheryl Medearis, chair of the Education Department at Sinte Gleska.

Conditional approval was given by the regional accrediting agency in the United States, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, according to Medearis. The agency will conduct a site visit after the spring 2005 semester.

Sinte Gleska has provided its Bachelor of Science Degree in Education for several years to students at three other tribal colleges in the United States (Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota and Sitting Bull College and United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota).

SGU has an approval process for certifying local instructors on the other campuses who follow the SGU courses of study. Each college can adapt the courses, for example, using its own traditional child rearing processes.

Since 1996, a total of 29 Sitting Bull College students have earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in K-8 Elementary Education and K-12 Special Education, and some have also earned endorsements in early childhood education. Eight students from Leech Lake Tribal College earned bachelor degrees in elementary education from Sinte Gleska since 2001. The first group of students from United Tribes will be graduating in August 2005. The students get certified in South Dakota and then apply for certification in their own state.

“We will be working with NCA to be sure that we continue to meet their criteria. We are not worried; we have a strong program,” Medearis says.

For more information about the Sinte Gleska partnership with Sitting Bull College, see TCJ, Vol. 11, N.2.

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