Northwest College Inaugurates President

Aug 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-1: Indigenizing Our Future, Tribal College News

FULLY ENGAGED. Lutie Hillaire's family adopted Cheryl Crazy Bull during her NWIC inauguration. Photo by Mame Burns

Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota) was not just inaugurated as president of Northwest Indian College — she was “adopted” in a tribal ceremony, said James “Smitty” Hillaire, who served as master of ceremonies. Minutes later, Hillaire’s wife Lutie draped a blanket in the traditional Coast Salish colors of red and black across Crazy Bull’s shoulders as Hillaire sang to her in the Lummi language. “Cheryl’s been engaged to the college for six months,” said Jennifer Whalen, who sang traditional songs in honor of Crazy Bull’s inauguration. “Now she’s married to it.”

The months prior to the inauguration gave the new president time to get to know more about the community and about the college. “Tribal colleges have two jobs: to ground people in their culture and to give them a good, solid education,” Crazy Bull said. As part of her overall plan for the college in Bellingham, WA, she wants the college to work more closely with the tribes throughout Washington and Idaho. She would also like to see the development of a Coast Salish Institute devoted to revitalizing tribal cultural knowledge and assisting tribal governments. The college should also work more closely with early education and kindergarten through 12th-grade schools, as well as with elders. Crazy Bull wants to look into the possibility of a Center for Student Success, to help college-bound students stay on track.

Crazy Bull, whose name in Lakota means “they depend on her,” has spent 20 years as a teacher and educational administrator on the Rosebud Indian Reservation of South Dakota. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.

Reporting and photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald.

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