President Bush Signs Executive Order For TCUs

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

President George W. Bush signs the executive order on July 3, 2002. Members of the WHITCU board and others who witnessed the signing included (left to right) David W. Anderson, Dr. Martha McLeod, Carl J. Artman, Kathryn Domenici, AIHEC Executive Director Dr. Gerald Gipp, WHITCU Executive Director Victoria Vasques, Ron McNeil, Ann Marie Downes, Daniel G. Keating, Dr. Karen Swisher, David J. Matheson, and Della Warrior.

President George W. Bush signed the new Executive Order on Tribal Colleges and Universities on July 3 and named his new advisory board. Executive Order No. 13270 recognizes the importance of the tribal colleges and says, “It is the policy of the federal government that this nation’s commitment to educational excellence and opportunity must extend as well to the tribal colleges and universities that serve Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities.”

The board will make recommendations to the president and the secretary of education on how the federal government and private sector can help tribal colleges strengthen and expand their resources, programs, facilities, and use of technologies.

President Bush said, “Tribal colleges and universities help preserve irreplaceable languages and cultural tradition. At the same time, of course, they offer a high quality college education to thousands of students and provide much-needed job training and other means of economic development in Indian Country.”

Gerald Gipp, Ph.D., executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), attended the signing along with several members of the new board. “Witnessing President Bush signing the executive order confirmed this administration’s support of our nation’s tribal colleges and universities, the federally-recognized tribes they represent, and the students and communities they serve,” said Gipp (Hunkpapa Lakota).

The executive order says that the board and the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (WHITCU) established by the order “shall ensure that this national policy regarding tribal colleges is carried out with direct accountability at the highest levels of the federal government.”

The Bush Executive Order re-affirmed a federal commitment to the tribal colleges, which was first made by President William J. Clinton in Executive Order No. 13021 signed in October 1996.

The 14 individuals on the advisory board include four current tribal college presidents, one former president, and Rick Williams (Oglala Lakota), the executive director of the American Indian College Fund.

President Bush chose Ron McNeil, J.D., to serve as chairman. McNeil (Hunkpapa Lakota) is president of Sitting Bull College in Ft. Yates, ND. Other presidents on the board: Ann Marie Downes, J.D., member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and president of Little Priest Tribal College; Karen Gayton Swisher, Ed.D., member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and president of Haskell Indian Nations University; Della C. Warrior, member of the Otoe-Missouria tribe and president of the Institute of American Indian Arts; and Martha McLeod, Ed.D., founding president and currently vice president for charter schools at Bay Mills Community College.

The other members are David W. Anderson of Edina, MN; Carl J. Artman of Golden, CO; Eddie F. Brown of Chesterfield, MO; Thomas J. Cole of Moore, OK; Kathryn L. Domenici of Albuquerque, NM; Hon. Mark O. Hatfield of Tillmook, OR; Daniel G. Keating of Tulsa, OK; and David J. Matheson of Worley, ID.

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