Newspaper Honors Two Influential Presidents

Feb 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 11-3: Native Language, Tribal College News

Joe McDonald (top): “Education can help heal the divisions that continue to confront us.” Photo by Lee Marmon. Janine Pease-Pretty on Top with her granddaughter, Tillie Elizabeth Jordan Stewart: “Family is all important to us.” Photo by Felicity Kurth

A state newspaper in Montana has named two tribal college presidents to its list of the 100 Most Influential Montanans of the 20th Century. In its October 24 edition, the Missoulian honored Dr. Janine Pease-Pretty on Top and Dr. Joe McDonald. McDonald, 66, has been president of Salish Kootenai College for 22 years. Before becoming president, he had been a teacher, coach, and administrator at elementary, high school, and college levels. For eight years, he was a Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal councilman. He has received awards from the Carnegie Foundation, the Montana governor, and the National Indian Education Association. The Missoulian quoted him speaking about the divisions in the state, “I think if we could open up our minds and try to respect one another, the racial divisions would solve themselves.”

Pease-Pretty on Top was the first woman of Crow lineage to earn a doctorate degree. She has served as the president of Little Big Horn College for 18 years. She earned her doctorate in education in 1993 and received a “genius” award form the MacArthur Foundation in 1994. “Arts, music, and the lore of the Crow Nation are at the heart of our program, and about 25 percent of our classes are in the Crow language,” she told the Missoulian. “We try to match the school to the community—like a spider on a mirror.”

The list also included five other American Indians—Chief Plenty Coups (Crow chief), Bonnie Heavy Runner Craig (Blackfeet educator), Norman Hollow (Assiniboine-Sioux chairman), James Welch (Blackfeet-Gros Ventre author), and Susan Walking Bear Yellowtail (Crow nurse). For details, see the web site, <>

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