Tradition and Culture in the Millennium: Tribal Colleges and Universities

Nov 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 22-2: Crossing Borders, Winter 2010, Media Reviews

TRADITION AND CULTURE IN THE MILLENNIUM: TRIBAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIESEdited by Linda Sue Warner and Gerald E. Gipp
Information Age Publishing (2009)

Review by Michael W. Simpson

When speaking before classes or other groups, I always try to include something about one of the most incredible developments in my lifetime: the creation and growth of tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Higher education history books should include TCUs, not as an aside about institutions for “others.” Rather, TCU history and development deserve a place at the main table.

Recently at a talk on Comanche Nation College by Dr. Mary Jo Tippeconnic-Fox, a highly regarded higher education professor in the audience remarked that she had never seen a college with such an incredible mission. Perhaps academe and majority culture can truly come to listen, as Vine Deloria, Jr., advocated.

This book is recommended for TCUs for many reasons. The statement of historical development, key players and organizations, and key decisions would be enough to justify this book.

This book also addresses the policy and practical challenges TCUs face regularly. Funding, accreditation, and finding qualified teachers and leaders are but a few. Nevertheless, most TCUs have grown. Some offer bachelor and master degrees, and new institutions are emerging.

The chapter on Comanche Nation College provides exceptional advice on aligning every aspect of a college to the core cultural values. Ray Barnhardt’s chapter on World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium includes information on cultural standards in addition to this new accreditation possibility.

Rosemary Christensen offers a very useful article on pedagogy influenced by world view and culture. The rest of the chapters are written by exceptional leaders and scholars. I must call special attention to the chapter on the Tribal College Journal by Marjane Ambler and Paul Boyer. We are lucky to have such dedicated people working for such a journal.

Michael W. Simpson is a lawyer, teacher, and social activist and may be reached at mwsjd85@aol.com.

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