WINHEC Board Awards Accreditation to Haskell

Feb 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-3: Food Sovereignty, Spring 2011, Tribal College News

By Ray Barnhardt

The World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) was born in August 2002 at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta, of representatives of Indigenous higher education institutions, including New Zealand, mainland United States, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. (See TCJ, Vol. 14, No. 2.)

One of its first goals was accreditation. The WINHEC accreditation process was officially adopted by the WINHEC Board in 2003 in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Over the past five years, the WINHEC Board of Affirmation/ Accreditation has conducted formal reviews of five programs and five institutions.

At the Aug. 26, 2010, annual WINHEC Board meeting in Kautokeino, Norway, the board awarded accreditation to Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, KS), which became the ninth Indigenous higher education institution/program to be accredited.

The following programs/institutions have received full 10-year WINHEC accreditation approval. Programs accredited:

Te Wananga o Aotearoa Elder Seminar Programme in New Zealand (2004) Te Wananga o Raukawa Poutuarongo Ahunga Tikanga Programme in New Zealand (2004) (formerly Bachelor in MÇori Laws and Philosophy) Te Wananga o Awhanuiarangi Maori Teacher Education Programme in New Zealand (2004)

Seven Generations Education Institute Anishinaabe Undaa Wiinijigewin in Ontario, Canada (2006), Graduate Program

University of Hawai’i Hilo/Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke’likolani (2009) College of Hawaiian Language, including Teacher Education Program (The UHH review was conducted concurrently with the State of Hawai’i Teacher Education Review Board and led to joint approval)

Institutions accredited:

Sami University College in Norway (2008)

First Nations Technical Institute in Ontario, Canada (2009)

FortPeck Community College in Montana (2009)

HaskellIndian Nations University in Kansas (2010)

In addition to the programs/institutions listed above, there are five pending applications, including a draft memorandum of understanding to enter into a partnership between WINHEC and the National Indigenous Accreditation Board in Canada.

As we gain further experience in implementing the WINHEC accreditation system, we are continuing to refine and adapt the process and update the handbook to take into consideration the diversity of higher education initiatives that are being developed to serve Indigenous people around the world.

The next WINHEC Executive Board meeting will take place in conjunction with the 2011 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Cusco, Peru, Aug. 14-18, 2011. (See )

Further information may be obtained from the office of WINHEC Executive Chair Jan Henry Keskitalo at the Sami University College ( or Ray Barnhardt at rjbarnhardt@

Ray Barnhardt is a co-chair of the WINHEC Board of Accreditation. The second edition of the WINHEC Accreditation Handbook, including sample “cultural standards” that may be considered in the formation of locally defined criteria for self-study and review, may be obtained on the WINHEC website at, or on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network web site at

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