Update from The FundFeb 25th, 2013 | By dhorwedel | Category: 24-3: The Science of Place, Tribal College News
American Indian College Fund (The Fund) scholarship recipient Dwight Carlston (Diné), an environmental science and natural resources major, student senate president, and 2012 Student of the Year at Navajo Technical College (NTC, Crownpoint, NM), was featured on the television show “The Real Winning Edge” on October 27. In addition, Akisa Milk (Oglala Lakota), who transferred from Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD) to Fort Lewis College, appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show” on October 18 to discuss how a college education is helping him to overcome challenges in his life while helping his people.
Carlston has excelled in and out of the classroom, carrying a 3.88 cumulative GPA at NTC while serving as student senate president and participating in the National Technical Honor Society. He completed his second consecutive internship with the U.S. Forest Service this past summer. He also excels in athletics. In 2011 he placed 51st at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Nationals in Lake Placid, NY and competed on NTC’s rodeo team as a bull rider.
Milk started his college career at OLC. He was inspired to study nursing after caring for his grandmother, who developed cancer. He says he wanted to understand what she was going through and learn how he could help her with diet and other treatment. He was also inspired to study his language because when his grandmother was ill, he served as her translator with her medical team. Milk also appears in the American Indian College Fund’s public service announcement campaign, “Help A Student Help A Tribe.” In other news from The Fund, the 17th annual Flame of Hope Gala, held October 11 at The Depot in Minneapolis, MN, raised more than $650,000 to benefit American Indian students.
Dwight Carlston was the student speaker. He credited his family with putting him on his path to college, and The Fund with helping him to achieve his goals as he continues to work towards a bachelor’s degree. Carlston was presented with the first-ever Richard B. Williams – Seventh Generation Leadership Endowment scholarship. The scholarship was established to honor The Fund’s retired President and CEO.
Under the leadership of its new president and CEO, Cheryl Crazy Bull, The Fund honored the late Stanley R. Crooks, former tribal chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), for changing the lives of his people and Indian Country through his strong leadership. “He saw all Native peoples as his relatives and supported them just as he did his own people,” said Crazy Bull. “With his leadership, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community became one of the American Indian College Fund’s most valued and generous supporters.” His wife, Cheryl Crooks, was in attendance to accept the honor.
Nationally renowned Native artist Bunky Echo-Hawk created a painting live at the event. The piece, a stunning portrait of an American Indian man in traditional dress, was awarded to the SMSC for pledging $50,000 to benefit the Richard B. Williams-Seventh Generation Leadership Endowment.
Pendleton Woolen Mills presented Williams with a commemorative blanket named Tatanka Huhanska (Tall Bull), Williams’ Lakota name, in his honor. The blanket will be available for purchase in March, with a percentage of proceeds funding American Indian scholarships.
The event also featured performances by Native entertainers, including flutist R. Carlos Nakaí, Native Pride Arts Dancers, Southern California Kahweeyah Bird Singers and Dancers, Pipestone Hand Drum Group, and Iron Boy Drum Group.
Additionally, The Fund’s historic five-year $17.5-million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., named Woksape Oyate, Lakota for “Wisdom of the People,” concluded its final year. The program helped 32 tribal colleges build upon Native intellectual capital by tailoring programs to address individual school needs while strengthening the entire tribal college system.
Woksape Oyate enhanced many tribal college functions, including faculty, staff, and student recruitment and retention as well as leadership development. The program addressed the issue of “brain drain” by creating pipeline programs to educate the best and brightest students in their tribal communities and then retain them as teachers at their tribal colleges.
The initiative also developed tribal colleges’ expertise, helping to position them as academic centers of excellence in their reservation communities. Under the program, schools developed honors programs, encouraged exchange programs to attract internationally-renowned instructors to their campuses, and provided professional development opportunities for faculty to expand their expertise, while also providing scholarship support to their brightest students.
A video summarizing the program can be viewed on The Fund’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ user/thecollegefund.