People in the News

Aug 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 21-1: Celebrating Tribal College Journal's 20th Anniversary, Tribal College News

LIFETIME COMMITMENT. Carole Falcon-Chandler was honored with an honorary doctorate degree. Photo by Helmbrecht Photography

• Fort Belknap College President Carole Falcon-Chandler (Gros Ventre) received an honorary doctorate from Montana State University’s School of Education on May 9, 2009, in recognition of her lifetime commitment to education. The American Indian College Fund also presented her with the Tribal College President’s award in March. (See separate story below.) Falcon-Chandler has devoted her professional career to higher education. She began working in education as a TRIO Director at Dawson Community College in Glendive, MT, in 1974. She started at FBC as the dean of students in 1992 and became president in 2000.

• Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC, Cloquet, MN) named Stephanie Hammitt as chief financial officer. She is responsible for all fiscal, accounting, and business functions of the college. Prior to joining the college administration in January 2009, Hammitt was the comptroller for the Fond du Lac Reservation for more than 6 years and, prior to that, the reservation’s internal auditor. She holds a Bachelor’s of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. A resident of Cloquet for most of her life, she is a former chair and member of the Fond du Lac Tribal College Board of Directors. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College serves more than 2,700 students in credit courses annually and is a member of both the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC).

• Scott Davis (Hunkpapa Lakota/ Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) has said his work at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) will help him succeed as executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, a position he assumed in May 2009. Davis holds an associate of arts degree from Haskell Indian Junior College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the latter in management, both from the University of Mary in North Dakota. The North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission is the liaison between the governor`s office and the tribal nations of North Dakota. Two of his positions at UTTC were development officer and wellness activities coordinator.

BIG PLANS. Eugene Big Back, Jr., hopes to become a restaurateur. Photo by Kathleen Beartusk

• Eugene Big Back, Jr. (Northern Cheyenne) of Busby, MT, is the recipient of the 2008-2009 American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL) Scholarship. Big Back, a sophomore, is vice president of marketing for the newly revived AIBL chapter at Chief Dull Knife College (CDKC, Lame Deer, MT). Big Back, 49, plans to continue his education to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Business. He wants to start a restaurant or pizzeria on the reservation and to employ tribal members who want to live and retire near their homes, as he plans to do. “Unemployment on the reservation is so high that any kind of jobs will help,” he says. He has already invested 6,000 hours in earning a Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training Certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor for the occupation of cooking. AIBL is the only American Indian nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated solely to empowering business students. Two scholarships are awarded nationally each year.

• Elma Marie Davis Wilkie, “Waabishkibinesik” (White Thunderbird Woman), 86, of Belcourt, ND, died in April 2009. She was a past curriculum developer and instructor at Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC, Belcourt, ND). Wilkie compiled information on the history, treaties, languages, and heritage of the Pembina Ojibway and helped to incorporate the information into TMCC courses. Never completely retiring from the college, Wilkie continued to help with classes that presented research projects at the AIHEC student conferences. TMCC sponsors a special traditional women’s dance at the Turtle Mountain powwow each year in honor of Wilkie. She is survived by all six of her children, adopted children, 15 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

• Julene P. Kennerly, dean of academics at Blackfeet Community College (BCC, Browning, MT), was honored by The Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI). The 20 fellows were recognized for completing the FSLI leadership development program. The FSLI is a 2-year program designed for experienced leaders in academia, government, and industry. The FSLI is a program of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. For more information on the FSLI, visit

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