WINU confers first Ph.D.’s at NTU

Aug 23rd, 2013 | By | Category: 25-2: Tribal and Behavioral Health, Tribal College News

“MAGIC PEOPLE.” Raymond Redhorse (far left) and NTU president Dr. Elmer Guy (far right) oversee the conferral of degrees on WINU’s first Ph.D. cohort. Photo by Daniel Vandever

During their recent annual meeting at Navajo Technical University (NTU, Crownpoint, NM), the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) officially launched the World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) with the conferral of four doctoral degrees. The university empowers member nations to transfer generations of Indigenous knowledge to future generations. A goal for ten years, WINHEC developed WINU and sanctioned the university last year in Taiwan.

WINU is the first Indigenous international degree-granting institution and holds in its charter the articles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. WINU has established its own governing council to ensure that the principles of WINHEC and the success of Native peoples on Native lands remain the foundation of the new university.

“The university would establish an education system that honors and respects

Indigenous cultural knowledge and knowledge systems and profiles the scholarship of Indigenous elders and knowledge holders . . . to address the needs of Indigenous peoples at the local level,” stated Trevor Moeke, WINHEC spokesperson and executive committee co-chair. “This is an exciting initiative which will further the education and collaboration of Indigenous peoples across the world.”

At the WINHEC meeting in Crownpoint, four candidates received their Ph.D.’s from WINU. In a Navajo-led ceremony, NTU president Dr. Elmer Guy, medicine man Raymond

Redhorse, and American Indian Higher Education Consortium president Carrie Billy conferred the Ph.D. degrees on four professors from aboriginal Australia: Dr. Gary Thomas (Yui Nation), Dr. Veronica Arbon (Arabana Nation), Dr. Berice Anning (Bidjara Nation), Dr. Boni Isobel (Kabi Kabi Nation). Their collaborative dissertation, “Sustaining Indigenous Educational Leadership throughout the 21st Century,” will be published for distribution by WINU.

The ceremony was a sacred time to recognize collaborative research conducted through an Indigenous lens, which makes a profound statement and impact on the rights of Indigenous people to be educated in their own way, with their own traditions, languages and methodologies. “Being surrounded by and pursuing the involvement of community elders and representatives secures authenticity for WINU and will foster other forms of engagement to address the ongoing disparities that have occurred for Indigenous Peoples,” Moeke stated.

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