Diné College founding father, Guy Gorman Sr., passes on

Dec 5th, 2013 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive
By Cuyler Frank
GUY GORMAN, SR.

FOUNDING FATHER. The late Guy Gorman Sr., tribal college leader and founder.

Dr. Guy Gorman Sr., a founding father of Diné College (Tsaile, AZ), passed away on December 4, 2013. He was 92. Gorman was an instrumental figure in the early tribal college movement and a strong advocate for Native control over their own schooling. He worked to fulfill this vision as a Navajo Nation tribal council delegate, a position he held for 20 years.

“Dr. Gorman was a warrior, he was a voice for the Navajo people in an era when Native Americans had little to say about the direction of their educational sovereignty,” said Diné College president, Dr. Maggie George. “His persistence to maintain the Navajo language, culture and history at the core of the college’s mission was pivotal because this is what makes Diné College unique from other colleges and universities,” she continued.

A veteran of the Second World War, Gorman was raised south of Chinle, Arizona. His clans are Tábąąhí, born for Tódích’íi’nii; his maternal grandparent’s clan is Tó’áhaní. His paternal grandparent’s clan is Táchii’nii. He was an electrician by trade and was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs prior to 1962. Gorman received the Indian Leadership Award from the BIA in 1982 for his work in developing the Chinle community.

In 1965, Gorman began lobbying heavily for a bilingual and bicultural project in Lukachukai, Arizona. His efforts translated into the Rough Rock Demonstration School, which is locally controlled and served as the precursor to Navajo Community College (NCC), now Diné College. Gorman is credited, along with the late Allen D. Yazzie and Ned Hatathli, with helping establish NCC in 1968. He went on to serve as vice-chairman of the Navajo Education Committee and as the first president of NCC’s board of regents.

Dr. Gorman once said, “I believe we got what we wanted. Many Navajo children have an opportunity to learn the Navajo language and their culture at many schools.”

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