Building Trades Revived At Fort Belknap CollegeFeb 15th, 2008 | By tcj | Category: 19-3: Beyond Our Names: Uncovering Identity, Tribal College News
In fall 2007, Fort Belknap College (FBC, Harlem, MT) rejuvenated its building trades program by offering courses in carpentry. Robert “Bobby” Kittson, a Blackfeet Native, has joined the FBC family and is working with 11 enthusiastic students. The revitalization of the carpentry program coincides with the college’s new Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP), where Kittson is the instructor and carpentry advisor.
Kittson has the experience and determination to make a positive influence on students. His rapport with his students is evident when observing their classroom work and work in the field. Kittson approaches his instruction with two focuses: (1) safety and (2) practicality.
One of their first projects was to build a “haunted house” for the Speaking White Clay Immersion School (grades 3-5), which is located on the Fort Belknap College campus. The Halloween fund raiser project proved to be a very good learning experience for the students. The twisting maze of the haunted house structure had to be strong enough to withstand the onslaught of terrified bodies rushing through the corridors and was designed creatively to be taken apart and reused in the future.
The carpentry program is designed for students to receive a certificate at the end of one year. The carpentry students are Lynn Cliff, Vincent Gone, Will Gray, Jr., Myron Ironchild, Douglas Main, Austin Martin, Cody McCabe, Ennis Russell, Cody Shortman, Maxine Clifford, and Al LaRoque.