Tribal Colleges Ensure Our Stories Are Retold

Nov 15th, 2007 | By | Category: 19-2: Our Story, Our Way
By Gerald E. Gipp, Ph.D.

GERALD E GIPPI am a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, traditionally known as the Hunkpapa Lakota. My Indian name is Tatanka Hunska or Long Bull, the name of my great grandfather. There are stories unique to my family, to the Hunkpapa Lakota people, and to the places we know as our homelands.

As Native people of this land, we are here despite a history of tragedy and conflict with this new nation. Because our people have been so overwhelmed by the dominant society and the federal government, many Americans believe that we Native people think and act like them.

In actuality, we think and often act in a different fashion, stemming from our own traditional intellectual base. Historically, many intellectuals have disavowed or given short shrift to our traditional knowledge, beliefs based on the wisdom and epistemology of our traditional elders.

Native people hold differing worldviews and values than the dominant society. There is a common belief that the land is sacred, cannot be owned, and must be cared for to ensure a healthy environment for future generations. There is a belief that all things are related – animals, plants, and the earth must be respected and be in harmony for the good of all.

Although times have changed and continue to change daily, our tribal colleges and universities strive to uphold the teachings, values, and views of the Native people they serve. This issue touches on the Native oral tradition and its continued relevance. We appreciate the fine work that our tribal college and university staffs do to ensure that our stories are retold as part of higher education curriculum.

Be sure to check out the AIHEC website at www.aihec.org to stay abreast with the latest reports on tribal colleges and universities and other higher education initiatives.

The website currently features the Penn State College of Education’s formation of the Center for the Study of Leadership in American Indian Education. The mission of the new center is to conduct research and provide outreach that helps inform the public and improve the education of American Indians and Alaska Natives at the local, state, tribal, national, and international levels.

I earned my Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Penn State many years ago, so while it has taken some time, I am very pleased that the university has made such a commitment to support an important endeavor under the leadership of Native scholars.

Sincerely,

Gerald Gipp

P.S. You will note that there is no resource guide in this issue. We have dispensed with this department for this issue because the article by Michael Thompson provides so many citations relevant to our theme on oral history.

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