Lannan Institutes Give Instructors Inspiration

Nov 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-2: Traditional Wisdom Our Strength, Tribal College News

The Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History enrolled 16 individuals in its 2006 Lannan Summer Institutes for teachers in tribal colleges.

Kimberly Blaeser (Anishinaabe), professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, taught “Teaching American Indian Literature.” Jacki Thompson Rand (Choctaw) of the University of Iowa directed “Federal Indian Law & Policy and Your Community History.”

“The literature institute was one of the most enlightening and valuable academic experiences for me,” says Reeze LaHonde Hanson who teaches Native American Rhetoric classes at Haskell Indian Nations University. She researched original Native speeches and background material that precipitated the speeches.

She adds, “I’m madly working to integrate those speeches into my classes, and I plan to present a paper on my research this fall at the convention of the National Communication Association.”

Diné College English and Arts instructor Karen Willeto (Navajo) discovered art from the early 1900s and called the entire institute “wonderful.”

“At the Newberry Library, I found a copy of the 1855 Blackfeet Treaty with the United States and an actual journal kept by A. Hatch, the first agent for the tribe who was present at the treaty signing,” says Lea Whitford (Blackfeet). She adds, “Everything I copied, I turned over to our college library so our students can have access, too.”

She found the historical Cherokee cases leading to early federal court decisions very eye opening. She will share her new insights in classes at Blackfeet Community College starting this fall.

“This was my second experience – the information and the resources are always excellent,” says Garrett Big Leggins (Assiniboine-Sioux), instructor at Fort Peck Community College. “In the law institute, I learned the national narrative taught in K-12 America is not our real history,” he says. “The impact of what happened to us Native people shapes us even today, we all need to know what really happened.”

Other participants represented Leech Lake Tribal College, College of Menominee Nation, Little Big Horn College, Comanche Nation College, Crownpoint Institute of Technology, Tohono O’odham Community College, Sinte Gleska University, and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.

For information on the Lannan Institutes, call (312) 255-3564 or visit

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