College Fund Names Lamb, Tosee as Mellon Fellows

Nov 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 21-2: K-12 Education, Winter 2009, Tribal College News

MELLON FELLOWS. Carmelita Lamb is focusing on retention in Native American teacher education. Michael Tosee will study the Comanche warrior ethic in the 20th century.

The American Indian College Fund has named Carmelita Lamb and Michael D. Tosee as the Andrew W. Mellon Career Enhancement Program fellows for the academic year 20092010. Fellows receive a $30,000 sabbatical fellowship with additional funding for research-related travel.

The program is intended to increase the intellectual capital among faculty at the tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Since its beginning in 2004, the program has funded 15 Ph.D. candidates to date.

Lamb (Lipan Apache) has resided in North Dakota for 29 years and teaches in various disciplines at Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, ND. She is the project director for Native Ways of Knowing— Secondary Science Teacher Education, a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Lamb is a doctoral candidate in education at North Dakota State University. Her dissertation is about the cohort model learning community and best practices for retaining Native American students in teacher education in tribal colleges.

Lamb says, “Tribal colleges and universities have been contributing to the higher education needs of Native American students for over 30 years, yet very little is actually known about these culturally rich learning environments in mainstream institutions of higher education. Preliminary findings from this study describe a remarkable similarity between TCUs and mainstream institutions of higher education in their approach to knowledge-building constructs like learning communities.

“Of even greater interest is the crucial role that student cultural identity plays in the overall theme of the cohort model learning community in a tribal college.” She says her study may be useful for tribal institutions that seek to develop four-year professional degree programs like teacher education with a cohort model learning community. Lamb’s findings could also be used in future tribal college funding proposals to agencies that want to see empirical research substantiating the effectiveness of such an approach.

Tosee (Comanche) has taught at Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, KS) for the past 17 years. In 1994 Haskell began offering a four-year program in American Indian Studies. Tosee has been a member of the American Indian Studies program since that time, teaching a “History of American Indian Leaders, Past and Present” and the “American Indian Experience: A Twentieth Century History.”

In 1995 Tosee began to interview American Indian elders to complement his research. He has conducted 250 interviews about various 20th century American history topics, which he will use in his dissertation, giving a 20th century historical review of the Comanche warrior ethic. Tosee is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas.

“I have a keen interest in discussing, teaching, and writing about the role American Indians played in 20th century American history. My relationship with my grandparents keeps me motivated to work in this area, interviewing elders, reading, writing, and researching this period of history,” he says. Because of his relationship with his grandparents, Tosee has learned to value his existence as if it were a gift. “My effort to develop a 20th century American Indian History is to give something back for the generosity and kindness my grandparents showed me,” he says.

For more information about the American Indian College Fund, visit

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