AIHEC Celebrates 25th Conference in Green Bay

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Tribal College News

GIFTED STUDENTS. Ms. AIHEC Marla Striped Face-Collins and Mr. AIHEC Elliot Bryant were showered with gifts at the AIHEC Conference. Photo by Phil Wisneski

The Woodland area tribal colleges hosted the 25th Annual AIHEC Student Conference March 11-13 in Green Bay, WI. At the conference, students participated in competitions, such as the annual Knowledge Bowl, Business Bowl, Science Bowl, Art Contest, and Writing Contest. The results are posted on the College of Menominee Nation website (

For the first time, students organized a film competition (see separate story). A total of 718 people registered for the conference, including 467 students, according to conference coordinator Geraldine Sanapaw.

A highlight of the conference was the announcement of Mr. and Ms. AIHEC. Marla Striped Face-Collins was selected as Ms. AIHEC and Elliot Bryant as Mr. AIHEC.  The annual competition recognizes outstanding tribal college students based upon their academic records, cultural involvement, personal vision, and community service. Mr. and Ms. AIHEC serve as ambassadors for the organization.

Bryant (Navajo, 3.9 GPA) plans to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Haskell Indian Nations University and then a Master’s Degree in Vocational Counseling. He said, “I have found my passion, which is to teach, motivate, coach, and inspire individuals who deserve to succeed.”

Striped Face-Collins (Lakota, 3.9) is a student at United Tribes Technical College where she has dual majors in Environmental Science and Business Administration with a Tribal Management emphasis.  She plans eventually to get a Doctorate in Environmental Science.

“With my dual majors, my goal is to return to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to give something back to my tribe and my children using what I have learned,” she said.

The AIHEC Student Congress celebrated its 20th anniversary in Green Bay. Twenty years earlier, on March 27, 1986, students at the annual conference in Rapid City, SD, suggested the idea of a student congress. They wanted an organization to promote student involvement in all aspects of American Indian education and tribal community development.

The concept became a reality later that year following the AIHEC summer retreat at Navajo Community College, according to Phil Baird (Sicangu Lakota), one of the original tribal leadership advisors for the organization. Students met for three days and developed a draft constitution, bylaws, and budget.

The AIHEC board of directors approved, and the AIHEC Student Congress was officially established on July 23, 1986.

The AIHEC Student Congress officers elected at the March meeting will serve until the spring conference in 2007. They are President Julian Many Hides, Vice President Kelley Mitchell, Secretary JoAnn McDonald, Treasurer Terese Jacobs, Sergeant at Arms Randy E. Elliott, Historian Orlando Avery, Southwestern Regional Representative Crystal J. Carr, Mountain/Pacific Regional Representative Jodi Hunter-Ivins, Midwest Regional Representative Naomi Kasto, and Great Lakes Regional Representative William Badboy.

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