World Educators to Meet At Fond du Lac College

May 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-4: Reforming Our Schools, Native Style, Tribal College News

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College will be hosting the 2006 conference of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) August 7-9, 2006, in Cloquet, MN. WINHEC was formed by indigenous higher education leaders from around the world at a meeting in Alberta, Canada, in 2003.

One of the founders of WINHEC, Lionel Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota), was elected as “WINHEC Elder” at a conference last November in New Zealand. Bordeaux has been president of Sinte Gleska University (Rosebud, SD) since 1973.

Dr. James Shanley (Assiniboine) was elected as one of the three co-chairs. Shanley is president of Fort Peck Community College (Poplar, MT). The other co-chairs are Boni Robertson (Australia) and Rongo Wetere (New Zealand); Wetere is also one of the founders. Turoa Royal (New Zealand) serves as the executive chair of the organization.

With a $100,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, AIHEC will be launching WINHEC USA, which is designed to revitalize tribal colleges’ participation in the international organization. This effort will dovetail with AIHEC’s effort to create accreditation standards that are unique and germane to tribal colleges.

The business of WINHEC is conducted by working groups, each of which will be involved in the conference this summer in Minnesota. Some of the work groups are Immigration and Educational Cultural Exchanges, Distance Learning and Telecommunications, Research and Referred Journal, International Funding, WINHEC Constitution, WINHEC Accreditation Authority, and Indigenous Studies.

The tentative agenda and travel details for the August meeting are located at Under “Departments,” click into International Students Programs, and then click Upcoming World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Information.

Shirley Defoe of Fond du Lac is coordinating the conference. In her position as the director of international programs at the tribal college, Defoe focuses her attention on cultural exchanges. “Ever since 9/11 and the War in Iraq, it is more important than ever for us to work together with all nations of this world to understand each other better as people,” she says.

WINHEC has published the first issue of an online publication, the WINHEC Journal. It is dedicated to exploring and advancing issues related to indigenous education, culture, and language that members face. Access to the online journal can be obtained by visiting Click on “Inaugural Edition” to see brief descriptions of the authors and to download their papers. The theme of this edition is Indigenous Knowledge. The five authors lend their thoughts on indigenous knowledge from their particular tribe, people, situation, or perspective.

For more information about the conference, contact Defoe by phone (218) 879-0800 or email To purchase a hard copy of the WINHEC Journal, email

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