AIHEC Sends Delegates To World Conference

Feb 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-3: Heroes of Today, Tribal College News
By Deborah His Horse is Thunder

INDIGENOUS IDEAS. Educators from around the world who gathered included Ida Downwind from Leech Lake Tribal College in the middle and Ron His Horse is Thunder on the right.

Indigenous people from 18 different countries around the world gathered in Hamilton, New Zealand, Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 2005, to participate in the 7th World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (WIPCE).

Approximately 5,000 delegates attended. Through the support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) was able to sponsor several of the keynote speakers, including LaDonna Harris (president of Americans for Indian Opportunity) and Manley Begay (of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy).

AIHEC also sponsored several delegates including Oglala Lakota College President Tom Shortbull, Tribal Chairman and former Sitting Bull College President Ron His Horse is Thunder, and Fort Peck Community College President Dr. James Shanley.

The Maori hosts conducted an official welcome ceremony to begin the conference at the Turangawaewae Marae, home of their queen, Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu. Each day focused on a theme: Leadership, Research and Development, New Horizons of Knowledge, and The Way Forward. A language symposium was embedded in the conference activities one day with a special elders’ symposium on another day.

The conference showcased the different indigenous cultures around the world, which demonstrated our many commonalities as well as our differences. The conference culminated in a “Cultural Extravaganza” featuring songs and dances from the many cultures.

WIPCE is held every three years. The next conference will be hosted by the Australian aborigines in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008-09.

Deborah His Horse is Thunder is the director of membership services at AIHEC.

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